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Madam: A Novel of New Orleans
     

Madam: A Novel of New Orleans

4.1 22
by Cari Lynn, Kellie Martin
 

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When vice had a legal home and jazz was being born—the captivating story of an infamous true-life madam
 
New Orleans, 1900. Mary Deubler makes a meager living as an “alley whore.” That all changes when bible-thumping Alderman Sidney Story forces the creation of a red-light district that’s mockingly dubbed

Overview

When vice had a legal home and jazz was being born—the captivating story of an infamous true-life madam
 
New Orleans, 1900. Mary Deubler makes a meager living as an “alley whore.” That all changes when bible-thumping Alderman Sidney Story forces the creation of a red-light district that’s mockingly dubbed “Storyville.” Mary believes there’s no place for a lowly girl like her in the high-class bordellos of Storyville’s Basin Street, where Champagne flows and beautiful girls turn tricks in luxurious bedrooms.  But with gumption, twists of fate, even a touch of Voodoo, Mary rises above her hopeless lot to become the notorious Madame Josie Arlington.
 
Filled with fascinating historical details and cameos by Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and E. J. Bellocq, Madam is a fantastic romp through The Big Easy and the irresistible story of a woman who rose to power long before the era of equal rights.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“If you are enthralled with New Orleans and the history of its fabled red light district, this is the book for you. The evocative characters lovingly created by Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin made me wish Storyville was resurrected and rollicking with harlots and madams today.”
—Patti LuPone, actress, singer, author
 
“Madam is a fascinating recreation of New Orleans at the end of the 19th century, when the churchgoing politicians and power-brokers of sin created Storyville. An absorbing peek into the hidden history of the city and her most famous madam.” 
—Loraine Despres, bestselling author of The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc
 
“Lynn and Martin tell the story of their protagonist’s rise to fame and fortune without piousness, sentimentality, or apology. Thorough research, convincing detail and true to life characters, makes this a spellbinder of a novel. The reader can almost smell the sweat of the johns and the fragrance of rose attar and shrimp gumbo. The characters’ words roll off their tongues like molasses in August.”
—Roberta Rich, author of The Midwife of Venice and The Harem Midwife
 
“Love the history they wouldn’t teach you in school? Then open up Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin’s MADAM. It’s a gritty, well-researched story of how Storyville, the largest legal red light district in the United States came into being.”
—Lois Battle, bestselling author of Storyville and War Brides
“I encourage you to accept this invitation to escape into the boudoirs and back alleys of 19th century New Orleans and leave behind our modern world for a spell. Kellie and Cari have vividly resurrected a world that most of us have never seen up close, and it’s quite a ride!”
—Danica McKellar, actress and New York Times bestselling author
 
 
Madam delivers a world rich with details and visuals of a time and place long forgotten in our history. If you liked Memoirs of a Geisha, you will love following Mary on her harrowing journey to become an infamous Madam in New Orleans red-light district.”
—Melissa Joan Hart, actress and author of Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life

“With brilliant immediate language and fascinating detail, Madam jelly-rolls us through a gritty 1897 New Orleans underworld, and allows us to cheer as a sweet young prostitute fights all odds to become one of its great madams.”
—Jennie Fields, author of The Age of Desire

Madam is an utterly enjoyable and fascinating read!  It’s a story of a true underdog, Mary Deubler, who overcomes adversity while making history in New Orleans during the turn of the century. I found myself rooting for our protagonist  from the very first page.  Kudos to Mary and to Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin!”
—Ricki Lake, actress, host, producer
 
 
“An odyssey through the underworld and the spirit world of New Orleans, Madam is layered in rags and silks and voodoo visitations. This is a story of desperation turned inside out. Power holds court in back rooms and bedrooms but reaches its full potential in the heart and mind of a young prostitute whose prize possession is a pair of striped stockings she plucked from a rich woman’s trash. This book manages to wrap transformation in sensuality and historical detail, and set the whole thing to the sound of ragtime. Bien joué!
—Rita Leganski, author of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow
 
“As rich and evocative as New Orleans jazz, Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin evoke a time and place with tantalizing detail, transporting the reader to a world hidden not only by the past, but by the very society that created it. Madam is a wonderful portrait of an indelible figure.” 
—DeLauné Michel, author of The Safety of Secrets
 
“Set in the vivid, visceral world of New Orleans in the late 1800’s, Madam follows a young prostitute’s desperate struggle to survive, thrive and ultimately achieve self-empowerment in the face of hugely challenging circumstance.  With plenty of sex and liquor to go around, Kellie and Cari’s debut novel does a stellar job of capturing the essence of what it really means to face our fears and overcome extreme adversity.  Cheers to the first real madam!”  - Hillary Fogelson, LA Times bestselling author of Pale Girl Speaks: A Year Uncovered

"It might be a 'lurid' subject matter, but Madam is captivating and Mary/Josie proves to be a plucky heroine. The atmosphere feels very New Orleans with a lot of jazz, including a few cameos by a young Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton." —Grafwv.com, the website for Graffiti magazine

"Madam has a sweeping, E.L. Doctorow–like scope, delivering a ribald chronicle of how an American red light district, Storyville, came into being. This richly researched novel is an entertaining, impressive feat of literary archaeology that conjures the sights and scents of the late-night sin that fueled one woman's financial independence." —Johns Hopkins Magazine

 
 

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781101634752
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/25/2014
Sold by:
Penguin Group
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
83,584
File size:
8 MB
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

***This excerpt is from an advance uncorrected proof.***

Copyright © 2014 by Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin


I come from a long line of whores.

In my nine decades on this earth I have never uttered these words, let alone seen them written, in my own hand, indelibly staring back at me. But now, as a summer storm rages strong enough to send the Pontchartrain right through my front door, I sit with a curious sense of peace and clarity. My past is more than just my own history. Although this story shames me in so many ways, it is the legacy I leave. I must embrace the very truth I spent my life denying.

I come from a long line of whores.

Call them prostitutes, call them women of ill repute, call them madams. It’s of little consequence now to try to soften how they earned their way. But they did earn their way, and in a time when even women of means and good breeding held little hope of achieving anything professionally.

Oh Saint Teresa, what an ingrate I’ve been. Everything I have, everything I am, I owe to them—to her. She’d started life as a bastard girl, not a silver dime to her name. Her family tree was but a stump. And yet, the riches she bestowed upon me: my education, my inheritance . . . this fierce, old Victorian. How the walls moan in the grip of these winds! This house, in all its faded elegance, is all I have left. How I hated that it once lived as a bordello—hot jazz, Voodoo magic, and unspeakable sin oozing from every crevice.

My aunt built this house, but I saved this house. The ghosts would come to me at night, whispering that I couldn’t let it go. While New Orleans raced to obliterate any evidence of the red-light district’s existence, I guarded this door. Overnight, City Hall purged all records of the women who lived and worked here. Even the names of the streets were changed. It took the highest judge’s signature to spare this house from the torch-wielding mob that pillaged and set aflame other bordellos. But how can I blame my beloved city? For I, too, wanted to erase this blight, this scourge on our history.

But it did exist. Storyville was real. And so were the madams. Larger than life, indeed, but flesh and blood through and through, with feelings and smarts even—they were more savvy in business than most businessmen in this town. And yet, they were still just women, devoid of equal rights and treated as vulnerable, useless creatures. These women may have laughed and drunk and frolicked more than most women, but they still ached and loved, cried and prayed, and in their darkest hours, repented.

Now, this house, my house, is all that remains as a testament to an era. If it is this storm that brings down my house, I will go with it. I only hope that this letter and these photographs will survive.

My dearest Aunt Josie, by the grace of God, please forgive me.

 

Anna Deubler Brady

225 Basin Street

New Orleans

August 14, 1997

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
“If you are enthralled with New Orleans and the history of its fabled red light district, this is the book for you. The evocative characters lovingly created by Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin made me wish Storyville was resurrected and rollicking with harlots and madams today.”
—Patti LuPone, actress, singer, author
 
“Madam is a fascinating recreation of New Orleans at the end of the 19th century, when the churchgoing politicians and power-brokers of sin created Storyville. An absorbing peek into the hidden history of the city and her most famous madam.” 
—Loraine Despres, bestselling author of The Scandalous Summer of Sissy LeBlanc
 
“Lynn and Martin tell the story of their protagonist’s rise to fame and fortune without piousness, sentimentality, or apology. Thorough research, convincing detail and true to life characters, makes this a spellbinder of a novel. The reader can almost smell the sweat of the johns and the fragrance of rose attar and shrimp gumbo. The characters’ words roll off their tongues like molasses in August.”
—Roberta Rich, author of The Midwife of Venice and The Harem Midwife
 
“Love the history they wouldn’t teach you in school? Then open up Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin’s MADAM. It’s a gritty, well-researched story of how Storyville, the largest legal red light district in the United States came into being.”
—Lois Battle, bestselling author of Storyville and War Brides
“I encourage you to accept this invitation to escape into the boudoirs and back alleys of 19th century New Orleans and leave behind our modern world for a spell. Kellie and Cari have vividly resurrected a world that most of us have never seen up close, and it’s quite a ride!”
—Danica McKellar, actress and New York Times bestselling author
 
 
Madam delivers a world rich with details and visuals of a time and place long forgotten in our history. If you liked Memoirs of a Geisha, you will love following Mary on her harrowing journey to become an infamous Madam in New Orleans red-light district.”
—Melissa Joan Hart, actress and author of Melissa Explains It All: Tales from My Abnormally Normal Life

“With brilliant immediate language and fascinating detail, Madam jelly-rolls us through a gritty 1897 New Orleans underworld, and allows us to cheer as a sweet young prostitute fights all odds to become one of its great madams.”
—Jennie Fields, author of The Age of Desire

Madam is an utterly enjoyable and fascinating read!  It’s a story of a true underdog, Mary Deubler, who overcomes adversity while making history in New Orleans during the turn of the century. I found myself rooting for our protagonist  from the very first page.  Kudos to Mary and to Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin!”
—Ricki Lake, actress, host, producer
 
 
“An odyssey through the underworld and the spirit world of New Orleans, Madam is layered in rags and silks and voodoo visitations. This is a story of desperation turned inside out. Power holds court in back rooms and bedrooms but reaches its full potential in the heart and mind of a young prostitute whose prize possession is a pair of striped stockings she plucked from a rich woman’s trash. This book manages to wrap transformation in sensuality and historical detail, and set the whole thing to the sound of ragtime. Bien joué!
—Rita Leganski, author of The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow
 
“As rich and evocative as New Orleans jazz, Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin evoke a time and place with tantalizing detail, transporting the reader to a world hidden not only by the past, but by the very society that created it. Madam is a wonderful portrait of an indelible figure.” 
—DeLauné Michel, author of The Safety of Secrets
 
“Set in the vivid, visceral world of New Orleans in the late 1800’s, Madam follows a young prostitute’s desperate struggle to survive, thrive and ultimately achieve self-empowerment in the face of hugely challenging circumstance.  With plenty of sex and liquor to go around, Kellie and Cari’s debut novel does a stellar job of capturing the essence of what it really means to face our fears and overcome extreme adversity.  Cheers to the first real madam!”  - Hillary Fogelson, LA Times bestselling author of Pale Girl Speaks: A Year Uncovered

"It might be a 'lurid' subject matter, but Madam is captivating and Mary/Josie proves to be a plucky heroine. The atmosphere feels very New Orleans with a lot of jazz, including a few cameos by a young Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton." —Grafwv.com, the website for Graffiti magazine

"Madam has a sweeping, E.L. Doctorow–like scope, delivering a ribald chronicle of how an American red light district, Storyville, came into being. This richly researched novel is an entertaining, impressive feat of literary archaeology that conjures the sights and scents of the late-night sin that fueled one woman's financial independence." —Johns Hopkins Magazine

 
 

Meet the Author

Cari Lynn is a journalist and the author of four books of nonfiction, including The Whistleblower: Sex Trafficking, Military Contractors, and One Woman's Fight for Justice with Kathryn Bolkovac, and Leg the Spread: A Woman’s Adventures Inside the Trillion-Dollar Boy’s Club of Commodities Trading. Cari has written for numerous publications, including O, The Oprah Magazine, Health, The Chicago Tribune, and Deadline Hollywood. She has taught at Loyola University and received an M.A. in Writing from Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Los Angeles. This is her first novel.

Actress Kellie Martin is most fondly remembered as ‘Becca Thatcher’ on the ABC series Life Goes On for which she received an Emmy nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She has since appeared on Christy, ER, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Drop Dead Diva and Ghost Whisperer, as well as numerous television movies and feature films. She was most recently seen as Captain Nicole Galassini on Lifetime’s Army Wives. She is the national spokesperson for the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association (AARDA). In 2001, Reader’s Digest named Kellie a national “Health Hero” on its cover; and Lifetime Television profiled her in Intimate Portrait. She is the owner of the online children’s boutique, ROMPstore.com and a graduate of Yale University. Talk show appearances in the last year include Today, Access Hollywood Live, The Ricki Lake Show, Marie, and Home and Family.  Recent press coverage includes TimeMagazine.com, People.com, CelebrityBabyScoop.com, as well as a regular blog on Parenting.com. Martin lives in LA with her husband and daughter. This is her first novel.


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Madam: A Novel of New Orleans 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 22 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Myrt's Review Based on the life of Marie Deubler, eventually known as Josie Arlington, a famed brothel madam in the infamous 1900’s turn of the century Storyville, New Orleans, ‘Madam’ starts the young Marie’s story when she is working as a prostitute carrying her mattress on her back and earning quarters while alternating shifts with another prostitute in a broken down shack each day in Venus Alley as she attempts to simply survive. The book ties in the creation of Storyville, intended by city alderman Sydney Story to separate the wicked women who tempt the fine upstanding men of the time by herding them into a designated area of the city where they would work at licensed brothels and not be allowed to work outside those limits. Marie is one of the few women working in Venus Alley who realizes this back alley of shacks where she works will be torn down as soon as Storyville opens across town and there is no provision made for where these broken down women will go. Under the dirt and malnutrition Marie is a smart and attractive young woman who is kept down by fate and circumstance but she is also determined and will not give up on trying to improve her life. Marie isn’t trying to fly too high she just wants to make her life better using her intelligence and grabbing at any opportunity she can get. Along the way other real life historical figures appear such as Tom Anderson, saloon owner, Josie’s backer in Storyville and eventually a two time state legislator, E. J. Bellocq, the eccentric photographer who left the only pictorial legacy of the women of Storyville and cameos by Jelly Roll Morton and a young Louis Armstrong. The book is an engrossing look at the time. The biased attitude between Creoles and Negros then. The political corruption that ran the city. The importance of the incoming railroad and the placement of its station. The pulsing life as jazz was making its way into the culture. It’s a harsh world for those at the bottom but there is still a vibrancy running through it. This is an amazing look into a changing time and one woman who made an impact in her time. This book is written with such respect for the women who were forced to sell the only thing they had; their bodies, and it gives an engrossing look into their world. The book and its characters are well written and well developed and it is very much a compelling read. This is their debut novel and I look forward to reading more by these authors. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Madam is based on the true story of Mary Deubler and her transformation to become Madam Josie Arlington. This story is about New Orleans at the turn of the century. The description of the city, people and times transports you there. Mary becomes an orphan at the age of 12. She and her brother are "looked after" by their nasty uncle who "pimps" Mary out to make money. The authors tell of Mary's struggle to make some money to survive and provide for her brother. Some of the officials of New Orleans and people are tired of having the Red Light District near their homes and corrupting their children by the site of them. One Alderman, Sidney Story, comes up with the idea of moving these "working" women to the back of the city. This becomes a legalized district known as Storyville, after the Alderman. This is a very interesting book about the life and times of the people of New Orleans and also mentions some of the famous people who were involved in music during that time, i.e. Jelly Roll Morton and Louis Armstrong. A great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you liked Sara Gruen's "Water For Elephants", then you will love this book. Like WFE, this book has a magic that transports you into the time period and era its written in. But unlike the historical fiction of WFE, this story is true: which makes it all the more enjoyable. This book has a great captivating story which will leave you wanting more. The characters and settings within the pages make you want to travel to the real places themselves. A must read for anyone who loves a good story,witty on liners, and great characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has a great balance of history and fiction. A nice easy read that keeps you turning the pages. I enjoyed it very much!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful
Mirella More than 1 year ago
Book Review Madame by Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin is biographical novel based on the life of Marie Deubler, aka Josie Arlington, the madam of a notorious brothel in Storyville, New Orleans. The story takes place is the late 1800’s and begins with a young Marie working as a lowly street prostitute earning mere coins. She shares quarters and works shifts with another prostitute in Venus Alley, a run-down alley of shacks and crates where whores lay for the poorest dregs of society. She struggles to survive and keep her brother and his wife supported. When she learns the street where she works will be torn down, and a new red light district will open called Storyville, she works hard to re-establish herself there.  Meticulously researched, the book includes important personages of the times, and emits a strong flavour of turn of the century New Orleans. It deals with the political and social climate of the time including racial conflict between whites, blacks, ad Creoles, political corruption, and the modernization caused by the coming of the railroad. Of course there is a strong sense of New Orleans culture with Jazz and food and vibrant life.  From the harsh life on the lowest rungs of social ladder, to the opulence of the rich and wealthy, this novel is sure to entertain. Colorful characters, vivid descriptions, and a compelling storyline kept me turning the pages at a furious pace. And just because this book is about prostitution, in no way does this book disrespect women. Rather, it makes one sympathetic to their plight. I hope to read more books by these authors!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was quite enjoyable and easy to read. It really is the back story to Madam, how Mary Deubler, the alley prostitute, became Madam Josie Arlington. It's also a story about how women who had very few choices made the most of what they were given. It's fiction, so some facts like years and people, are not quite historic. I'm quite intriqued about the photographer of Storyville, Bellocque. All in all, I reommend this book, especially if you are interested in New Orleans, Storyville, or just want a fun read.
dhaithman More than 1 year ago
Sexy historical fiction! Based on a true story, Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin's new novel "Madam"sweeps the reader into New Orleans, to 1897, to detail the unlikely rise to power of an ordinary "working girl" to notorious madam --that woman earned  her striped stockings! Loved the unexpected appearances of real-life characters including Jelly Roll Morton and  appreciated the inclusion of historical photos of New Orleans and its Red Light district. A rich feminist tale to be  savored with a glass of absinthe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Same text twice under different titles. Looks like careless. Interesting story, but feel written by many people, parts of book have separate styles, read with interest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good flavor of historical facts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this story would be more intriguing! I was hoping for a story about New Orleans with some interesting twist along the way. Maybe that was the idea but the writing was difficult to follow along. and the aithor could not keep my attention very well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
informative and interesting fictionalized story of a madam in New Orleans Story district.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was surprised to find that this book touches not only on the creation of Storyville but also on complex issues of the time such as the corrupt politics of New Orleans and racism between blacks, whites, and Creoles which they call "octoroons." This helped put the time period in perspective and forces you to think about the reality that these people faced. I enjoyed reading about the flavor of New Orleans in that era and the explosion of the Jazz Age, and was intrigued by the story of Mary Deubler. Her looks and intelligence, along with the help of the business-minded Tom Anderson, helped her become a prominent Madam on Basin Street. The history clearly had been meticulously researched, and the authors did a wonderful job of creating a seamless novel based on a true story. The subject matter is not for the faint of heart, but I would recommend this book to anyone interested in early New Orleans history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
43BankerJB More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be enjoyable reading. It shows that if you are poor or rich, the worlds oldest profession flourishes. An easy read and funny to boot.
JupFL_reader More than 1 year ago
I was very interested in reading this book based on the description, having attended college in New Orleans. However, the novel was quite flat. It lacked serious character development and basically started at the end. I was hoping that would go back "forward" after outlining the history, but instead it just ended. An easy read if you want some filler, but not anything to get excited about.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book ended just when it began? .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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