Prohibition….Gangsters….Bootleggers….Al Capone….and a 17-year-old girl named Eve Marryat who, in the tumultuous summer of 1931, learns the meaning of….
by Ann Tatlock
When Eve Marryat’s father is laid off from the Ford Motor Company in 1931, he is forced to support his family by leaving St. Paul, Minnesota, and moving back to his Ohio roots. Eve’s uncle Cyrus has invited the family to live and work at his Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge.
St. Paul seemed like a haven for gangsters, and Eve had grown fearful of living there. At seventeen, she considers her family to be “good people.” They aren’t lawbreakers and criminals like so many people in her old neighborhood. Thrilled to be moving to a “safe haven,” Eve is blissfully unaware that her uncle’s lodge is a transfer station for illegal liquor smuggled from Canada.
Eve settles in to work and makes new friends, including an enigmatic but affecting young man. But when the reality of her situation finally becomes clear, Eve is faced with a dilemma. How can she ignore what is happening right under their very noses? Yet can she risk everything by condemning the man whose love and generosity is keeping her and her family from ruin?
Stylistically, and tonally, this book was very sweet, complete, and well put-together. I did struggle with the “instalove” that is brought into play (which is ridiculously unbelievable, even for the 1920s), and with the hard-nosed “Al Capone sought forgiveness” heavily-Christian rhetoric in the epilogue.
Things were wrapped up too neatly for me, with everyone reaping what they sow and all of Eve’s expectations met. We all know that real life isn’t like that; struggling with the grey areas of life includes struggling with the reality that good isn’t rewarded and evil isn’t punished and we have to learn to change our opinions about things.
I felt like we were brought into Eve’s world on the cusp of change, but that somehow she wrenched that change into a fairy tale for herself…simply by being good and obedient, I suppose. Personally, I was more interested in her sister’s story, and some of the Greek Chorus folks who were more function than character.
I would recommend this for anyone needing a sweet story on a plane trip or vacation, anyone interested in Prohibition and classic gangsters, fans of coming of age stories, and those who enjoy fiction geared toward both adults and teenagers.
Ann Tatlock is the author of the Christy Award-winning novel Promises to Keep. She has also won the Midwest Independent Publishers Association “Book of the Year” in fiction for both All the Way Home and I’ll Watch the Moon.Her novel Things We Once Held Dear received a starred review from Library Journal and Publishers Weekly calls her “one of Christian fiction’s better wordsmiths, and her lovely prose reminds readers why it is a joy to savor her stories.” Ann lives with her husband and daughter in Asheville, North Carolina.
- 2 cups flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 3 Tblsp bourbon or brandy or other sweetish oaky hooch
- 1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Grease a 9″x 5″ loaf pan.
- Combine flour, baking powder, and salt together.
- In another bowl, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy.
- Add eggs and beat until blended.
- Add bananas and bourbon and beat until blended.
- Blend in the flour mixture until well combined.
- Fold in the nuts and chocolate chips.
- Pour into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.
- Let cool 20-30 minutes in the pan before removing from pan to finish cooling on a wire rack…or diving into.