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Midnight at the Orpheus Paperback – Import, 14 Dec 2015
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
If you enjoy reading books for their stories, “Midnight at the Orpheus” will satisfy your inclination with its well-crafted, interesting and convincing plot. Part love - or love triangle - story, part crime-novel, it revolves around three main characters: Cecilia Mills, Patrick Sheridan and Nell Prescott.
Cecilia is a rural girl struggling to survive in an unforgiving big city. Patrick, who is falling for her, is a tough young Irishman with a tender heart. He follows his own set ethical code and has revenge on his mind. Between them stands Nell, both as a connection and as an obstacle: the beautiful lover of Patrick’s boss and a mid-ranked gangster, she competes with Patrick for Cecilia’s affection. Add to that ruthless criminals, two dead bodies, a police force that is either corrupt or powerless -- and out comes a novel that you will read in two sittings.
Those readers who love books because of their characters will also be drawn into this novel: it’s easy to establish a connection with its protagonists. They are not black and white; there is no sharp, definitive distinction between good and bad, right and wrong. Well-crafted and authentic, they are in perfect sync with the time and the place.
But it is the beautiful recreation of the Roaring Twenties – or rather, their flip side – that I liked the most in this novel of intense noir atmosphere: of the world of dance bars wrapped in cigarette smoke and fumes of cheap whiskey; of cold, dark and dirty streets where you can meet only troubles; of back alleys full of lurking shadows; of cheap rented apartments with Murphy beds… along with money that quickly changes hands, ever-shifting power, deceptive luxury and dubious safety, for which the price is always too high.
And finally, if you are a language reader, you’ll find many reasons to savor “Midnight at the Orpheus”. The characters’ emotions are conjured in light brushstrokes and beautiful details rather than in long descriptions. This is an elegantly written novel, narrated in the soft, warm tone of the author’s voice.
Midnight at the Orpheus is a fun read. It may not have the best character development or the best characters, but it is an entertaining read. Set in the 20's and revolving around a gang and a young girl trying to get a job. Cecilia is the main character, and she's honestly kinda boring. I felt like there was so much more about her character, her thoughts and dreams and aspirations that could have been explained. She felt like a plot device, just something to keep all the characters intertwined and moving. Sheridan was my favorite character, his story of revenge was convincing and I thought he was a sweet guy at heart. Nell was also fascinating, I wanted her to be the main character and I wanted to hear more about her past. Honestly I would love to read a second book about her and about how she came to be with Franky, and learn more about her sexuality.
The atmosphere was done well, I felt like I was in the middle of the Roaring Twenties with the characters. I would have liked more information about lesbians in the '20s. I felt like Palmer touched briefly on how dangerous it was for homosexuals in that day and age, but I would have loved more historical details.
The end I thought was a bit long, I felt like Palmer had the characters escape and then realize they needed all of these things at home. And while I appreciate the fact that they didn't have everything at their fingertips, I was just a wee bit bored and wanted everything to move a bit faster. *SPOILER* And I loved it that Cecilia wasn't forced to choose between her two lovers. Since it's entirely possible for someone to love more than one person at the same time, I was glad that Palmer added this detail. *END SPOILER*
Overall I enjoyed reading this book and gave it 3 stars, I would read it again and give this book to a friend.