By Janet Fox
Published November 8th, 2012
Paperback, 384 pages
When Jo Winter’s parents send her off to live with her rich cousin on the glittering island of Manhattan, it’s to find a husband and forget about her brother Teddy’s death. But all that glitters is not gold. Caught up in the swirl of her cousin’s bobbed-hair set—and the men that court them—Jo soon realizes that the talk of marriage never stops, and behind the seemingly boundless gains are illicit business endeavors, gangsters, and their molls. Jo would much rather spend time the handsome but quiet Charles, a waiter at the Algonquin Hotel, than drape herself over a bootlegger.
But when she befriends a moll to one of the most powerful men in town, Jo begins to uncover secrets—secrets that threaten an empire and could secure Jo’s freedom from her family. Can her newfound power buy her love? Or will it to ruin Jo, and everyone around her? - Goodreads
ReviewSet on the Roarin' '20s, Sirens is a tale of a girl thrown into the upper class New York City social scene, going from speakeasy to speakeasy while acquiring the company of a notorious gangster and his moll. Everything however, isn't as fine as it seems, and Jo Winters is hiding some dark secrets about her brother Teddy, who committed suicide one year ago. How are her, her brother, and the gangsters all connected? That is the question posed to you, and this book is a journey to discover the truth.
Jo Winters is an aspiring write, not quite out of high school, when she is sent packing to NYC to visit her rich relatives by her father. Her father is involved in the bootlegging business with the notorious gang leader Danny Conner, and something is happening between them that her father wants Jo out of the way, saying she is going to find a husband. Nonetheless, Jo sees through this, and while in NYC she tries to discern the truth and how it involves Teddy. After discovering his journal, Jo tries to figure it out and understand what occurred, all the while beset by Danny who wants something Teddy left behind. She is also sucked into the night life of the 1920's, partying with her cousin Melody, who harbors some dark secrets of her own. Women have just gotten the vote, and are trying out their new freedoms, donning the flapper attire and attitudes, and going to speakeasies and running the risk of getting caught (it's prohibition after all).
Louise “Lou” O’Keefe is Danny Conner's moll, whom previously lived on the streets, and was given a whole new life by Danny. She is supplied with as many dresses and jewels a girl could desire, and a mansion to boot, all thanks to him, the love of her life. She would do anything to keep him, including getting rid of any threats. When Jo and Lou meet, their lives quickly become entangled with some unpredictable twists.
Sirens is written from the view point of both Jo and Lou, while Lou retells the events to a cop, Jo is living it, which may seem confusing but it makes it more intriguing while you try to guess what really happened. My favorite part of this novel was the background. It is so rich and vibrant I could just picture myself there, not to mention the 20's was an exceptional era, the turning over of a new leaf. All of the glitz and glamor of the wealthy upper crust is portrayed splendidly, and so is the darkness and shadows of the underground bootlegging business, and all of the mobsters that are encountered there. My only annoyance with this was that I had a few questions at the end, and this book is meant to stand alone, so that bugs me. The ending is also a tad bit crazy, and a little confusing. Other than that I would definitely recommend this book, even for people who don't necessarily like historical fiction, this is a great book to start, where you will be swept away.