Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
When Hollywood-bound actress Violet London meets speakeasy singer Moxie Valette, her trip takes an unexpected turn toward love.
New York City, 1931: When wry Broadway actress Violet London and her hard-drinking cohorts venture into a speakeasy the night before she is to board a train for Hollywood, she is floored by sassy blond singer Moxie Valette. As Violet introduces Moxie to an assortment of bootleg liquor, cross-dressers, and sex shows, she vows to find a way to see her again. Moxie is fascinated by Violet in a thrilling and unfamiliar way, and the ensuing evening of bon mots, shameless flirtation, and illicit revelry is unlike anything she has ever experienced.
From Manhattan to Los Angeles, both women’s lives are turned upside-down by separation, unscrupulous motion picture studio executives, self-serving agents, eccentric celebrities, and the collection of hedonistic reprobates that are their closest friends.
[Originally posted on Amazon 12/23/10]
This book is a bit difficult to rate with stars because there are a couple things at odds. The story is fun and the writing is decent, but a bit more care should have been taken with the period aspects.
I really enjoy Colette Moody’s storytelling and The Seduction of Moxie doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The characters were lively, colorful, and interesting. The time period that serves as the backdrop is fascinating and in many ways is brought vividly to life in this book.
But there are a few problems that, had they been addressed, would have turned this from a decent read into an excellent book. Some of the banter and lingo is right on. But some anachronistic slang and colloquialisms detract from the experience. Sometimes it’s not the use of specific words, but how they are strung together that comes across as anachronistic.
The dialogue is often raunchy and vulgar. I’m no prude in this regard and some well-placed zingers can be fun and highly humorous. However, I think such language needs to be used judiciously or it loses the beneficial effect intended. In this case I think Moody overdid it. At times it seemed she was writing vulgar dialogue just to see how vulgar she could get and it became its own goal, instead of a means to an end like it should be.
Another issue that caused me some problems was that the characters are all struggling artists of one sort or another. Yet somehow they can afford to travel in first class cross-country on a train in private cabins. No explanation was provided for how this came to be, so instead it merely appears to be a convenient plot device. Lastly, the ending seemed rather rushed to me, as if Moody was in a hurry to tie up all the loose ends within a certain page count.
Don’t let my critique dissuade you from buying and reading this book if it interests you. I wanted to give a balanced look at the book. But in the final analysis, even with the problems I mentioned, it’s a fun read. It’s not a period of time that is written about very often, and I really love lesbian historical fiction. I was especially surprised and touched at times by the tenderness between Violet and Moxie, who are jazz babies and not especially sweet or tender in general.