Greetings, fellow indie writers and readers! I am Beem Weeks, author of the historical fiction/coming-of-age novel JAZZ BABY and SLIVERS OF LIFE: A COLLECTION OF SHORT STORIES. My goal in life is to promote the indie movement to the world. I can be found on Twitter @VoiceOfIndie and @BeemWeeks. I enjoy indie films, loud music, and a well told story. Lansing, Michigan, USA.
Slivers Of Life
I discovered indie author Jean Scheffler on Twitter. She tweeted a message detailing her debut novel using words like speakeasy, gangsters, prohibition, and the Roaring Twenties. That alone would have sold me on the book. But then I learned the author is a fellow Michigander. That sealed the deal.
The Sugar House offers a look inside the Detroit of 1920s America, when industry had begun to drive the nation, and gangsters filled the vacuum left by prohibition with cheap and illegal bootleg whiskey.
When Joe, the story’s main character, loses his father, the youngster takes a job running errands for those gangsters controlling the now-booming liquor trade. But working for the Sugar House Gang takes its toll on the person Joe’s father had raised him to be. He develops an indifference to the violence and criminal activity permeating the city.
Jean Scheffler has a talent for taking a likeable character and exposing his all-too-human flaws. The story is well-researched and filled with details I became familiar with while researching the 1920s for my own novel.
The story’s flow is slowed in a few places, primarily due to inserted backstory. But the overall picture Scheffler paints is one tied to the rich history of the once-booming Motor City. She brings the story to life with vivid sound, flavor, and attitude.
Some readers may have trouble believing an eight-year-old boy could know the things young Joe understands. But keep in mind this is a different era; a time when kids had to grow up fast. Many, like Joe, were forced to support self and family.
Jean Scheffler skillfully sprinkles her story with amazing descriptions, pulling the reader into the era. Her characters become quite real. You can almost hear the commotion in the air.
The Sugar House is a strong debut and a carefully crafted piece of historical fiction. This is one book I will gladly recommend.
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