This novel is a kick.
Ellis Eton is a scatterbrained heroine. It's the 1920s and she is getting the boot from Radcliffe because she just keeps on getting sidetracked and forgets to study. A bit distracted, she agrees to work a couple of weeks for Janie, daughter of the Eton's previous cook. Finding out she'll be a telephone operator, it can't be that hard, Ellis thinks. She bumbles through her first days, connecting callers, and accidentally overhears what sounds like a murder plot – one that is aimed at her friend Griffin. Griffin who has a summer job working for the city of Boston in their financial office. Griffin who is finding irregularities in the mayor's expense accounts. How can she protect him?
Mitchell has created a novel that has periods of laugh out loud humor yet deals with serious issues. Her character development of Ellis is great. She is a young woman with ADHD long before something like it was known to exist. She is a character you fall in love with yet drives you crazy.
The historical nature of the novel is exceptional. In the historical note at the end, I was amazed to find out how much of the action in the novel is based on the actual history of Boston during that era.
There were a few times when the story lagged but in general, the novel is fast paced and kept my interest throughout. I did feel the serious aspect of prohibition and the death of a person because of alcohol did not go well with the humorous nature of the rest of the novel.
There were many interesting issues dealt with in the book. A major one is being who you are. Ellis can tell her sister to do that yet has difficulty doing so herself. Another theme is standing up for what is right, even when the wrong is not affecting you. Another one is making promises you don't keep. There is a discussion guide included but there would be much to talk about even without it.
This is an enjoyable historical novel. A little romance, a lot of humor, a bit of mystery and suspense, and a very serious social issue confronted.
Siri Mitchell has written nearly a dozen novels, three of which have been named Christy Award finalists. She is a graduate of the University of Washington and has worked on three continents. She and her family live in the D. C. area. You can find out more about her at www.sirimitchell.com.
Bethany House Publisher, 368 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this independent and honest review.