Last Night at the Blue Angel

Rebecca Rotert. Morrow, $25.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-231528-1
Set in mid-1960s Chicago, Rotert’s debut depicts Naomi Hill’s struggles to succeed as a jazz singer, largely from the perspective of her young daughter, Sophia. “Mother is a singer. I live in her dark margin. For the first ten years of my life, I watch her from the wings.” A reckless single mother, Naomi believes in living in the moment and depends on her friends to help care for Sophia. The girl grows up in an erratic lifestyle revolving around Naomi’s club act at the titular Blue Angel. The stress Sophia already feels as a result of their unpredictable routine is heightened by school civil defense drills, which leave her feeling anxious about the threat of nuclear warfare. However, she has an ability beyond her age to understand her mother’s flaws while still being able to cherish their relationship. In flashbacks told from Naomi’s point of view, the woman reflects on what drove her to flee her Kansas hometown in the 1950s and what drives her to pursue the spotlight. Rotert has created a complicated and engaging heroine in Sophia, a memorable character portrait which is her book’s most striking aspect. Agent: Henry Dunow, Dunow, Carlson & Lerner. (July)
Reviewed on: 04/21/2014
Release date: 07/01/2014
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-06-231529-8
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-233218-9
Compact Disc - 978-1-4830-0518-8
Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-06-231530-4
Compact Disc - 978-1-4830-0517-1
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4676-7983-1
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Audio book sample courtesy of HarperAudio
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