Ingenue by Jillian Larkin

Ingenue by Jillian Larkin(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

Power . . . love . . . scandal . . .
There’s never enough to go around.

In the city that never sleeps, Lorraine Dyer is wide awake. Ever since she exposed Clara Knowles for the tramp she was—and lost her closest confidante in the process—Lorraine has spent every second scheming to make her selfish, lovesick ex–best friend pay for what she did. No one crosses Lorraine. Not even Gloria.

True love conquers everything—or so Gloria Carmody crazily believed. She and Jerome Johnson can barely scrape together cash for their rent, let alone have a moment to whisper sweet nothings in the dark. And if they thought escaping Chicago meant they’d get away with murder . . . they were dead wrong.

Clara was sure that once handsome, charming Marcus Eastman discovered her shameful secret, he’d drop her like a bad habit. Instead, he swept her off her feet and whisked her away to New York. Being with Marcus is a breath of fresh air—and a chance for Clara to leave her wild flapper ways firmly in the past. Except the dazzling parties and bright lights won’t stop whispering her name. . . .

INGENUE is the second novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic Flappers series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . where revenge is a dish best served cold.

Ingenue is very different from the first book, Vixen, in that we’re already familiar with the world of the flappers.  Gloria has very truly rebelled this time and is bold enough to live alone (and unmarried) with a black man in 1920s America.  I don’t know about you, but it takes a lot of courage to defy those heavily ingrained societal prejudices surrounding both living together without being married and having an interracial relationship.  That’s why Gloria is still my favourite character in this second novel.  She’s far from perfect and her relationship with Jerome is rocky at times but by the end you’re even more sure that they truly love each other.

I hated Lorraine in the first book but she seems to have developed quite a bit by Ingenue.  She was rather naive despite her rebellions in the first book but she’s a little more worldly by this second book.  At the same time, she retains a lot of that naivete and it gets her into trouble quite a bit.  Clara’s storyline was also fascinating in that I loved her struggle between Marcus and her old, daring flapper life in New York.  The addition of Vera was probably my favourite part (character-wise) of the whole novel.  Black women don’t often get a voice in historical fiction set around this time, so seeing Vera and how she is treated throughout Ingenue was fascinating.

As for the plot I’d have to say it’s a little slower than the pace in Vixen but it certainly doesn’t drag on and on.  It’s fast-paced considering that four different characters are telling the story but Jillian Larkin never compromises on character development.  If you like action/thriller novels you’ll probably find the pace a bit slow, but for such a character-driven novel Ingenue speeds right along.

I learned so much more about the 1920s from Ingenue as the world of the flappers expanded.  Gangsters, racial relations, fashion, journalism and so much more were all discussed in great detail all through the novel.  I can’t comment on the accuracy of Ingenue or the rest of The Flappers books but I have a feeling Jillian Larkin has done her research fairly well.  You certainly feel immersed in the world of the Roaring Twenties from page one.

Overall, Ingenue was a pretty good second book.  If you liked Vixen and are invested in the characters of The Flappers you’ll definitely want to stick with the series until the end.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

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  1. nuwansenfilmsen

    Am a great fan of the roaring 20’s. This book sounds really interesting.
    I am currently reading a historical fiction, though one set in the 1500’s, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, but of course that’s a biographical novel, not out and out fiction.

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