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Wild Women and the Blues

A Fascinating and Innovative Novel of Historical Fiction

Denny S. Bryce

Paperback

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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (3/29/2021)
Library Binding, Large Print (7/14/2021)

Description

“Ambitious and stunning.” —Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author

"Vibrant…A highly entertaining read!” —Ellen Marie Wiseman New York Times Bestselling author of THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR
 
“The music practically pours out of the pages of Denny S. Bryce's historical novel, set among the artists and dreamers of the 1920s.”OprahMag.com
 
Goodreads Debut Novel to Discover & Biggest Upcoming Historical Fiction Books
Oprah Magazine, Parade, Ms. Magazine, SheReads, Bustle, BookBub, Frolic, & BiblioLifestyle Most Anticipated Books
Marie Claire & Black Business Guide’s Books By Black Writers to Read
TODAY & Buzzfeed Books for Bridgerton Fans
SheReads Most Anticipated BIPOC Winter Releases 2021
Palm Beach Post Books for Your 2021 Reading List

In a stirring and impeccably researched novel of Jazz-age Chicago in all its vibrant life, two stories intertwine nearly a hundred years apart, as a chorus girl and a film student deal with loss, forgiveness, and love…in all its joy, sadness, and imperfections.
 
“Why would I talk to you about my life? I don't know you, and even if I did, I don't tell my story to just any boy with long hair, who probably smokes weed.You wanna hear about me. You gotta tell me something about you. To make this worth my while.”
 
1925: Chicago is the jazz capital of the world, and the Dreamland Café is the ritziest black-and-tan club in town. Honoree Dalcour is a sharecropper’s daughter, willing to work hard and dance every night on her way to the top. Dreamland offers a path to the good life, socializing with celebrities like Louis Armstrong and filmmaker Oscar Micheaux. But Chicago is also awash in bootleg whiskey, gambling, and gangsters. And a young woman driven by ambition might risk more than she can stand to lose.
 
2015: Film student Sawyer Hayes arrives at the bedside of 110-year-old Honoree Dalcour, still reeling from a devastating loss that has taken him right to the brink. Sawyer has rested all his hope on this frail but formidable woman, the only living link to the legendary Oscar Micheaux. If he’s right—if she can fill in the blanks in his research, perhaps he can complete his thesis and begin a new chapter in his life. But the links Honoree makes are not ones he’s expecting...
 
Piece by piece, Honoree reveals her past and her secrets, while Sawyer fights tooth and nail to keep his. It’s a story of courage and ambition, hot jazz and illicit passions. And as past meets present, for Honoree, it’s a final chance to be truly heard and seen before it’s too late. No matter the cost...
 
“Immersive, mysterious and evocative; factual in its history and nuanced in its creativity.” —Ms. Magazine


“Perfect…Denny S. Bryce is a superstar!” —Julia Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of the Bridgerton series
 
“Evocative and entertaining!” —Laura Kamoie, New York Times bestselling author
 
“Wild Women and the Blues deftly delivers what historical fiction has been missing.” Farrah Rochon USA Today bestselling author
 


Praise For Wild Women and the Blues: A Fascinating and Innovative Novel of Historical Fiction

Praise for Wild Women and the Blues

“The music practically pours out of the pages of Denny S. Bryce's historical novel, set among the artists and dreamers of the 1920s.”
OprahMag.com
 
“Perfect…Denny S. Bryce is a superstar!”
Julia Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of the Bridgerton series

“Evocative and entertaining!”
Laura Kamoie, New York Times bestselling author
 
“Wild Women and the Blues deftly delivers what historical fiction has been missing.”
Farrah Rochon USA Today bestselling author

“All the glitz and glamour of Jazz Age Chicago, along with all the mob violence, is artfully described by the Bryce in this richly told, historical fiction debut.”
Booklist
 
“The author deftly weaves fiction with reality and paints a vibrant picture of the sparkling yet seedy era…Perfect for fans of light historical fiction led by a complex heroine.”
Kirkus Reviews

“The music practically pours out of the pages of Denny S. Bryce's historical novel, set among the artists and dreamers of the 1920s.”
OprahMag.com

“Immersive and exciting, Denny S. Bryce’s Wild Women and the Blues [is] a vibrant novel that gathers elements of Chicago’s jazz past together.”
Foreword Reviews
 
“An ambitious and stunning debut novel…With a sparkling cocktail of evocative detail, world-wise characters and heartfelt prose, Bryce celebrates the glam, danger, and promise of Chicago during the Jazz Age, giving readers an intricate, multi-generational story.”
Stephanie Dray, New York Times bestselling author
 
“Bryce takes readers from Roaring Twenties Chicago to the 21st century, in a riveting tale that speaks of ambition, forbidden love and courage.”
Palm Beach Post

"Denny S. Bryce paints a vibrant picture of the 1920s Jazz Age in this alluring and well-researched novel. Ritzy dance clubs, bootleg whiskey, chorus girls, gangsters, celebrities, secrets, and murder, WILD WOMEN AND THE BLUES has it all!  A highly entertaining read!”
—Ellen Marie Wiseman New York Times Bestselling author of THE ORPHAN COLLECTOR

“This is the best kind of historical novel: immersive, mysterious and evocative; factual in its history and nuanced in its creativity and connection to the present.”
Ms. Magazine

“Denny did her research and it shows: she accurately includes notable historical figures within the story line and provides a list of additional titles for further reading. The small details describing the experience of a Black Chicagoan in the 1920s (from dress and entertainment to slang and the sense of community) create a vivid background for this cast of engaging characters. The slowly revealed mysterious connections between families tie the book’s two time periods together. VERDICT Readers looking for solid historical fiction or complicated relationships, or to gain new insights into underrepresented points of view, will enjoy this book.”
Library Journal

“The author deftly weaves fiction with reality and paints a vibrant picture of the sparkling yet seedy era…Perfect for fans of light historical fiction led by a complex heroine.”
Kirkus

Wild Women and The Blues weaves together two equally ‘engaging’ stories.”
SheReads

“A brilliant debut, full of atmosphere and wonderfully immersive history.”
Cultured Vultures

“This vivid historical novel will satisfy those who were transfixed by Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, the Netflix adaptation of August Wilson’s play. Novelist Bryce, a former marketing executive who now covers books for NPR, takes an original slant to conjure the gritty blues scene of Jazz Age Chicago.”
Everything Zoomer

Kensington, 9781496730084, 384pp.

Publication Date: March 30, 2021



About the Author

Denny S. Bryce is an award-winning author and three-time RWA Golden Heart® finalist, including twice for Wild Women and the Blues. In addition to writing for NPR Books and FROLIC Media, the former professional dancer is a public relations professional who has spent over two decades running her own marketing and event management firm. A member of the Historical Novel Society, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Novelists, Inc., she is a frequent speaker at author events. Originally from Chicago, she now lives in Savannah, Georgia. Visit her online at DennySBryce.com.
 


Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

1. When was The Jazz Age? Do you have any favorite musicians from the period?


2. Oscar Micheaux was one of several black filmmakers who produced “race films.” These films starred black actors and actresses who portrayed characters that weren’t featured in Hollywood’s racist stereotypes. How do you think the race films of the 1920’s – 1940’s may have set the stage for the Blaxploitation films of the 1970s? (Coffey, Shaft, Cleopatra Jones, Superfly).


3. The music of the Jazz Age is thought to be the soundtrack of the Roaring Twenties. What music forms do you think have defined other generations?


4. Was Honoree Dalcour a “New Negro” or naturally resourceful and stubborn about what she valued about her life in Chicago?


5. How did you feel about Honoree taking in the homeless Bessie Palmer? Was it an act of kindness or frustration with the other chorus girls at Miss Hattie’s Garden Cafe? Toward the end of the novel, did Honoree feel genuine affection for Bessie or more of an obligation to her pregnant roommate?


6. In 2015, Sawyer’s depression was a complicated response to the loss of his sister and his estranged relationship with his father. Why do you think he is so haunted by his sister? Would he be better able to deal with his grief and guilt with a more supportive family?


7. Oscar Micheaux made more than 40 films, though many were lost. One of Micheaux’s films, “Within Our Gates,” was released in 1920 and called by some a response to D.W. Griffith’s “Birth of A Nation,” a film cited as heightening the visibility (and acceptance) of the Klu Klux Klan while promoting a negative image of African Americans. What film(s) would you credit as impacting public opinion about an individual/group or political issue? (Think about the 1936 film “Reefer Madness” or propaganda films of World War II, for example).