Friday, March 8, 2019

✱✱Book Review✱✱In the City by the Lake by Taylor Saracen

In the City by the Lake 
by Taylor Saracen 

When Viktor Mikhailov follows in his father’s footsteps and joins the relatively insignificant Russian mob, he is given an assignment none of his comrades want, yet Viktor cannot help but be secretly pleased. The city is a cesspool of organized crime, with several outfits fighting for a piece of the Prohibition pie, and Viktor’s slice is the openly gay Towertown. Tasked with providing whiskey to the queer clubs he covertly frequents, Viktor gains monetary wealth while finding himself in an unconventional relationship with his top client’s muse, an enigmatic redhead named Calvin Connolly.

Calvin—along with throngs of idealists who pack the pansy parlors—believes they stand on the precipice of a revolution, but Viktor is not convinced. A skeptic by both nature and lack of nurture, Viktor questions the conservative culture’s capacity for true change while hoping that broad acceptance is imminent. Perhaps then he could accept the parts of himself he hides.

While the repeal of Prohibition leads to financial issues for Viktor, a Depression-era disapproval of the liberal lifestyles of the 1920s initiates a slew of deeper problems. Sensationalized news stories regarding a rash of sex crimes paint homosexuals as depraved monsters and precipitate numerous laws against the queer community. The government’s intent is not only to eradicate pansy parlors—but homosexuality entirely. When an unexpected arrest forces Viktor to arrive at a decision he feels unprepared to make, he struggles with the ramifications.

IN THE CITY BY THE LAKE is a work of historical fiction focused on the emotional journey of a twenty-one-year-old closeted mobster living in Chicago during the LGBT emergence of the late 1920s to early 1930s, a period deemed the “Pansy Craze.”

Momma Says: 4 stars⭐⭐⭐⭐

In the City by the Lake is the story of Viktor in 1920's and 30's Chicago. To say that the odds are stacked against him, and he has issues to work through would be an understatement. The story is very much character driven as Viktor struggles to come to terms with who he is and what he wants. The writing is wonderfully descriptive and paints a picture of the depression era and organized crime that is vivid and compelling. The pacing is steady and while big things do happen, those things aren't done with flair and fireworks. Instead, it's almost a whisper, sneaking up on you with the emotion of it all. The bulk of the story is about Viktor coming to terms with his place in the world and his own self-worth, but at its core this is a love story between Viktor and Cal. They have completely different outlooks on life, yet they fit together perfectly even if it does take Viktor a while to figure it all out. To sum it up, this one is a journey of love, or maybe to love. It's filled with emotion, angst, heartbreak, loss, love, and finally hope. This one isn't a story I would normally gravitate to, but I'm certainly glad to have read it. 

❃❃Review Copy provided by 13RedMedia

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