Duffin evokes a palpable sense of place in both the squalid life of the city’s poor and the opulence of the distracted elite. His dialog evinces Eddie’s street smarts and May’s Irish brogue, and he skillfully dramatizes May’s tangled life of crime. When things get too hot in New York, she convinces Eddie to run to Chicago with her, where after a bold diamond heist she declares herself “Chicago May.” Spurred by the 1920 vote for women’s suffrage, May realizes “more and more courageous women were making lives of their own, independent of both fathers, husbands or boyfriends.”
Duffin’s May comes across as less malicious than the historic figure who inspired her. Despite being a thief and a blackmailer, May proves endearing with her grit and drive, and fans of strong women protagonists and last-century crime stories will eagerly follow her adventures, which range from comic to thrilling to harrowing.
Takeaway: Readers will cheer on this Irish teenager who becomes a grifter queen in the roaring 1920s.
Great for fans of:Renee Rosen’s Dollface, Douglas Perry’s The Girls of Murder City.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written
This story of how, behind apparent ignorance and vulnerability, a strong intellect and courage may lie is very well written. Harry Duffin's long experience as a screenwriter makes for vivid visual imagery, and a cast of strong characters, each well-defined and placed in this Jazz-age narrative, gives us an absorbing reading experience.
At times exciting, at times tender, at times shocking, it's also a great love story. For while you will think that we don't see enough of May's internal thoughts, but stick around - she's one hell of a woman.
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb read
The characters in 'Chicago May' come to life immediately, when you start reading the book. Harry Duffin captures the details of human interaction amazingly well. This book is right up there with the Penny Vincenzi's and Jodie Picoult's of this world for me. Could not put it down, just had to finish it!