Cherished One: Book 1
A Tarnished novel
Born in 1898 to a heartless prostitute in Storyville, the red-light district of New Orleans, David comes into the world as Picayune, a name meaning “of little value” or as his mother reminds him, “nothing.”
In the early 20th century brothels and clubs, his love of music sustains young Pic until a fortuitous meeting places him on the road to respectability, and Pic reinvents himself as David Reid.
As David realizes happiness for the first time, conscription forces his friend and first love, Spencer Webb, into the Great War. A telegram from the War Department deals a staggering blow and interrupts David’s pursuit of a law degree. He must gather his wits and move forward. While his future looks bright, specters from Storyville return.
The past holds both pain and love, and facing it head-on might destroy David or give him the freedom to live the life he has dreamed.
Although I’ve read a lot of stories set in this time period, this had a different focus than those I’ve encountered before. I hadn’t heard of Storyville before, and I liked the way the author showed how the different characters made choices that would affect the rest of their lives. While David chooses to make something of his life, and walks away from the life he’s known at Storyville, others can’t see a way out and continue on their current path, which ultimately leads to their downfall.
This was a difficult time, and many had to pretend to be something they’re not in regard to their sexuality. This comes across in several ways, and very much so in Emilie’s part of the story. I liked the way it not only showed a gay man’s struggle, but also that of a woman being forced by her family to give up the person she loves. David also can’t admit to the true nature of his relationship with another man, and there is a reference about confirmed bachelors which was often the way two gay men lived together without arousing suspicion.
The references to trench warfare in WWI were gritty, and realistic. The author made me cry, darn it, and I was beginning to wonder if David would ever get his happy ending.
Although this is David’s story, the book is populated by many colourful characters. I loved Spence in particular, and I thought the author captured the time, and place wonderfully and brought it to life. It was very easy to imagine the setting and these characters as I was reading, and I got sucked into the story very quickly. I haven’t read anything by Brita Addams before but I will be reading more.
I’d recommend this story to readers who enjoy historical fiction with memorable characters, realistic storylines and settings, and a story that keeps you reading to find out what happens next. 5 out of 5 stars.