Review ~ Giveaway ~ Excerpt
A chance encounter between a penniless young woman in search of her missing brother and a hobo burdened with a big secret takes both on a journey to Chicago's glamorous yet crime-ridden 1920s, where prostitution, bootlegging, and corruption rule. Separated by fate and reunited by chance, WHERE THE NIGHT NEVER ENDS is an unforgettable tale of courage and perseverance, a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds.
When feisty and headstrong Samantha Bruno loses her mother in a freak accident, she decides to search for her brother, Angelo, who didn't return from a business trip to Chicago seven months earlier. It is the year 1924, the height of prohibition, and the city of Cincinnati is in the midst of a deep recession. Narrowly escaping a band of thugs, Sam meets Paul, a mysterious hobo with a big secret. Together they embark on a harrowing journey to Chicago, where Al Capone is building an empire.
Just when it seems their friendship is blossoming into something more, a raid tears Sam and Paul apart. Sam is sold into a brothel while Paul is arrested. Trapped without money and desperate to escape her new profession, Sam realizes she is on her own. Not only to free herself and search for her brother among Chicago's three million residents, but also to do the impossible--find Paul.
During his hearing, Paul learns that his father, a wealthy Chicago inventor, is on his deathbed. The judge, an old family friend, gives Paul an ultimatum. See your father or go to jail. Reluctantly, Paul returns home, where he finds that his decision to run away seven years earlier was based on a terrible mistake.
Narrated in alternating chapters by Sam and Paul, with rich historical detail, complex characters, and stunning prose, award-winning author Annette Oppenlander once again delivers a touching novel that lets us imagine what it was like to live and love during the roaring 1920s.
I'm a huge fan of historical fiction - the more I feel transported to the past, the better. I want to see, smell, taste, experience all there is from that time period. I was excited to read Where The Night Never Ends as the roaring 20s is not a place in time I've delved into.
I enjoyed the story - the plot was solid and kept me tapping the Kindle screen as fast as my eyes could finish a page. Without giving too much away, Where The Night Never Ends was gritty without being dark, and had plot twists that surprised and kept me interested in finding out what happened to Sam and Paul.
At the same time, I didn't feel transported back in time which was disappointing because the actual plot was so good. Maybe I didn't feel connected to the characters (though I did like them a lot by the end). Maybe because this was my first historical fiction based in this time period (I kept wondering if the terminology was accurate, resisting the urge to research the Prohibition Era). There were also a few editing errors - not a lot, but they threw me out of the story each time I noticed them. It could also be that I read Where The Night Never Ends at the end of a very stressful week - no matter what I read would not serve to take me away from my worries.
For those concerned with the violence of that era, the book doesn't really touch on it. There is tragedy, but the violence is not in-your-face. There are scenes in brothels, but nothing gratuitous. Depending on how you like your reads, this could be either a plus or minus.
If you choose to read Where The Night Never Ends, which I suggest you do if you A) enjoy historical fiction and/or B) are fascinated with the 1920s Prohibition Era in Chicago, I promise it won't be wasted time. You may even love it!
- Carissa W.
I was given a free copy of Where The Night Never Ends in exchange for an honest review.
I awoke in the early morning, my bones chilled as if they could fracture. I stomped back and forth in the abandoned lot until an inkling of warmth returned to my feet and hands. Remembering the sack from yesterday, I pinched my nose and took a drink from the whiskey. I shook myself as the liquid edged a fiery trail down my throat and gathered heat in my middle.
I’d made up my mind to leave.
What about Papa’s favorite cooking pot made from cast-iron? And his knife used for cutting ingredients, Mamma’s quilt that carried her scent? Should I return and check? Visit my girlfriend, Helen, who lived on the same block? We’d gone to school together, but Helen worked in a canning factory six days a week because her father worked there too.
No, I couldn’t risk it. Talbott had no doubt taken over my apartment and everything in it. Or he was lying in wait. There was no telling what he’d do if he caught me.
Straightening my achy knees, I stumbled onto the street and turned south. Frost covered the muddy trail and puddles. I filled my lungs because the air was almost bearable this morning, not yet soiled with manure from the daily herding of pigs to slaughter and the neglected dirty skin of men out of work.
I’d go search for my brother. He was bound to be in Chicago and he had to be alive. I was sure of it. Why else had there been that mysterious Chicago Tribune newspaper in the mailbox? It had only happened once—it couldn’t be a coincidence. But for some reason Angelo had chosen not to return, not even write. Something big had to have happened, something that had scared Angelo into abandoning mighty George Remus, abandoning Mamma and me. If there was any chance he was still there, I had to find him.
Only when the rail yard came into view did I realize I knew nothing about traveling on trains. In my cluttered brain, I’d figured to catch a free train north. How else was I going to get there without money? Buses required tickets. Walking took weeks and provisions I didn’t have.
Hundreds of cargo wagons stretched in every direction, seemingly parked helter-skelter along miles of rails. Where they went was anybody’s guess. There was a chill in the air, a frigid wind whistling along the tracks. It carried none of the filthy odor I knew from my neighborhood, but something unfamiliar and hostile. I tucked my coat around me, the shotgun a comfortable weight beneath my armpit. I’d fashioned a loop into the lining, the butt of the gun resting in the inner seam of my coat.
Angelo’s blue eyes, so much like my own, appeared in my vision. I angrily wiped a sleeve across my face and climbed over the first rails.
I’d heard of hobos, men crisscrossing the country in search of jobs. Surely one of them knew how to find Chicago. I’d simply ask directions.
“Look what we gots here,” a voice snickered.
“Is the girly lost?” another chimed in.
“She needs a fella to help her out,” a third voice said as the man attached to it stepped into my way. “Where to, doll?” His grin exposed a graveyard of foul teeth. There was no telling how old the man was, his face hidden behind a jungle of beard and month’s worth of grime.
I stopped abruptly, hugging the sack with my remaining supplies to my chest. Unless I threw everything down and had space and time to wrestle out my shotgun, I didn’t stand a chance.
About the Author
Annette Oppenlander is an award-winning writer, literary coach and educator. As a bestselling historical novelist, Oppenlander is known for her authentic characters and stories based on true events, coming alive in well-researched settings. Having lived in Germany the first half of her life and the second half in various parts in the U.S., Oppenlander inspires readers by illuminating story questions as relevant today as they were in the past.