To Be Published May 2, 2017 by Touchstone
From the author of We Are Called to Rise comes a novel about the interconnected lives of four women in Las Vegas, each of whom experiences a life-changing moment at a classic casino nightclub.
Spanning the six decades when Las Vegas grew from a dusty gambling town into the melting pot metropolis it is today, ‘Round Midnight is the story of four women—one who falls in love, one who gets lucky, one whose heart is broken, and one who chooses happiness—whose lives change at the Midnight Room.
I’m calling this now…FAVORITE COVER OF THE YEAR!! It’s just gorgeous and I knew as soon as I saw it I had to read this. Well, that and the fact that it’s wrote by Laura McBride whose first book, We Are Called to Rise, made my top 10 reads of 2016 list last year. This novel is similar in structure to her first and totally works just as effectively as it as well.
When the novel begins, we meet June, who seemed to me very much a free spirit, but also somewhat lost in terms of what she wanted in life. The year is 1960 and June ends up in Las Vegas where she and her husband, Odell Dibb, run the El Capitan hotel where the showroom The Midnight Room hosts the most popular singer in Vegas…one Eddie Knox. Let’s just say June manages to stir up quite a bit of drama at the hotel and in her personal life and I loved reading about it. The author writes in such a way that I was completely drawn into June’s life. Her writing style flows and is so engaging that I felt that I was a fly on the wall…privy to everything going on in and out of the casino.
I have to say the setting…Las Vegas in the 1960’s to present day… was a character unto itself and I absolutely loved reading every detail about the casinos and life on and around The Strip. I remember visiting Vegas as a kid when there were still coins clinking non-stop out of the slot machines just like in the book. I’ve since visited Vegas every summer for the past 15 years and while the sounds in the casino have changed (paper has replaced coins), the vibe, lights and action of the casinos and The Strip sure haven’t. Laura McBride captured all of this brilliantly.
Following June’s section, the timeline jumps to 1992 and we meet Honorata, a Filipino girl who reluctantly (and somewhat bitterly) ends up in Vegas but whose luck may be changing. Then, there’s Coral, a Vegas native and music teacher who longs to find her own kind of happiness. Finally, in the last section, beginning in 2010-present we meet Engracia, an immigrant woman from Mexico with a tremendous broken heart. The beauty of how these very different women’s lives connect lies in the author’s tremendous storytelling ability. There wasn’t a time that I wasn’t completely engaged with the story and intrigued about how the ladies’ lives would intersect. That being said, I was definitely more invested in June’s story and to a lesser extent Coral’s. I really wished there wasn’t such a huge time gap between when we first read about June and when she makes another appearance. She was the character that I was most connected to and compelled to understand and there just wasn’t enough of her, in my opinion. I never really connected with Honorata and Engracia wasn’t in the story nearly as much as the others so I didn’t feel like I knew her as well. In the end, while I hoped for a little more ‘wow’ with the final scenes, I was very happy with how the author chose to end it. If you like vivid settings and charismatic characters, I encourage you to pick up this book. This is truly top notch writing and storytelling and all I can do now is impatiently wait for Laura McBride’s next novel!
Many thanks to Touchstone Books via Netgalley and Laura McBride for my copy of Round Midnight, I’m happy to provide an honest review.