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September 2, 2016 by kitmoss


By Rowena Speedwell


Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press; 2 edition (March 9, 2016)


2nd Edition

Nate Pederowski is about as far down as he can go when he’s tipped to a job as a singer in a speakeasy. Dishonorably discharged for being queer, broke and homeless during the Great Depression, Nate is embittered and lonely. The club’s handsome owner, Rick Bellevue, and his sister Corinna are wowed by Nate’s voice and offer him the job.

But the Starlight Lounge is much more than an ordinary supper club, and Rick and his sister much more than just the owners. It’s not ’til Nate gets caught up in a gangster’s plot that he discovers just what secrets they’re hiding. Nate’s life is going to change in ways he can scarcely imagine, let alone believe.

1st Edition published by Dreamspinner Press, 2010, in the Myths and Magic: Legends of Love anthology.


This short novel is absolute magic. How the author ties in the magical elements is slowly, surely, and inexorably so that when it hits you it charms you.   Your first encounter is with Nate, the down-and-out singer whose first love in the Army got him into enough trouble that he can’t get a job anywhere. Fortunately he happens on a little speakeasy in an American city . He meets Rick and Corrina, brother and sister, and his first magical experience is seeing what he thinks is a dream, Rick disrobing on the roof of the building and glowing from the sun. When later that first day he makes love to Rick and Rick’s radiance scorches the ground on which they’re lying he starts to see that it wasn’t a dream at all. A character named Dion starts in threatening the happiness of the enclave when he comes in to demand that he get Nate as a singer and Carina explains to Rick that Dion wants whatever Rick has. We follow the development of Rick’s and Nate’s relationship as it grows and blossoms until one day in another dreamlike setting Dion shows up and starts to pray on the singer. Rick and Corrina appear and rescue Nate. It is the revelation of all at that point that brings us lovely story to its fruition.

Combination of the mystical and magical descriptions with the very mundane gangster era writing is so terribly gently done that I was surprised as it slowly occurred to me that these were the beings of Olympus. It reminds me of stories I’ve written with my friend Barbara Whitbread that involved characters like Coyote and Loki. The magic I felt creating these characters with Barbara came through beautifully in Speedwell’s work.

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