Title: Night and Day (2nd Edition)
Author: Rowan Speedwell
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 52 Pages
At a Glance: Rowan Speedwell’s unique delivery of Night and Day tells a charming and fantastical and sweetly romantic story.
Reviewed By: Lisa
Blurb: 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.
Review: I don’t think I can do a proper summary of this book without giving away spoilers, so I’m not even going to try, though I will say that since the book has been openly categorized as Mythology, Rowan Speedwell made Night and Day an immensely enjoyable read for this geek for the Greek, simply in identifying some of the gods and goddesses and their legends among her characters.
The first thing I have to touch on is the narrative voice Speedwell uses to deliver her story. Just when I thought I’d read them all, I discovered I hadn’t quite yet. The author is very much present in the telling of this tale, which took some getting used to, but once I warmed up to its uniqueness, it worked for me, giving the narration a sort of expository quality, as though the author is narrating Nate Pederowski’s own story back to him. Night and Day is written in a way that allows us to imagine that Nate’s being reminded and directed and coaxed along into understanding that what had happened to him wasn’t a dream, or a nightmare, or a hallucination. It’s not a feeling of direction as much as it is instruction, and I ended up liking it, though I don’t think it’s a style I’d want to read too often, nor would it work for every story.
Set during the Great Depression—before Prohibition was repealed—the Starlight Lounge becomes the setting where our tired, hungry, down-on-his-luck Nate finds a little divine intervention in the form of Rick and Corinna Bellevue. Nate is a mere mortal but his gift of the divine comes in the form of his voice. Nate’s singing is the stuff of inspiration, his Orpheus-like vocals the instrument through which he coaxes and charms the emotions of his audience, and it’s not long before he discovers himself witness to things at the Starlight—and beyond—that can’t be easily explained or tidily nocked onto the thread of reality.
The fantasy of this novel works beautifully alongside the romance, as Nate and Rick indulge in each other and the feelings that grow between them. Because of the limited word count, I didn’t expect a full exposition of their relationship, but what is there is filled with a longing and chemistry in the heated glances that build up to their falling in love. I think what ultimately made this book such a lovely read for me, though, is owed entirely to the author’s imagination and her skill at a provocative turn of phrase.
The next time you’re in the mood for something a little different, something charming and fantastical and sweetly romantic, I wouldn’t hesitate to give this title your consideration.
You can buy Night and Day here: