In 1928, Chicago rocks to the rhythm of the Jazz Age, and Prohibition is in full swing. Small-town girl Marjorie Corrigan, visiting the city for the first time, has sworn that coffee’s the strongest drink that will pass her lips. But her quiet, orderly life turns topsy-turvy when she spots her high school sweetheart–presumed killed in the Great War–alive and well in a train station. Suddenly everything is up for grabs.
Although the stranger insists he’s not who she thinks he is, Marjorie becomes obsessed with finding out the truth. To the dismay of her fiancé and family, she moves to the city and takes a job at a department store so she can spy on him. Meanwhile, the glittering world of her roommate, Dot, begins to look awfully enticing–especially when the object of her obsession seems to be part of that world. Is it really so terrible to bob her hair and shorten her skirt? To visit a speakeasy? Just for a cup of coffee, of course.
But what about her scruples? What about the successful young doctor to whom she’s engaged, who keeps begging her to come back home where she belongs? And what, exactly, is going on at the store’s loading dock so late at night?
Amid a whirlwind of trials and temptations, Marjorie must make a choice. Will the mystery man prove to be the cream in her coffee–the missing ingredient to the life she yearns for? Or will he leave only bitterness in her heart?
“The cat’s pajamas! Rich in jazzy details of 1920s Chicago, You’re the Cream in My Coffee is a sparkling debut novel. With an adventurous heroine, intriguing side characters, and a thought-provoking message, this story will keep you riveted. Jennifer Lamont Leo is a name to watch in historical fiction!” -Sarah Sundin, award-winning author of Anchor in the Storm
“Every single inch of this novel is delightful. From the start Marjorie Corrigan felt like a friend, one I was glad to see each time I returned to her story. With charming characters and a plot that keeps moving, this is a novel you don’t want to miss. Jennifer Lamont Leo is a fresh voice in Christian fiction. I can’t wait to read more of her work.” -Susie Finkbeiner, author of A Cup of Dust: A Novel of the Dust Bowl
GENRE: Inspirational Historical Fiction
PUBLISHER: Smitten Historical Romance
RELEASE DATE: September 15, 2016
“I don’t want a hundred fellows. Just one. The one who makes me happy.”
I don’t typically read/enjoy books set in the Roaring 20s but this debut novel from Jennifer Lamont Leo is the clear exception. Marjorie Corrigan’s witty and winsome first person narration had me hooked from the very first page – as poor Marjorie attempts to explain to us (despite what we may have heard) what didn’t cause her fainting spell at the Orpheum during the Sunday matinee.
At the beginning of the novel, there are two guys in Marjorie’s life. Her fiance Richard (whom she describes as “thrifty, brave, clean”… clearly swoonworthy material is Richard) and her first love Jack who was declared missing in action/presumed dead during the Great War ten years earlier. If she’s perfectly honest with herself, Marjorie has never quite given up on Jack returning some day so when she spots “him”, alive and well, in a Chicago train station, her nice tidy life turns upside down.
Y’all. MY life turned upside down while I was reading You’re the Cream in my Coffee. Because I wanted so badly for this man to be Jack, for Marjorie’s sake. Shoot, I wanted him to be Jack for my sake, diehard romantic that I am. Let’s face it – Dr. Richard? Needed to go. And this Jack lookalike named Peter needed to be Jack. I may have gotten as obsessed as Marjorie with trying to figure out if Peter was really Jack or not. I’m not proud of it… but there it is. 😉 And at some point I didn’t even care (mostly) because Peter IS all kinds of swoonworthy!
But more than needing to figure out who Peter was, Marjorie needed to figure out who she was. Because somewhere along the way, while working in her dad’s dry goods store in tiny Kerryville IL and acquiescing to her stepmother’s wishes and conforming to what Dr. Richard thought she should be and do, Marjorie lost herself. And around about the time that Jack failed to return from the war, she lost a little bit of her faith too. And so her foray into the big city of Chicago is also about rediscovering herself – her talents, her dreams, her likes and dislikes – and reconnecting with God.
Bottom Line: Witty, entertaining, and romantic, You’re the Cream in My Coffee is a charming peek into the Jazz Age and Prohibition, wrapped in a great story with delightful characters. Jennifer Lamont Leo’s writing voice captures your attention right from the start, and the pace of the story never slows or drags. I was fully invested in the outcome, in the characters, and in the message of grace and restoration. I’m adding this author to my watch list and hoping for more from her in the near future!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Love it!
KissingBook Level: 3 / May forget to breathe on occasion
With a passion for all things historical, Jennifer Lamont Leo captures readers’ hearts through stories set in times gone by. She is also a copywriter, editor, and journalist. An Illinois native, she holds a deep affection for Chicago and its rich history. Today she writes from the mountains of northern Idaho, where she shares her home with her husband, two cats, and abundant wildlife.
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