Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Ain't Misbehavin' by Jennifer Lamont Leo, a sweet 1920s-era love story

Dot Rodgers and Charlie Corrigan are sweethearts, though their personalities are very different. It’s 1928 in Chicago, and fun-loving Dot wants to live it up, donning a sparkling frock for a downtown New Year’s Eve party, where she’ll spend time with old friends, chat with the musicians, and maybe get a lead on a future singing gig.

Dot’s grateful for her job selling hats at Marshall Field’s – after her father kicked her out, she needs to make her own way in the world – but loves the thrill of performing for a crowd. Charlie, however, prefers cozy small-town life to glittery social gatherings, especially when they involve illegal liquor and loud people of questionable morals.

A war veteran and churchgoer who helps run a dry goods store, he’s quiet and conservative; he also senses the underlying discontent the partygoers try to hide. Plus, he has other plans for the evening that involve offering his girl a diamond ring. However, although they love one another, both grow convinced they don’t belong in each other’s world.

Leo confidently sets her spirited inspirational romance during Chicago’s exuberant Jazz Age. She brings a full complement of 1920s-era slang to her portrait of this dynamic era, when investments were soaring, the latest fancy roadsters had heaters, and the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre was shaking up local news. The story skips along while also tackling serious issues, like women’s need for independence and the importance of judging people on their own merits.

Dot’s experience of religion is colored by her estranged preacher father’s hypocrisy, but with the help of Dorothy L. Sayers (who wrote books about theology in addition to detective stories -- that was new to me), she gets a new perspective on her spiritual life. The novel’s faith-based elements are lightly interwoven into the plot.

Dot’s and Charlie’s love story endures many ups and downs, and they sometimes make decisions that feel too hasty, but both are good people at heart. Since this is a romance, a happy outcome is assured, and subplots involving Charlie’s old flame, Italian gangsters, and the lead-up to Black Friday add color and drama to this sweet tale.

Jennifer Lamont Leo's Ain't Misbehavin' was published by Smitten Historical Romance in March. Thanks to the author and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for providing me with a review copy. There's also a tour-wide giveaway:

During the Blog Tour we will be giving away two signed copies and two eBooks of Ain’t Misbehavin’ AND an Ain’t Misbehavin’ Compact Mirror! To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 18th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US & Canada residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.

Ain't Misbehavin'


  1. Thanks so much for your wonderful review, Sarah! We really appreciate you hosting Jennifer's blog tour!

    HF Virtual Book Tours

    1. My pleasure - thanks for arranging it!