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Thursday Quotables – Innocence Lost

INNOCENCE LOST (Sherilyn Decter) Philadelphia, 1924. Maggie Barnes doesn't have much left. After the death of her husband, she finds herself all alone to care for her young son and look after their rundown house. When her son's friend disappears, Maggie suspects the worst. And local politicians and police don't seem to have any interest in an investigation. With a child's life on the line, Maggie takes the case and risks angering the enemy living right under her nose.

“You know, Peggy, watching you work, I’ve realized that Jack was right. You’re definitely not a Margaret. A Margaret wouldn’t have crawled under the sink. And a Margaret certainly wouldn’t have used that language when the wrench slipped.”

Peggy blushes.

“But, I don’t think a Peggy would have done that either. A Peggy would have waited until her young man could look after it. She would have wrung her hands and moaned about not being able to wash her hair or some such thing.” Peggy snaps her dish towel at him. “And a Peggy certainly wouldn’t have done that.”

Grinning, she snaps it again.

“No,” Frank continues, “I think that a modern, independent woman who fixes her own plumbing, looks after her son and a house full of lodgers, pays her bills, and still has time to glance in the mirror to fix her hair is definitely a…”

The towel dangles between the two of them.

“… definitely a Maggie.”

“Maggie?” She tries out the new name. “Maggie. I like it.” The towel becomes a flag; she waves it in the air. “Well, since I’m changing my life, maybe it’s time I changed my name again. Maggie Barnes, landlady.”

“In a Maggie, there’s a Margaret’s spine and a Peggy’s bounce. Yes, you’re definitely a Maggie.”

“A new name for my new life. Not father’s daughter or Jack’s wife. A person in my own right, steering my own course.” Maggie laughs delightedly. “Maggie Barnes. I think I’ll keep it.”

Thursday Quotables Meme

Innocence Lost is the first novel in the 5-book Bootleggers Chronicles, a historical mystery series set in 1920s Philadelphia. Although it is clearly the starting of a series, with all the required introductions of characters and situations, it is also a great novel on its own right, centered around the death of a young boy and the investigation going on – and not going on – around it. But don’t expect to get all the answers at the end. We’re invited for a long ride.

Sherilyn Decter is clearly and enthusiastic historian. Her 1920s Philadelphia is vivid and living and I loved that she focused on everyday life rather than the big events of that time. This story is mostly about normal people trying to get though another day, though it is also about how those people choose to go through that day. It’s about choices and responsibilities. Yes, in short Maggie is one of us, a very true person in a very realistic and relatable world.

As a first novel in a series, this focuses on the main character, Maggie, very much. There is a big cast of characters, but most of them remain in the background while Maggie takes centre stage. There is a strong feeling, though, that a few of them – even the ones that only ‘appear’ here – will grow into more than strong supporting characters in the novels to come. I like this building up, this expectation. I generally like stories with many characters because they create a sense of community, not just of place but also of culture and I think this is where this story is going.

There is also an element of supernatural and I enjoyed that. It’s very mild, to the point I wouldn’t say this is a ghost story. It’s more definitely a historical novel. But I like this element of fantasy that goes beyond the ‘normality’ of the rest of the story.

I can’t wait to read the rest of this series.


This post is part of Sherilyn Decter’s blog tour for the launch of her Bootleggers’ Chronicles series. There are many blogs on the tour, every one of them offering something different.

Check them out!

Innocence Lost by Sherilyn Decter Book Launch Blog Tour

Blog Tour Schedule

Friday, February 15
Review at Passages to the Past
Excerpt at Encouraging Words from the Tea Queen

Saturday, February 16
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Excerpt at Bookish Rantings
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Sunday, February 17
Excerpt at Maiden of the Pages
Guest Post at Jennifer Silverwood’s Blog

Monday, February 18
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Excerpt at Old Timey Books
Feature at What Is That Book About

Tuesday, February 19
Review at Peppermint Ph.D.
Review at Reader then Blogger

Wednesday, February 20
Interview at The Old Shelter
Guest Post at Let Them Read Books

Thursday, February 21
Review at Macsbooks
Review at The Old Shelter
Interview at Myths, Legends, Books & Coffee Pots

Friday, February 22
Review at A Book Geek
Review at Coffee and Ink
Review at CelticLady’s Reviews
Excerpt at Spellbound by History

In post is part of the Thursday Quotables meme. If you want to discover more about this meme and maybe take part in it, head over to Bookshelf Fantasies

INNOCENCE LOST (Sherilyn Decter) A story of self-discovery in Prohibition Era Philadelphia. Since the police seems unintereted in the murder of a young boy, Meggie decides she has to investigate herself (book review)


  • Shari Decter Hirst
    Posted February 21, 2019 at 11:02

    I’m so glad you enjoyed the book, Sarah. You’re review got me thinking about the community of characters and how sad I am to leave them and start a new series. As a writer who’s been at this longer than I, how do you do it? Say goodbye to old friends?

  • Margot Kinberg
    Posted February 21, 2019 at 13:38

    This does sound appealing, Sarah. I like that exchange between the characters – it’s quite witty. And it sounds as though it really captures the era.

  • Post Author
    Posted February 25, 2019 at 16:45

    It certainly does. It’s a very nice rendering of the 1920s. Very vivid.

  • Post Author
    Posted February 25, 2019 at 16:48

    It isn’t really a goodbuy, Shari. Our characters never really go away from our lives. They stay with us and the ‘new’ characters never replace the ‘old’ ones. They just join them.
    Moving to a new story is a natural process. Every story gives us something, and every characters is one more steps towards writing as we want it to be for us. It’s a good thing that our ‘community of characters’ grows ;-)

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