Review published on July 2, 2017.
This book totally blew me away; it was nothing at all like I expected. By turns a love story set in 1919 Key West where a somewhat naïve Alicia Cortez arrives having been banished from the family home to work in what she believes is a “tea room”, which is in fact the term for a brothel. The reader is invited into Alicia’s day to day life, to see how she becomes integrated into the community with all its colourful characters and how she deals with the harsh challenges that life throws at her.
Then, fast forwarding to the present day of 1993, where a crime is being investigated. A crime that Alicia has committed. But why? What is her connection to the deceased? By the time you find out you will be cheering Alicia on.
The depth of the character that the author has managed to create in each individual within this story is spellbinding. The story is pitched against the harrowing decades of history of the Ku Klux Klan, prohibition and the segregation of race. It is the kind of book that once you start reading you become totally immersed in; you want to savour it slowly whilst at the same time finding yourself devouring it at speed.
Helen Franks 5/5
At First Light by Vanessa Lafaye
Orion 9781409155423 hbk Jun 2017