Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: Midnight on Julia Street

Midnight on Julia Street by Ciji Ware

Publication Date: August 2011
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: Paperback, 512pp
ISBN-13: 9781402222726

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks)

Purchase: Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Ciji Ware on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from Midnight on Julia Street



Feisty reporter Corlis McCullough isn't afraid to push boundaries in the name of journalistic integrity. When passion for the truth lands her in New Orleans in need of a job, an assignment at a TV station pits her against her old college nemesis, King Duvallon.

the sultry streets of the French Quarter, the glamorous Garden District, derelict riverfront cotton warehouses, and gritty back alleys come alive as the reporter's story inexplicably slips between the nineteenth century and today. A long-forgotten drama of blackmail, swindles, and a love affair that is still changing lives leaves Corlis and King wondering if their burgeoning, unholy attraction will render them pawns in a matrix of mystery and deceit.

Author Ciji Ware's book, Midnight on Julia Street is a time slip novel set in present day New Orleans. Fans of Ware's sophisticated writing style will love the rich historical detail she put into this novel, describing the culture and political climate of both present and past New Orleans. With a complex story line, intriguing characters and an understated love story this reissue is sure to find a budding new audience within and without historical fiction circles.

Reporter Corlis McCullough has family ties to New Orleans but a job at a local TV station is what brings her back to the area. When she airs the dirty laundry of some of the towns elite, she is fired for her trouble. But, it also re-introduces her to a man from her past, Kingsbury Duvallon, arch-nemesis from her UCLA days. King has come a long way and is now a architecture professor and preservationist. Finding themselves on opposite sides once again doesn't seem to hinder their growing attraction for each other. When Corlis finds herself having visions from the past that lead her into some startling conclusions about how some New Orleans families are interrelated, it becomes obvious that the past a lot to do with Corlis' present.

When I think of Ciji Ware and her writing the first words that come to mind are intelligent and sophisticated. Her writing is very elegant and rich. Her storyline's are complex and inventive. She uses vignettes or time slip moments to take the reader between era's with ease and confidence. In my humble estimation she is one of greats in historical fiction and Midnight on Julia Street is an example of her writing prowess.

This novel is set in New Orleans, which is perfect for a time slip because there is so much history and magic associated with it. Ware is able to convey to the reader what Corlis is seeing and make it believable, giving it an almost supernatural appeal. I liked the fact that Ware allows the reader to see into the past with such clarity. Her descriptions of the New Orleans of the past are vivid and realistic. This aspect of the book was very well written and kept me interested as a reader. I was just as intrigued in what was happening in the 1830's as I was in the present day part of the story. It's not time travel necessarily but it's close. The reader can definitely hear the music floating on the breeze!

Ware's characters in Midnight on Julia Street are complex and full of mystery. Corlis is a very determined woman. She is a journalist in the true sense of the word. She doesn't let her own feelings about the subject get in the way of reporting the story, but that sometimes ruffles a few feathers along the way. Ware portrays her as a strong woman, with intelligence and that embedded reporters curiosity. King is somewhat different. He obviously comes from an old New Orleans family. He has connections. He attended UCLA and was kicked out of school because of Corlis, but he is still able to become a architecture professor with a penchant for old historic buildings. Though both characters have agenda's of their own in this book their attraction to each other is passionate and a bit unorthodox since they are on opposite sides of an old issue. I thought Ware did a fantastic job of letting readers get to know these characters and find something in them that resonated with them. I liked them both and couldn't wait to find out what happened to them next.

I recommend this one to readers who are looking for a more substantial read. At just over 500 pages, it might seem too big, but it's definitely worth your time. Ware's ability to draw the reader in and hold their interest to the very end is amazing! The story is complex and tackles some deep seated issues in New Orleans past. I think romance readers as well as historical fiction fans will be impressed with this one... It's a must read!

Midnight on Julia Street is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Ciji Ware is an author of both fiction and non-fiction, an Emmy award winning television producer, journalist, sought-after event speaker, and radio host. A graduate of Harvard in History, she lives in the San Francisco Bay area.


Anne said...

This sounds great- I would love to read a book set in New Orleans. This one is going on my TBR list- thanks for the great review!

holdenj said...

Wow, sounds like a great book! I like the setting too and the premise of time slipping back and forth.