Joanna Shupe kicks off her new Uptown Girls series with a headstrong, feminist heroine and the smooth-talking lawyer who is hopelessly in love with her. With a backdrop of New York City on the cusp of the suffragette movement, this romance introduces readers to the strong-willed Greene sisters and their exploits to further women’s rights.
Marion “Mamie” Greene is an uptown princess with a penchant of getting into trouble. She and her sister, Florence, frequently sneak out to casinos where they use their winnings—and their spoils from pickpocketing oblivious rich men—to give back to communities in need. There’s just one problem: their father’s lawyer, Frank Tripp, who takes his duty to his well-paying clients very seriously.
Frank knows that if Mamie’s father finds out about her exploits, it’d be disastrous for all involved. As he consistently tries to keep her out of harm’s way or from ending up in the city’s gossip rags, their sniping banter heightens to an unbridled lust. But Frank has admired Mamie for years and is painfully aware of how out of reach she truly is. Not only is Mamie soon to be engaged, but Frank is also hiding the truth about his pedigree. He isn’t a Yale graduate, conveniently hailing from Chicago. Instead, he grew up in the slums of Five Points and escaped a life he wouldn’t wish on his worst enemy.
With Mamie’s upcoming engagement, a murder case, corrupt policemen and an unexpected family reunion, The Rogue of Fifth Avenue is bursting with tension, supplemented by complicated, emotional moments. It’s a page-turner with a fantastic heroine who is tired of living her life on other people’s terms. Mamie wants something more than marrying to uphold a family legacy or maintaining her status among New York’s elite. She’s brash, confident and serves as a wonderful foil to Frank’s subtlety and charming facade. Their romance leans more toward a slow burn, and it’s torturous in the best way possible as they fight their attraction at every opportunity.
Shupe shines when writing complex social and political dynamics, and she adds fascinating cultural layers to an already beautiful story. And if this first book in the Uptown Girls series is any indication, that same energy is going to be continued in the next book with Florence. Despite being the middle sister, she’s definitely the defiant ringleader of the group (with a penchant for reading bawdy books).
Don’t miss out on this wonderfully crafted historical romance. Shupe’s sense of place is unmatched, and she does a fine job creating heroines who exude strength in all manner of ways and heroes who know how and when to grovel.