A mouthy small town girl takes on big city life assisted by her "Spiritual guide through sin city" who pulls a Professor Higgins on Cherie while offering advice on single parenting and multiple affairs the heart...
Back in the Sixties while Motown hits filled the airwaves, naïve Jill Novak acknowledged her knack for choosing losers when boring Husband Number One vanished, leaving her to support their two-year-old. The perpetual daydreamer soon morphs from small town Jill to sophisticated big city Cherie, but a new name does not a better future bring. In 1969 Houston, Cherie encounters a rogue’s gallery of characters unlike those from her small Texas hometown; a drop-dead gorgeous transsexual, a snarling wannabe Mafia hit-man, a hairy cop who incorporates fondling girls into his job, and a ditzo neighbor whose desire for friendship borders on stalking. But it is two distinctly different men—a middle-age gregarious gambler and a twenty-something gruff intellectual—who jump on board her turbulent thirty-year roller coaster ride and journey with her into the 21st Century and womanhood. A tough and tender Texas-sized romance with a mild metaphysical slant, The Jewel Box highlights moments from the mystical, laid-back Age of Aquarius through the materialistic, high-speed Internet era. Music and references to the times/political climate convey the nations rocky terrain (and subsequent growth) parallel with that of the main character. This is a story of an engaging and open-hearted woman with no plan, making her way through life by fits and starts, and ultimately succeeding by turning out to be stronger than she thought.
The Jewel Box by C. Michelle McCarty
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I was recommended this book, so I thought I would give it a try.
Jill Novak is a divorced woman and a single mother of one child. She is a woman trying to make a living to keep herself and her child off the streets. She moves to the city of Houston and changes her name to Cherie. The rest, they say, is history! I really liked this character and enjoyed watching her grow throughout the book.
I must admit that I wasn't sure what I was getting into when I began reading this book. I was expecting a romance, but what I got instead was a whole lot more! I don't know if this is a fictional story, or whether these events really did take place, but this book reads like a memoir. There are some memorable characters that shape Cherie's life. I really liked Beau Duvale (the owner of The Jewel Box - the topless bar she worked in - and Cherie's mentor and friend). He is a charming man with a knack of hiding Jack of Clubs cards in strange places!
Gabriel O'Quinn is a taciturn, intense and charming man, but he is not perfect. I liked this character, but I wanted to give him a swift kick every so often - He can be a little blind to what's going on around him!
This is a story that covers over 20 years of Cherie's life, so there is a lot of history from 1969 to 2003 (political events, music and people) that peppers the book and shows the changing landscape of the years. I did find it interesting, but there was so much to digest, I felt my head would explode! However, this gives the story a "real" feel that made the book come to life.
C. Michelle McCarty is a debut author with a talent for writing a captivating story that I struggled to put down! Although some of the book felt a bit long in places, it felt like I was journeying through time! I look forward to following her career with interest.
I recommend this book if you love contemporary fiction or memoirs. - Lynn Worton
View all my reviews