By the time they got to high school Rose and Dax had been in love for years but when they finally kissed everything changed. Banished to a small town called Half Moon Bay, Rose toils for years until she escapes to become the featured singer in the local speakeasy.
Dax is sent off to live with her married sister, where she builds her own life as a carpenter. After a terrible accident, Dax finds herself sent off again and running a restaurant in Half Moon Bay. Before long the women find each other, but they’ve both changed a lot since their school years. Can they find a way back to love?
Dax and Rose are quickly set up as teenagers who know they’re in love and have a lifetime to be together. A lot of issues are dealt with, like Rose’s stutter and Dax’s butch demeanor. Despite the quick introduction, I felt I knew them really well by the time they’re separated by a cruel world and in a day of limited communications. I found myself anticipating their reunion, and the author made me wait a long while, but it was worth it for the extra time spent with each of them as they matured into powerful women.
Just as quickly the author gives each of the women enormous obstacles to overcome beyond being separated from their soulmate. Following their travails creates a close bond with the reader that makes their further adventures after they reunite all the sweeter. Something I didn’t anticipate was how well the author sets up the question of whether they can return to love. It was not a given, and created yet another realistic obstacle for them.
The narrator’s breezy and dramatic reading enhances a book I already like very much. I never got the impression the narrator is reading at me, but bringing me into the world of the novel. All the voices sound different, and fit the personality of the character. Mae, Dax’s sister, has a sweet and feminine sound that reflects her overall pleasant personality as well as her love for her sister. Dax’s voice is an interesting choice that took a minute to grow on me, but once it did I found it suited her very well. It’s a little rough, and not typical for a woman which makes a lot of sense considering the character.
Pros And My Favourite Parts
There were so many times I was on pins and needles, wondering how Dax and Rose were going to get themselves out of whatever jam they were in at the moment. I really like how the author creates suspense again and again and uses their reactions to each difficulty to build deep characters. That I had to wait so long to even see the women in the same place was as pleasantly surprising as how well I got to know them along the way and it made the reunion super sweet.
The worldbuilding is solid and I was happy to find that Devil’s Slide and Half Moon Bay are real places. Seeing images of the perilous cliffs and gorgeous ocean views enhanced my reading experience, which was over in two marathon sessions. Prohibition was a period of American history that saw a huge spike in the power of gangsters. Pitting Dax and Rose against that kind of organized and vicious danger is yet another way of showing their strength and making their eventual reunion more enjoyable.
Supporting characters add a lot to the flavor of the story. Dax and Rose each find solid found family and support from unlikely places. The bad guys are really dangerous and easy to hate. My only quibble is the sudden and maddening cliffhanger conclusion making me wait for the next part of their story, which I can hardly wait to read.
There are gangsters, so there is the threat of violence and actual violence. There are also mothers with issues about having a lesbian daughter.
Dax and Rose are in love for years until they’re found out and forcibly separated by their parents. Rose is put into hard labor at a cousin’s restaurant in Half Moon Bay until she escapes to become the featured singer at a local speakeasy. Dax is sent to live with her sister and makes a living as a carpenter. They never forget each other, but life goes on and they grow into adults with their own lives. A terrible incident forces Dax into running a restaurant in Half Moon Bay. They find each other after nine long years, but is it too late for them to come together again?
Dax and Rose go through a lot in their early lives and the author builds a wonderfully involved world inhabited by great and loving friends and family as well as dangerous adversaries. Their profound love and the dangerous times they live in creates a great balance of sweetness and suspense. I found myself totally lost for hours in their deeply drawn world and I’m really looking forward to reading the next installment when it comes out.
Excerpt from Devil’s Slide by Stacy Lynn Miller
“You made my heart stop.”
Rose’s gaze dropped to the level of Dax’s lips, breathing life into her dreams. Rose leaned in, pressing their lips together into a soft kiss.
Each muscle relaxed in succession, starting from Dax’s chest. Her long exhale released every expectation. Her inhale tingled both lungs with the savory scent of Rose. No drug store perfume. No earthy soap or shampoo. Only her. A moan escaped. Then another. Both were hers, and both were Rose’s. One kiss turned into two. Then three. Then four. Dax could do this forever, but an ache formed in each arm from holding up her rain-soaked blazer.
Dax pulled back reluctantly and adjusted their makeshift shelter to relieve the crick in her arms. The sparkle in Rose’s eyes had transformed into something Dax had only seen on the movie screen. They seemed to smile and wrap Dax in their warmth at the same time.
“Remember when we were fourteen, and we fantasized about falling in love with someone?” Dax asked.
“I love you, Rose.”
“I love you too.” But for a slight grin, Rose’s expression remained unchanged. Either she didn’t understand the meaning of Dax’s confession, or she didn’t return the feelings. Dax’s instinct was to not press her luck, but the way Rose’s body felt against hers demanded otherwise.
“I mean, I really love you. You’re my fantasy.”
Rose’s grin slowly expanded until her teeth showed. Then she said the sweetest three words Dax had ever heard. “You’re mine too.”
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Series: The Speakeasy Series
The Devil’s Slide
Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 978-1-64247-446-6
Publisher: Bella Books
Audiobook Publisher: Tantor Audio
Narrator: Lori Prince
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