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Cera's Place Kindle Edition
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Elizabeth McKenna's novel, Cera's Place, was presented to me as a story with a strong female character. I purchased the book expecting a mystery, and discovered instead a well-blended mix of genres. Civil War era San Francisco is the historical setting; the main venue is a western-style saloon in the tradition of Miss Kitty's Long Branch on the old Gunsmoke television series; and relationships develop into romantic union. For me, there is a murder that drives the novel into thriller territory.
Cera's Place has gambling tables and plenty of whisky, but no pay-as-you-go action in the upstairs rooms. Miss Cera does not condone the misuse of females in the profession of prostitution. She also abhors the kidnapping from the Orient of young women, who are then forced into San Francisco's world of prostitution. After Jake, a drifter fulfilling a wartime promise, shows up at the saloon, he and Cera engage in a vacillating game of escalating emotions.
The characters of Cera Cassidy and Jake Tanner are fully fleshed out in the course of the novel. The villains are easily recognizable. The supporting cast is lively, offering plenty of tension and misunderstanding. Yet, one side pulls together to right a horrific wrong, the increasing control of the city by men who judge their actions by the potential to make money.
It takes place in San Francisco in 1869. Having escaped a life of prostitution, salon owner Cera Cassidy offers redemption to any woman looking for honest work. At Cera's Place, men are offered a decent meal and an honest card game, but nothing more.
One of the men who stroll through her doors is Jake Tanner, an ex-soldier haunted by war with one last mission – to fulfill a friend’s dying wish. His mission is accomplished almost immediately so when a distraught Chinese girl arrives with a shocking tale of murder, kidnapping, and prostitution he embroils himself in Cera’s search for justice despite her objections.
This is a debut novel for Elizabeth McKenna. Her portrayal of time and place are excellent. It’s much more than an ex-hooker with a heart story, it brings to life a time in history when a woman’s options were limited and her civil rights left to the whims of men. McKenna’s supporting characters are memorable and are often the glue that holds the story together.
I struggled with the main characters, Jake and Cera. Their relationship was uneven. It didn’t unfold but jerked forward like a car with a bad clutch. They seemed underdeveloped, especially in comparison with the other supporting characters.
But Ms. McKenna is an excellent writer and I am looking forward to new offerings from her in the future.
Here we go, this book had me in the beginning with it's characters and storyline, until some of the scenes went just a little to far in the sexual content. At the very beginning it was not that bad and it actually grabbed my attention due to the finish content of it. The character Jake Tanner has a harsh scared demeanor about him.
The main character, Cera is one lady that I wouldn't want to mess with. But given the time, place and situations within the book you get to know why she is the way she is. The many other characters within these pages are some that you want to hug and some slap.
There is heart ache, mystery, love, anger, battles that you will have to turn the page to understand them all. Author Elizabeth McKenna's writing has you all tangled up with in her fictional but so life like situations that you will have a hard time putting down.
I am not going any further as to the book, do not want to give it away. As I said above the sexual content of the book is one thing that I could have done with out. Some of the parts were way to over done for me as to the story.
So I will leave it up to you to read for yourself and make your own decision.
But for my review, I am giving this book a Breath of Life rating of:
Four Clock Rating!!!
Disclosure: I received this book in exchange for my review. The opinions are mine. And your opinion may differ.
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