Bethany reviews ‘December 1903: The Iroquois’ by Owen Keehnen (Published December 3rd, 2014 by Wilde City Press)
Why I read this book: I normally would not pick up a book set that far in the past but after reading the blurb I was intrigued.
We were given this book in exchange for an honest review.
Blurb: Chicago during the holiday season in 1903 was a bustling place. This is a tale of passion and love set against a backdrop of the tragic fire at the Iroquois Theatre which killed hundreds. As a love story it is the tale of two men from very different worlds who meet by chance on the street. Frankie is an actor working in the show Mr. Bluebeard which is currently playing at the Iroquois. Following a cast meeting, Frankie leaves the theater en route to his room at a local boarding house until the evening show. On the street he makes knowing eye contact with a handsome and dapper man. The two make small talk. The stranger introduces himself as Otto and in only a few moments the two head off to Frankie’s boarding house. Though Frankie knows absolutely nothing about Otto’s life outside of the room, they meet again the next night, and the next. As the cold winter wind howls outside the boardinghouse window, they make plans to run away and start a new life elsewhere. They agree to meet on the alley behind the theater that day after the matinee. Frankie has bought Otto a gallery ticket so that he can see him upon the stage. During that day’s matinee tragedy strikes and the tragic inferno consumes the theatre. Will one or the other or both lovers perish in the blaze? Can love even survive in the wake of such unspeakable tragedy.
WOW….just wow. For such a short book it packed one hell of a punch. It is roughly 50 pages but felt much longer than that. The imagery is fantastic, I felt like I was transported to 1903 and experienced what it was like in the theatre. When an author takes me to the theatre, well major props to them, because I LOVE LOVE LOVE the theatre. I have since I was little, to me it is a magical place and this book felt very magical to me.
Frankie was wonderful, when we get a character’s first person point of view I tend to feel like we lose the second MCs feelings. But that was not the case here. While Frankie is the point of view we get, I can feel Otto’s feelings and emotions just by how Frankie describes him. Frankie is a romantic at heart without even knowing he could be.
Otto, while he was a mystery of a man, it was hard to miss his devotion and want for Frankie. He has an air about him that says he knows what he wants and knows how to get it. But you can also see the loneliness he tries so very hard to hide.
Yes this book was short but I never had the feeling that I was missing anything. Now let me say that the ending is NOT what I would have wanted and if you know me you will know why. That said, it was beautifully done and while I wished it had turned out differently, it wouldn’t have had as powerful an impact on the story. All in all, this book was magically wonderful and I am lucky to have had the chance to read it.