Autumn Topping | Nov 8, 2017 | 2
The Lost Girl of Astor Street by Stephanie Morrill – Mafia and Mystery Mingle in Chicago’s ‘Downton Abbey’
The Lost Girl of Astor Street Review
Society’s expectations and the expectations of Piper Sail are two very different things. An 18-year-old socialite, Piper is used to things going her way. Influencing this is the fact that she’s the only daughter of a high profile lawyer. Watching as her father replaces her mother with a new wife is hard for Piper though her brother, Nick seems unaffected. Piper’s family upheaval takes second place, however, when her best friend goes missing.
As the police search for Lydia and seek clues of her captor, Piper takes up amateur sleuthing. The deeper she searches, the darker the answers become.
Before I read The Lost Girl of Astor Street, there was a great deal of excitement surrounding the novel. The cover copy makes it sound like a trip to the “Jazz age” that wouldn’t disappoint. This is certainly an atmosphere the book represents well without letting itself be overwhelmed with the era. Instead, the plot focuses on intelligence and counterbalances with the frothiness of night club dancing and descriptive fashion. The atmosphere is excellent, and the reason for this is the talent of the author. Under Morrill’s direction, the “bigger picture” that is the mystery of the tale flourishes.
In many ways, The Lost Girl of Astor Street somehow “feels” a little bit like a fairy tale. Its roots are integrated into reality, but somewhere underneath the surface, the story secretly enchants us. Leading lady Piper Sail is also a force to be reckoned with. Those who like feisty, confident heroines will love her. She’s a Mary Crawley persona (“aloof” towards people she doesn’t like or trust) which is prevalent in her first-person POV, but her foil has always been Lydia. She’s the best friend who acts as Piper’s “better half,” the girl who reminds her to have humanity, to give everyone a chance.
What I find most interesting about this novel are the men in Piper’s life. From her father (who understands her sorrow, and strives so hard to make Piper’s life better) to her brother, the men present a great distraction. Even more interesting are the men in Piper’s life who could be love interests. Early on in the story, I wasn’t sure who would step up to be that man. From the (childhood) best friend who’s not on the same social standing, to her school crush, and later, the dreamy Italian detective, there are plenty of them. Despite this, I wouldn’t call this novel a “romance.”
The love story lingers and teases us, but doesn’t ever bloom into anything else. In this way, the story is brilliant. There are “just enough” elements to make us curious. When they don’t form into more, their presence and the flirtation of something makes us ask, “And? What happens now!?” It’s a grand skill and author who can accomplish this while also crafting a good story.
Anyone who likes historical fiction, no matter the genre, should give The Lost Girl of Astor Street a chance. Categorized as young adult, this doesn’t read like the typical YA novel in the way some books do because its historical setting matures its concept. Furthermore, this gives it the crossover appeal of “new adult” reading. ‘Lost Girl’ is a charming story that ends as it should, but the ending leaves the reader feeling as if there are unfinished edges. Because of this, we cannot help but wish there were so much more.
Content: Aside from some “tense” moments involving a kidnapping, abuse, and non-graphic discussions of murder, there’s little disturbing content.
Those who loved Downton Abbey (upstairs/downstairs relationships play a role) or A Little Princess will find a fascinating story inside these pages. Or if you prefer the mystery angle, Murdoch’s Mysteries and Houdini & Doyle would fit nicely with this story.
Will you be checking out The Lost Girl of Astor Street? Sound off below…
“Happiness in marriage is entirely a
matter of chance.”
*More 3 1/2!