However Long the Day by Justin Reed comes out this Tuesday, February 15, and I was fortunate to get an advanced copy. I spent the past few days reading it and really loved it!
I have to say it was not what I was expecting. The synopsis makes the novel sound a lot more serious and heavy than it actually is. When the synopsis was sent to me to see if I’d be interested in reading it, I thought it sounded interesting, but like I said I was imagining it would be a pretty serious book which would have been fine. It said it took place around World War I so sickness and war were going on in the world, and the main characters are dragged through the turbulence of social upheaval and corruption in Prohibition era Manhattan. So imagine my delight to find the book was fun, fast paced, and very entertaining!
As mentioned, the setting is World War I era New York City. The Spanish Flu is around and Irish immigrants continue to arrive to the city. Niall Donovan and Frederick Phillips are two very different people from two very different life situations, but could pass as twins. I believe they’re supposed to be around 18 or 19 years old if I remember correctly. Frederick is always up to something so when Niall arrives to deliver ice to the Phillips’ family home and Frederick realizes how similar they look he propositions Niall to switch places with him just for the night in exchange for a few hundred dollars. Niall, very recently arriving to America from Ireland and helping his uncle out with ice deliveries, is unsure of this proposal, but Frederick promises he would just have to stay in the bedroom so his parents think he’s home while they’re out and allow Frederick to go about his business without answering to his parents. Of course, nothing is as simple as it seems, nothing goes according to plan and the night is filled with running from one enemy to the next, unlikely alliances, stolen jewels, and sneaking around.
It reminded me of one of those Guy Ritchie style films where the subject matter can be serious but there’s a comic element to it. You know those scenes where a bad guy comes to confront the main character and then in barges another group of bad guys who were after the main character but they are also after the other bad guys so now everyone’s fighting and they forget about the main characters? It’s a lot like that!
Anyway, I know this review is vague about what goes on in the story, but I don’t want to give too much away. The one thing I will say is that I kept waiting for that moment where Frederick, the rich bratty kid, would sort of understand Niall and those who are not as well off as him. Whether that happens or not you’ll have to see for yourself. The chapters are very short so you end up reading a lot before you even realize it. Given that this is about 400 pages, it took me no time to read it which goes to show how entertaining the book is.
I want to end this post with a quote from the book that explains the title. Frederick, posing as Niall, explains to Paddy (Niall’s uncle) that he just wanted a night of freedom and Paddy says, “Well, however long the day, the evening will come, I’ll tell ya that much. It may be a proverb, but it’s true.” You can only avoid the truth or what you need to do for so long before you need to face it.
I highly recommend the book if you’re looking for an entertaining, historical fiction read.
*This book was sent to me complimentary, but all opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.*