WHERE THE NIGHT NEVER ENDS by Annette Oppenlander

Genre: Historical Fiction/Historical Romance
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About the Book

A chance encounter between a penniless young woman in search of her missing brother and a hobo burdened with a big secret takes both on a journey to Chicago’s glamorous yet crime-ridden 1920s, where prostitution, bootlegging, and corruption rule. Separated by fate and reunited by chance, WHERE THE NIGHT NEVER ENDS is an unforgettable tale of courage and perseverance, a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds.

When feisty and headstrong Samantha Bruno loses her mother in a freak accident, she decides to search for her brother, Angelo, who didn’t return from a business trip to Chicago seven months earlier. It is the year 1924, the height of prohibition, and the city of Cincinnati is in the midst of a deep recession. Narrowly escaping a band of thugs, Sam meets Paul, a mysterious hobo with a big secret. Together they embark on a harrowing journey to Chicago, where Al Capone is building an empire.

Just when it seems their friendship is blossoming into something more, a raid tears Sam and Paul apart. Sam is sold into a brothel while Paul is arrested. Trapped without money and desperate to escape her new profession, Sam realizes she is on her own. Not only to free herself and search for her brother among Chicago’s three million residents, but also to do the impossible–find Paul.

During his hearing, Paul learns that his father, a wealthy Chicago inventor, is on his deathbed. The judge, an old family friend, gives Paul an ultimatum. See your father or go to jail. Reluctantly, Paul returns home, where he finds that his decision to run away seven years earlier was based on a terrible mistake.

Read an Excerpt

December 8, 1924
Sam

When I was little, I believed all people lived in families—warm spaces full of laughter and the rich aroma of pasta sauce bubbling on the stove. I thought I’d stay cocooned forever in the knowledge my father, Luca Bruno, would take me every day to the market or the Italian grocer, my hand securely tucked into his as he stopped to chat with shop owners and neighbors.

That was when we lived in a two-room flat overlooking a garden plot, Papa growing tomatoes large as baseballs against the sun-warmed brick walls of our home and Mamma welcoming neighbors to homemade Apfelstreusel on Sunday afternoons.

It was a memory I didn’t allow myself often because the joy I felt was always snuffed out by the realization I’d never experience such happiness again. These days I preferred to keep my dreams locked up as securely as the rich hide gold coins in a bank vault.

It was easier that way.

The rap on the door was quick and hard—demanding.

Alarmed, I looked at my mother, ignoring the dread rearing up inside my belly. We never had visitors, yet I realized who it was before he spoke.

“Open up. I know you’re in there.”

Mamma shook her head, her eyes, normally the light blue of an early spring sky, clouded with fear. I knew it well. Lately, my mother was afraid of one thing or another all the time.

“I’m going to kick in the door and you’ll pay for it,” the voice outside threatened.

I slowly straightened and took a step toward the door. Then another.

“Samantha!” Mamma’s voice trembled and she shook her head. My feet stubbornly continued toward the door.

When had things changed?

I didn’t remember a day, only Mamma’s expression the weeks after my brother, Angelo, didn’t return. Her eyes had filled with something less alive—a darkening of features, a weariness that extended to everything she touched.

It was as if Mamma’s chest was filled with two animals. One was a fierce lion that roared and fought. It protected. The other was a timid, washed-out mouse, yielding and afraid. Insignificant. In the beginning after Papa was lost, the lion had taken care of Angelo and me. Found smaller quarters we could afford. Visited rich folks to ask for washing jobs. Negotiated. Bought food at the grocer.

I loved Mamma, but I hated the mouse.

I sped up and yanked open the door just as the massive bulk of Mr. Talbott rushed forward. Taken by surprise, he half stumbled, half fell into the room, coming to a stop in front of the ironing board Mamma cowered behind. I bit my lips to hide a smirk. Too bad the landlord hadn’t fallen on his face.

“Mrs. Bruno.” Talbott, nostrils flared and cheeks reddened, rose to his impressive height once more. “You know why I’m here. Almost three months behind.” He gave our shabby room a once over before his deep-set eyes came to rest on me. “I need at least half of the ten dollars you owe or you’ve got to move out.” He extended a palm, each of his fingers the size of a small sausage.

My Review

When it comes to historical fiction/romance, the Roaring 20s is one of my favorite time periods. There aren’t a lot of books out there set in this era, especially those that include any type of romance. That said, this book is definitely more about the time period and less about the romance.

I enjoyed the wonderful attention to time period detail. It evoked a number of great memories of my own research for the twenties. I liked the idea of eluding to real-life characters and situations. What didn’t work for me was the back-and-forth switch in narration. One chapter Samantha, the next Paul. I found it created some uneven breaks in the story line where I wanted more from the one character and wasn’t quite ready to shift to the other.

However, if you’re a fan of period stories, Where The Night Never Ends is a perfect example of the Roaring Twenties. You will definitely enjoy this story.

About the Author

Annette Oppenlander is an award-winning writer, literary coach and educator. As a bestselling historical novelist, Oppenlander is known for her authentic characters and stories based on true events, coming alive in well-researched settings. Having lived in Germany the first half of her life and the second half in various parts in the U.S., Oppenlander inspires readers by illuminating story questions as relevant today as they were in the past.

Oppenlander’s bestselling true WWII story, Surviving the Fatherland, won multiple awards, including the 2017 U.S. National Indie Excellence Award. Her historical time-travel trilogy, Escape from the Past, takes readers to the German Middle Ages and the Wild West. Uniquely, Oppenlander weaves actual historical figures and events into her plots, giving readers a flavor of true history while enjoying a good story. Oppenlander shares her knowledge through writing workshops at colleges, libraries, festivals and schools. She also offers vivid presentations and author visits. The mother of fraternal twins and a son, she recently returned to her home, Solingen, Germany where she lives with her husband and old mutt, Mocha.

Annette’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest

A Giveaway

Author Annette Oppenlander will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter during the tour.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Tour

April 25: Stormy Nights Reviewing and Bloggin’
April 25: LoveRomanceReads

May 2: Notes From a Romantic’s Heart
May 2: The Reading Addict

May 9: Fabulous and Brunette
May 9: Iron Canuck
May 9: Sharing Links and Wisdom

May 16: Locks, Hooks and Books
May 16: Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

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It has been my pleasure hosting this stop on Annette’s tour.

Nancy

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4 Responses to WHERE THE NIGHT NEVER ENDS by Annette Oppenlander

  1. Thank you so much for hosting and reviewing, Nancy! I’ll be around today in case there are any questions. All the best, Annette

  2. Victoria says:

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Bernard Wallace says:

    Who is your favorite author currently still writing?

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