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Summary

2017 RITA Finalist

A rebellious cabaret owner and her stubborn chef pursue, life, liberty, and happiness in 1917 Harlem...and find love where they least expect it.

After spending half her life pretending to be something she’s not, performance is second nature for cabaret owner Bertha Hines. With the election drawing near and women’s voting rights on the ballot, Bertha decides to use her persuasive skills to push the men of New York City in the right direction.

Chef Amir Chowdhury jumped ship in New York to get a taste of the American Dream, only to discover he’s an unwanted ingredient. When ornery Amir reluctantly takes a job at The Cashmere, he thinks he’s hit the bottom of the barrel; however, working at the club reignites his dream of being a force for change. His boss, Bertha, ignites something else in him.

Bertha and Amir clash from the start, but her knowledge of politics and his knowledge of dance force them into a detente that fans the flames of latent desire. But Bertha has the vice squad on her tail, and news from home may end Amir’s dream before it comes to fruition. With their pasts and futures stacked against them, can Amir and Bertha hold on to their growing love?

Originally appeared in Daughters of A Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology.

©2016 Alyssa Cole (P)2018 Audible, Inc.

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  • Megan Robinson
  • 16-03-20

Interracial romance between fiesty black suffragette and Indian chef

Bertha is the feisty and unapologetically independent owner of a cabaret dinner club. Amir was working as a ship’s cook, but fell in love with New York and jumped ship. Both are frustrated with how selective the American Dream can be in reality. When Bertha hires Amir to work in the kitchen, he ends up coaching her on Kathak dance moves , as she’s come up with a sort of fusion modern dance routine utilizing bits of exotic dance forms. In exchange, she lets him sit in on the classes she offers her girls (the hostesses and dancers, many of whom are also sex workers to make ends meet) about human rights laws and why getting the vote matters. Of course there’s chemistry between Bertha and Amir, which grows as their friendship progresses. As an illegal immigrant POC, who’s come from colonialized India, Amir understands a lot of the issues Bertha has faced growing up black in the segregated US. There are some disturbing similarities between the anti immigrant sentiment in 1917 and the anti immigrant sentiment now, which makes this story very relevant. I really enjoyed watching Bertha and Amir work things out and highly recommend this book. The narrator is excellent.

2 people found this helpful

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  • talielovesbooks
  • 04-02-20

Great historical romance

This was an entertaining historic romance that had me wanting to do more research on the events outlined. The book centers around a Harlem cabaret club ran by Bertha Hines. She is a strong woman wanting to use her position as a cabaret owner to influence the upcoming vote granting woman the right to vote. The hero of the story is Amir Chowdhury, a chef and Bengali Muslim immigrant, who Bertha hires as a dishwasher. The romance is interesting for a number of reasons. First the historic and social discussions regarding the suffragette movement, segregation, subjugation of women and immigration are just fascinating. Secondly is this period piece where the woman is actually the one in a position of power. Narration on this one is very good. At times the accents would throw me as the Indian accent sounds a lot like an Irish brogue (which I think because of British occupation could be very accurate, it just took me by surprise).

1 person found this helpful

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  • M. Blakley
  • 31-08-20

Excellent book!!

I love this author because she has not disappointed me yet! This is a quick and fruitful listen on a lazy weekend day.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anya
  • 29-08-20

wonderful and hopeful

I loved the diversity of all the characters in this story. it felt very New York because of that. I loved how everyone was fighting for their place together. and I love that our main characters chose love over power. the only nitpick is that the accents weren't quite right, but that doesn't get in the way at all.

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  • Jade Box
  • 04-08-20

Gave me hope for so many thing

This felt like a beautiful dream, I wish it was longer because their was so may good moment. I just want to know more about their lifes.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Brown Worthy
  • 05-05-20

This book wasn't for me (you get it)

The book o didn't care for. Maybe someone else would appreciate it. Slow but narrow was Decent

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sheriebaby
  • 29-04-20

This is a good story but it's the wrong category

I enjoyed the story and the voice actors but when I found this book I was searching for African American romance

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kindle Customer
  • 15-02-20

Unique

I appreciate how unusual this story is. In the last few months Alyssa Cole has become one of my favorite authors. I've read 6 of her books or more. Really enjoy the African royal series, each one is so unique. This one because the male is south east Asian and the female is the madam of a burlesque house fighting for suffrage. Very unique circumstances well handled

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  • Dana Taylor
  • 03-02-20

Daring to Dream

A well written story set in Harlem circa 1920. Alyssa Cole touches on the cultural paradigm of racism and women’s rights and creates characters to root for. A short, enjoyable tale and good reminder of how far we’ve come and how far we still need to go.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • AudioBookHoe
  • 31-01-20

Loved it!

For such a short read, there was a lot going on and I loved it! Also loved that the hero wasn't white, which is everyone's go-to with interracial romance. I love two PoC leads in IR romance!