I received November Road in exchange for an honest review, via TLC Book Tours. With that in mind, lets get into the review, shall we?
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November Road by Lou Berney
Publisher: William Morrow (October 9, 2018)
Print Length: 336 pages
Audiobook Length: 9 hrs and 22 mins
Narrator: Johnathan McClain
Frank Guidry’s luck has finally run out.
A loyal street lieutenant to New Orleans’ mob boss Carlos Marcello, Guidry has learned that everybody is expendable. But now it’s his turn—he knows too much about the crime of the century: the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Within hours of JFK’s murder, everyone with ties to Marcello is turning up dead, and Guidry suspects he’s next: he was in Dallas on an errand for the boss less than two weeks before the president was shot. With few good options, Guidry hits the road to Las Vegas, to see an old associate—a dangerous man who hates Marcello enough to help Guidry vanish.
Guidry knows that the first rule of running is “don’t stop,” but when he sees a beautiful housewife on the side of the road with a broken-down car, two little daughters and a dog in the back seat, he sees the perfect disguise to cover his tracks from the hit men on his tail. Posing as an insurance man, Guidry offers to help Charlotte reach her destination, California. If she accompanies him to Vegas, he can help her get a new car.
For her, it’s more than a car— it’s an escape. She’s on the run too, from a stifling existence in small-town Oklahoma and a kindly husband who’s a hopeless drunk.
It’s an American story: two strangers meet to share the open road west, a dream, a hope—and find each other on the way.
November Road is a historical fiction novel that tells the story of Frank Guidry and Charlotte Roy, two characters leading vastly different lives that are brought together following the assassination of J.F.K..
Berney was absolutely masterful when it came time for him to make me invested in the more contemporary lives of his characters. As a reader who tends to stick with fantasy, I do find the mundane lives of characters to be rather boring, but both Frank and Charlotte’s stories were so engaging. I guess my two gripes with the writing of the novel are how the synopsis makes it seem like the assassination of the president was going to be of the upmost importance and how fast I found my way to the book’s end. When reading something deemed ‘historical fiction’ I do expect the history to play towards the plot of the novel. While Berney presents a was he, was he not involved in the assassination as far as his character of Frank is concerned, I found the events of November 22, 1963 to be more of an after thought. Also, the books ending was rather abrupt, though I did really enjoy being able to see Charlotte’s girls grow up and how the events of the novel shaped their lives.
As I said previously, I really enjoyed reading about both of Berney’s main characters. Frank was clearly the more interesting of the two, given his ties, or sometimes involvement, in the conspiracy of the J.F.K. assassinations. He was a thug, sure, but in the end it can be argued that he was just doing his job. I was surprised that I also enjoyed Charlotte’s character. Through out the novel she goes through a metamorphosis, starting with leaving her husband and ending with the epilogue of the book. She was warm but not condescending towards her young children, and met every obstacle with an eager problem solving attitude.
Overall Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
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And those are my thoughts on November Road by Lou Berney. Have any historical fiction recommendations you think I should check out? Leave them as a comment below and help my TBR grow.