Louise HareSep 18, 2023
Harlem After Midnight
Berkley Books 2023
After a tumultuous journey across the Atlantic (detailed in last year’s Miss Aldridge Regrets), Lena Aldridge has reached New York City only to discover that the Broadway show that lured her away from London will not run. While waiting to board a ship home, she accepts an invitation to stay with the Linfields, longtime friends of Will Goodman, the musician Lena came to trust on the passage over. She hopes to learn more about Will and explore the possibilities of a warmer relationship—although his job on the Queen Mary means, Lena assumes, that they can never be together as a couple. She also seeks to find out more about her own father, who died less than a year before this novel opens in 1936 but originally hailed from New York—or so he told Lena.
As this main narrative unfolds, it is interspersed with two others. One involves a woman who falls from a third-story window in Harlem eight days after Lena’s arrival. The second, set in 1908–1909, gradually reveals the events that convinced Lena’s father, Alfred, to leave the United States without looking back.
The rapid shifts in time require a nimble reader, but each story is compelling in its own terms. And by the time we reach the end, all the loose threads have been tied up, and we eagerly wait to find out what will happen next.
Louise Hare, a London-based writer, is the author of This Lovely City, Miss Aldridge Regrets, and Harlem After Midnight (Berkley Books, 2023).
C. P. Lesley is the author of two historical fiction series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible and three other novels. Her latest book, Song of the Storyteller, appeared in January 2023.