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A Betting Woman by Jenni L. Walsh
Genre: Historical Fiction | 304 Pages | Published 2021
Book Jacket Synopsis:
Born Simone Jules, reinvented as Eleanor Dumont, and largely remembered as Madame Moustache, A Betting Woman is a historical novel inspired by the tumultuous life, times, and loves of America’s first professional croupier of modern-day blackjack, bringing to life an intrepid and entrepreneurial real-life woman who lived on her own terms.
When her whole family dies in a fire, young Simone flees her grief and travels west to reinvent herself in burgeoning San Francisco. Down to her last dollar and facing some unsavory options, Simone quick-wits her way to a gambling table where she begins to deal vingt-et-un—modern-day blackjack. Word travels fast among of this French-speaking, card-playing novelty, and she begins to build a new life for herself.
Book Format & Source: Paperback gifted from Once Upon a Book Club Box. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Review & Thoughts: I received a copy of this book as a gift from the OUABCB reader program. I was surprised to find that I enjoyed this book because I’m not usually a big fan of historical fiction. This book was well written and I enjoyed following along on her journey. I didn’t realize until the ending author notes that the story was loosely based on a real person and some of the details of the storyline were loosely based on information the author was able to find on this woman.
She certainly led an adventurous yet sad life. Themes of loss, death, murder, race, racism, tragedy, gambling, entrepreneurship, the gold rush, saloons, and travel. Ultimately a story about control; having control over your life to life it the way you see fit and moving on after loss and starting fresh. The topic of race and racism really hit me; I still can’t believe there was a time when it was so dangerous for a white woman and a black man to fall in love and want to be with one another.
Fun fact: I received fun gifts that went with the story but I was so engrossed in the book that I completely forgot to open the gifts until I was done reading!
Favorite Quote: Without my family, I felt lost, misplaced, unsure of my own identity. But I knew one thing for certain: I was incapable of carrying on, as planned, without them.
Recommend for: fans of historical fiction and strong female characters with a bit of romance threaded into the story.
My Review Rating: ♥♥♥♥
Romance Steam Factor: PG
Books by Jenni L. Walsh