It's 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.
Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.
With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.
Just like Ruta Sepetys breathed life into that pair of opera glasses, she breathes life into her characters, and their story. She is so incredibly skilled at building a bridge from the present to the past that it is impossible to not join her in that love while reading Out of the Easy; impossible not to stand by Jo's side and root for her as she gives "those ol' wings a try." (Reviewed by Tamara Smith).
The Wall Street Journal
Street-smart, literary and compassionate… Atmospheric and assured…nicely paced novel.
Barnes and Noble
In this stunning standalone follow-up to her debut Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys spins another believable tale.
The New York Times
Sepetys writes with rawness and palpable unease...the stakes are momentous.
A page-turner that noir romance fans will gobble up. The legions of fans that Sepetys earned with her best-selling debut novel will all be lining up for this.
Starred Review. Readers will find Josie irresistible from the get-go ("The only reason I'd lift my skirt is to pull out my pistol and plug you," she tells a guy early on) and will devour the sultry mix of mystery, historical detail, and romance. Ages 14–up.
Starred Review. With a rich and realistic setting, a compelling and entertaining first-person narration, a colorful cast of memorable characters and an intriguing storyline, this is a surefire winner. Immensely satisfying.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Becky H OUT OF THE EASY by Ruta Sepetys OUT OF THE EASY tells the tale of Josie Moraine, the 17 year old daughter of a prostitute in 1950’s New Orleans. Sepetys gives a clear picture of the brothels, gangsters, and night life of the city while showing the life of a teen who is willing to... Read More
Rated of 5
by Diane S. Out of the Easy The strength in Sepetys language is in her character development and that her characters are for the most part extremely likable. The French Quarter in the 1950,s and a story based on an actual madame, in fact the house she actually lived in is... Read More
In an interview about her new book, Out of the Easy, Ruta Sepetys describes finding a different book, one that blew her away. She was out in the rain once and had ducked into a bookstore to keep from getting wet, when she saw the book The Last Madam: Life in the New Orleans Underworld by Christine Wiltz. She bought and read the book in one sitting. "The Last Madam" was Norma Wallace, a powerful madam who ran a brothel in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Sepetys was mesmerized. Years later, she was able to go to Wiltz's house, spend the day with her, and learn all about the New Orleans underworld that was home to Norma Wallace. She said she couldn't have written Out of the Easy without this book or Wiltz. Willie Woodley, the madam who runs the brothel in Sepetys' book is based on Norma Wallace.
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This is a story about men whose lives began in slavery, who weathered the Civil War; newly freed men who have to fight for their liberties, hoping the federal government will come to their aid. But after a deadly racial massacre, once-proud families are left to deal with the wreckage and find the strength to push on.
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