Excerpt from Queen of the Underworld by Gail Godwin, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Queen of the Underworld

by Gail Godwin

Queen of the Underworld by Gail Godwin
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jan 2006, 352 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2007, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


"Emma, sweet, you're here at last! Even prettier than the picture your mother sent, which she didn't need to. I would have recognized you anywhere. Your ‘Emma-ness' is exactly the same."

Though Tess tended to flatter everybody, her remark gave me a jolt of elation. I made up my mind to adopt this concept of "Emma-ness" as a talisman against those loss-of-self times that flattened me. She still wore Joy, the perfume her husband had chosen for her. What did she have to do without in order to buy it for herself now?

We tussled over who would carry the heaviest of my suitcases. She prevailed, and dragged her way fetchingly ahead of me to a baby blue Cadillac DeVille. She had not lost her slim, curvaceous figure, my mother would be glad to hear. Or would she?

"You have to be wary of this humidity, Emma, until your blood has a chance to thin. Also, we've been having this spate of damp weather, which doesn't help, either." Tess was puffing by the time she allowed me to help her heft the big suitcase into a carpeted trunk that could have held three more sets of luggage. "This is Hector's new car. He insisted I take it to meet you."

"How generous of him." On leaving the train, I hadn't noticed the humidity, but as soon as Tess drew my attention to it I could feel it sapping my energy.

After ruining her life, Tess had gone to vocational college and was now nurse-assistant to Dr. Hector Rodriguez, a dental surgeon in Coral Gables.

"Oh, Hector is the most generous man in the world. His patients call him Doctor Magnánimo. He's always giving things away and he'll see you on the weekend if you're in pain, which is why I have to head back to the office after we get you settled at your hotel. He's starting a root canal this afternoon for a man who's in agony."

"Doctor Magnánimo," I echoed, trying to copy the sexy way she lightly tongued the back of her front teeth for the first n.

"See, Emma, you sound like a natural already! So many of their words are the same as ours, only with this little extra flourish on the end. You'll pick up Spanish in no time in Miami." (Tess pronounced it "My-AM-uh.") "There are lots of Cubans and more coming over all the time, professional, well-bred people like Hector and his wife, Asunción, although they left a while ago to get away from Batista. The ones arriving now are coming because Fidel has let them down. But you know all about that, you're going to be a reporter on the Star."

"As soon as they wrote to say I had the job, I subscribed to the paper. I've been reading it cover to cover since February, everything from Castro's land grabs to the big Miami society weddings."

Damn, blast, shit, hell, Emma. Why didn't you stop at Castro? But Tess neither flinched nor looked sad, as though she didn't recall herself being the star of one of those big society weddings. Her perfect Grecian profile went right on smiling as she steered serenely down a wide avenue, the skirt of her crisp uniform tugged up to reveal her shapely white-stockinged thighs.

"Hector said you must be just phenomenally smart, to land a job like this right out of college. Everybody wants to be a reporter for the Star. I said yes, you were, just like your mamma. I can't wait for you to meet Hector. And Asunción, too, of course."

Excerpted from Queen of the Underworld by Gail Godwin Copyright © 2006 by Gail Godwin. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Hunger
    Hunger
    by Roxane Gay
    In this penetrating and fearless memoir, author Roxane Gay discusses her battle with body acceptance...
  • Book Jacket: The Black Witch
    The Black Witch
    by Laurie Forest
    In The Black Witch, Laurie Forest introduces her readers to an immersive fantasy world where ...
  • Book Jacket: See What I Have Done
    See What I Have Done
    by Sarah Schmidt
    Sarah Schmidt's historical fictionalization of the Lizzie Borden story is a tsunami. From the ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
Cruel Beautiful World by Caroline Leavitt

Cruel Beautiful World examines the intricate, infinitesimal distance between seduction and love, loyalty and duty.

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Young Jane Young
    by Gabrielle Zevin

    From the author of The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry comes a novel that will have everyone talking.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Hame

Hame by Annalena McAfee

A rich, sultry novel about a young American fleeing a crumbling marriage for a remote Scottish island.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

A F Out O W

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.