I find that the best historical fictions do not try to impress with historical facts or show off how much (or sometimes how little) research the author has done. The best historical based novels are the ones that immerse you into the story and seamlessly transport you to the time period in such a way that you don’t realize what’s happened. Ruta Septys proved in Between Shades of Gray that she could capture the reader with a harrowing story and interesting characters – through Out of the Easy she proved her ability to do all that again and apply that seamless grace and effortlessness historical fiction novels should all possess.
Beautiful writing aside this novel seems to be brimming with hope despite the difficulties and challenges the characters face. Set in New Orleans’s French Quarter in the early 1950s, the story follows Jo and her struggles between “the easy life” and her dream: a small, prestigious college back east with a price tag worth balking at. This idea of being torn between two options follows through the book: torn between two guys, torn between jobs, torn between truth and lies, torn between futures. At times this juxtaposition might seem repetitive or done before in other novels but Septys creativity and knowledge of the time she set her novel makes this story more than just another “coming of age” novel. Overall another well done story by Septys, highly recommended!