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Review: Sin In the Second City, by Karen Abbott

Sin In the Second City, by Karen Abbott is the story of the two Everleigh sisters, Ada and Minna, who came to Chicage in 1899 to begin their own high-class brothel, one of the most notorious in the Levee district of the city. The sisters come to life as they encounter a variety of adversaries: Vic Shaw, the rival madam who tried, unsuccessfully for a while, to bring the sisters down; the Weiss brothers, wo ran the brothel next door; and most of all the reformers who tried to shut the brothels down. Sin In the Second City takes place in an era when Chicago, and the United States, were changing.

Abbott brings the past to life, and sometimes I kept forgetting that this isn't fiction. The Everleigh sisters were a complicated pair of women, who actually hated men; they simply learned how to handle them. I absolutely adored this book. As a blurb on the back of the book by Sarah Gruen, author of Water for Elephants (which I admit I haven't read), says, "Sex, opulence, murder--what's not to love?"

Also reviewed by: Booking Mama, Bookslut, A High and Hidden Place

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