Title: Olympus Nights on the Square: Book 2 Author: Vanda Genre: Historical Romance Book Blurb: What if your love was illegal? What would you do? It’s 1945 and Juliana wants to be a star and she has the singing voice to do it. Alice (Al) is determined to make Juliana into the star she wants to be. The worst thing that could happen to Juliana is to be discovered as gay. The worst thing that could happen to Al is to lose Juliana. Al must guard their secret at all costs. Will the gossip columnists and the new laws destroy them? Excerpt: May 1945
WHEN THE GERMANS surrendered in May of ’45 we knew the war was almost over. Juliana and I went to Times Square to watch the lights return. I wore a simple day dress. I couldn’t wear trousers outside my apartment anymore. Everything was going back to the way it used to be, but wearing dresses … I just felt funny in them, like they weren’t quite me. I didn’t remember feeling that way before the war, but now.... Juliana looked gorgeously feminine as usual, in her white cotton dress with the blue flowers splashed across it. She always knew exactly the right thing to wear for looking like herself. We still couldn’t get nylons, but the air felt cool against our bare legs, so it was okay. The square was choking with people. It was an ordinary, dark night with all the lights dimmed or off. Hundreds of us waited for them to come back on after they’d been off for more than three years. Juliana and I stood sandwiched between a huge Marine with tattoos on his hands, and a broad GI with a smile filled with too many teeth. We couldn’t move, but it didn’t matter. An electric charge ran through the crowd, uniting us. It seemed as though we waited forever that night. Then—one by one the lights popped on. There was the Four Roses ad, and the Pepsi Cola ad in red, white and blue, and the lights on storefronts, hotels, movie theaters, Broadway theaters. The whole world was suddenly ablaze, making the night into day. It was the light Manhattan was famous for but had been snuffed out for too long a time. A group of foreign soldiers broke into “God Bless America.” Army hats and cheers flew into the air. Sailors and GIs pulled women into their arms and kissed them. Hitler was dead and his Nazis defeated. The United States of America was the greatest country in the whole world! The big Marine with tattooed hands grabbed me and kissed me on the lips. I spun out of his arms toward Juliana who’d just been released by her own GI. We ran toward each other filled with love and freedom and … stopped. We couldn’t do that.
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What makes your featured book a must-read?
"The combination of warmth, fun, and smoldering passion with the dark, prejudice-ridden historical context makes Vanda Writer's OLYMPUS NIGHTS ON THE SQUARE a tale not to be missed." (Ben Miller-Jarvest, IndieReader)
"Al herself is growing in every chapter, and changes from terrified girl with an impossible dream, to a businesswoman who has earned the grudging respect of many powerful men.... We're treated to historical glimpses of stars, such as Walter Winchell, Liberace, and Mayor O'Dwyer; and squirm with Max, Al's mentor and ally and Marty, a former soldier and aspiring actor as they struggle to be their true selves." (Chanticleer Book Reviews)
"The novel gives us a panoramic view of the times seen through the eyes of her (Vanda's) characters. I found it all fascinating. Vanda is also a playwright and dialogue drives her novels- making for interesting and engaging writing." (Janet Mason, International LGBTQ radio syndicate, This Way Out.)
An exciting, sometimes heart wrenching adventure in post-war NYC clubland…a challenging backdrop of the period’s homophobia. A spot-on historic portrayal. Phillip Crawford, Jr., author of The Mafia and the Gays.)
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Vanda wrote her first novel in eighth grade, with encouragement from her teacher, Mr. James Evers, who said, "My children will read your words." She went on to win an Edward Albee Fellowship and was a finalist for the National Lambda Literary Award. Vanda is currently writing a series of novels about LGBT modern history that is not for LGBT folks only. These are books about people surviving and rising though some very difficult and dark days. However, they are not gloomy books. The characters are filled with spirit and lots of humor. The same characters mature and change throughout each book. Each of these books can be read as a standalone.
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