It’s 1921. Cleo Snow travels with her cousin, Neill Connolly, to Sago Island, Ga. to lessen the sadness of her fiance’s death in The Great War (later called World War I). He’d been missing, presumed killed in France, and his body recently returned home.
America’s victory celebration is in full swing. The Flapper Era has begun. Cleo is poised between her Victorian raising and post-war liberal ideas. Women got the vote in 1920. They work – Cleo’s a nurse. Hemlines are rising. Jargon is spicier. Songs are racier. The fox trot is the cat’s meow. Everyone smokes coffin nails. The great experiment, Prohibition, has ushered in an era of fascinating gangsters and illegal speakeasies. Drinking and dancing go together like bathtub gin and painted dolls.
On Sago Island Cleo meets fly-boy hero Graham Henry, the dazzling son of a steel magnate. They fall in love dancing to “Whispering”, the rage song of the year. Complicating their love-at-first-sight is Shafer and Josie Drake. Shafer is Graham’s cousin. He lost his liquor business and is about to lose his money-loving wife, Josie.
The morning after the dance, Josie is missing. A note she purportedly wrote says she’s leaving the island to get a divorce and marry Graham. Graham swears the note’s a lie and that he and Josie were nothing more than friends.
Where did Josie go and when? Did she return to New York where she danced in the Ziegfeld Follies? No one saw her leave the island. But Cleo knows Graham had nothing to do with her disappearance because Cleo was with him in the lighthouse the night Josie vanished. Cleo vows she will never confess to making love with a man she’s known only two days. But Will Graham compromise Cleo to clear himself?
Island resident, the enigmatic Doc Holliday, who claims to be related to the infamous gunslinger, is a veterinarian and a falconer. His falcon, Billy, captures Cleo’s severely crushed heart. Cleo captures Doc’s heart, but she’s reeling over her gullibility and her body’s occasional betrayal of her resolve. Will he win her with his darkly sensuous charm?
Everyone on Sago, it seems, has something to hide, even villagers who distill homemade hooch – and it all pivots around Josie and Graham. With her spirit firmed by deceit, Cleo vows to uncover the truth and keep her own secret..
WHISPERING is available from Amazon.
Award-winning author (The End Game) and retired journalist, Gerrie Ferris Finger, lives on the coast of Georgia with her husband, Alan, and standard poodle, Bogey.