The Magnificent Esme Wells

Esme Silver has always taken care of her charming ne’er-do-well father, Ike Silver, a small-time crook with dreams of making it big with Bugsy Siegel. Devoted to her daddy, Esme is often his "date" at the racetrack, where she amiably fetches the hot dogs while keeping an eye to the ground for any cast-off tickets that may be winners.

In awe of her mother, Dina Wells, Esme is more than happy to be the foil who gets the beautiful Dina into meetings and screen tests with some of Hollywood’s greats. When Ike gets an opportunity to move to Vegas—and, in what could at last be his big break, to help the man she knows as "Benny" open the Flamingo Hotel—life takes an unexpected turn for Esme. A stunner like her mother, the young girl catches the attention of Nate Stein, one of the Strip’s most powerful men.

Narrated by the twenty-year-old Esme, The Magnificent Esme Wells moves between pre–WWII Hollywood and postwar Las Vegas—a golden age when Jewish gangsters and movie moguls were often indistinguishable in looks and behavior. Esme’s voice—sharp, observant, and with a quiet, mordant wit—chronicles the rise and fall and further fall of her complicated parents, as well as her own painful reckoning with love and life. A coming-of-age story with a tinge of noir, and a tale that illuminates the promise and perils of the American dream and its dreamers, The Magnificent Esme Wells is immersive, moving, and compelling.

My Review

I just loved this coming of age story about Esme. Her family may not have been a conventional one but it was her family. Her father was a strong presence in her life. Again, he may not have won any "best father of the year" awards but he still loved Esme.

Esme got her beauty from her mother. This proved to be both a good thing and a bad thing. It attracted men like Nate. He had the whole mobster/gangster vibe about him. He is the type that could eat Esme up and spit her out but Esme showed strength until the end.

I was vibing with all of the characters. They really brought to life the story. Thus making it such an easy and enjoyable time reading this book. The Magnificent Esme Wells is a memorable book filled with engaging characters that will stick with you even after the last page has been read!


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