About the Book
A sweeping Jazz Age tale of regret, ambition, and redemption inspired by true events, including the Great Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935 and Josephine Baker’s 1925 Paris debut in Le Revue Nègre.
1924. May Marshall is determined to spend the dog days of summer in self-imposed exile at her father’s farm in Keswick, Virginia. Following a naive dalliance that led to heartbreak and her expulsion from Mary Baldwin College, May returns home with a shameful secret only to find her father’s orchard is now the site of a lucrative moonshining enterprise. Despite warnings from the one man she trusts—her childhood friend Byrd—she joins her father’s illegal business. When authorities close in and her father, Henry, is arrested, May goes on the run.
May arrives in New York City, determined to reinvent herself as May Valentine and succeed on her own terms, following her mother’s footsteps as a costume designer. The Jazz Age city glitters with both opportunity and the darker temptations of cocaine and nightlife. From a start mending sheets at the famed Biltmore Hotel, May falls into a position designing costumes for a newly formed troupe of African American entertainers bound for Paris. Reveling in her good fortune, May will do anything for the chance to go abroad, and the lines between right and wrong begin to blur. When Byrd shows up in New York, intent upon taking May back home, she pushes him, and her past, away.
In Paris, May’s run of luck comes to a screeching halt, spiraling her into darkness as she unravels a painful secret about her past. May must make a choice: surrender to failure and addiction, or face the truth and make amends to those she has wronged. But first, she must find self-forgiveness before she can try to reclaim what her heart craves most.
Praise for Etiquette for Runaways
‘Exquisitely written, Liza Nash Taylor’s Etiquette for Runaways is a powerful tale of seeking absolution and pursuing dreams. It’s a magnificent, special novel that I didn’t want to end.” –Alan Hlad, international bestselling author of The Long Flight Home
‘Fasten your seatbelts, for Etiquette for Runaways is an effervescent and completely unpredictable ride from Virginia to New York to Paris with brave and complicated May Marshall. Trust me, this is one fabulous book that will keep you turning pages.” –Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author of Girls of Summer
‘This is a great coming-of-age novel about life lessons, loyalty, and forgiveness in a fast-spinning, glittering world full of temptation and opportunity. Beautifully done!” — Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything
Not only is this an absolutely stunning book, but it is also a gorgeous story! I read this year (or maybe last year? I don’t know, what even is time anymore?) a story based off of Josephine Baker so I was really excited to get back to the time period and the glitz and the glamour that went along with it. And, as we often see with the glamorous lifestyle, there is a bit of darkness mixed into this story as well.
Where do I even begin though? This was just one of those books that I only need to take one look at and instantly know that I would be enamored by it. It just contains so many things that I love reading about and it was done so perfectly. And to top it off it follows a wonderfully strong female who isn’t willing to back down from a challenge. So, even more my type of book.
The best part of this book for me is that it refuses to stray away from the difficult topics. While this time period is often almost fetishized there were plenty of struggles that the people dealt with hidden behind these extravagant parties and lifestyles. Liza Nash Taylor just did such a wonderful job blending the darkness with the light and created a beautifully engaging read!
About the Author
The farmhouse where Liza Nash Taylor lives in Keswick, Virginia, with her family and dogs was built in 1825, and it is the opening setting of ETIQUETTE FOR RUNAWAYS. She writes in the old bunkhouse, with the occasional black snake and a view of the Southwest Mountains. In 2018, Liza completed the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Art and was named a Hawthornden International Fellow. She was the 2016 winner of the San Miguel Writer’s Conference Fiction Prize. Her short stories have appeared in Microchondria II,(an anthology by the Harvard Bookstore), Gargoyle Magazine, and others.
ETIQUETTE FOR RUNAWAYS is her first novel. Look for her second, stand-alone sequel, in 2021, also from Blackstone Publishing.
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