Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Parlor Games; Maryka Biaggio

Title: Parlor Games
Author: Maryka Biaggio
Publication Year:  2013

Publisher: Books on Tape
Edition: eGalley and audio
Date Completed: April - 2013
Rating: 4/5 
Recommend: yes

Parlor Games was an interesting debut novel which was based on real life events of a woman named May Dugas who stood trial for extortion in 1917.  She made the news not only in her hometown of Menominee, but also in Michigan, New York and even London. The story opens with May telling her version of events beginning when she was only 18 years-old (1887), when she left home for Chicago hoping to earn money to help her family out.
When she arrived in Chicago she ends up living at swanky bordello, using her looks to charm and attract rich and famous men who find themselves immediately drawn to her.  It isn't long after that she learns to use her charm and seduction to get herself invited to parties and events attended by the rich of the richest.  She quickly realizes that this is the lifestyle she wants and doesn't plan to settle for less.
She cons her way time after time and even bilks a friend out of an inheritance along the way. She has a few setbacks, like when she meets a wealthy man and thinks wedding bells may be in her future, only to find a Pinkerton's Detective hot on her trail.  Leaving Chicago and traveling to places like Oregon, California and even Holland and Shanghai,  May never gives up her pursuit of high society. She eventually marries a Dutch Baron, howver, Baroness May de Vries (although she's gone by other names) days living the good life may very well be numbered.
Told in the first person, May's accounts of her life are fascinating. It's hard to have sympathy for her, but the way she spins the events leading up to he trial sure makes for some entertaining reading.  In addition to the eBook, I also listened to the audio version which was read by Leslie Carroll. It was very entertaining and made my commute go quickly.  Overall, I thought this story was well done and entertaining. I would be interested in reading more books by this promising new author.  Most historical fans will enjoy this story.


  1. I love the fact that this is based on a real person. May sounds like something else!

  2. Thanks for the review - I have this on my "to listen" list next in line. I love this time period!

  3. Going on my lists! I like May.

  4. I don't think I'd like May very much. This story sounds good, though, and I like your description of the audio - I'm always looking for good audio. Adding to my audible wish list :-)

  5. I've been wondering about this book, glad to hear you enjoyed it... adding to my audio wish list (again!)

  6. I have this one on audio, and I am dying to listen to it. I first heard about it over on Audra's site, and she was so thrilled with it that I ran right over to the library site and got it. I was surprised they had the audio, but grateful too! I think I am going to have a lot of fun with this book. Splendid review today!!

  7. I've never heard of this one until your review, but I have to say that it might be one that I would be curious to read.


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