Tuesday, March 8, 2022

Get transported to 1918 Manhattan in this entertaining Irish immigrant story with an excerpt


However Long the Day

by Justin Reed

Genre: Historical Fiction 

However Long the Day is the tale of two strangers—Niall Donovan, a poor immigrant from Ireland, and Frederick Philips, a rich ne'er-do-well from New York's Upper East Side—who discover they look so similar they could be twins. Frederick, desperate to avoid a lecture from his father, bribes Niall to switch places for the evening. Niall finds there's more to the story than Frederick let on, and is dragged through the turbulence created by World War I, the Spanish Flu, and social upheaval, and into the corrupt belly of Manhattan on the cusp of Prohibition.

As Niall and Frederick hurtle through the next twenty-four hours, will either get what they bargained for?

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And they want me to wear the mask. How am I to greet my customers if I wear the mask? If I’m sick, I close restaurant, so why wear the mask?” the man said. The man’s accent, still vague, became more pronounced as he grew more animated.

I spoke with a police officer today. He wore a mask. He said he wanted to keep both himself and the public safe,” Frederick said with a slight grin.

The man turned to Frederick and balled his fist.

I’m so glad I chose the currant,” Flora said, when the man took a step toward Frederick. She had taken several bites. “The crust is flaky as can be, and the fruit is as sweet as it is tart. And thank you ever so much for adding a scoop of ice cream. My friend was right, your pies are superb!”

You are welcome, young lady,” the man said. He smiled at Flora, blushed a little, then glared at Frederick and stomped away.

I suppose it’s up to me,” Flora said, “to teach a newly arrived Irish immigrant that, in New York City, taunting folks will get you into trouble.”

Sage counsel,” Frederick muttered.

You are a wonder, Niall Donovan. Not only do you sound like you’ve lived here your whole life, but you sound like you’ve been to Princeton,” Flora said.

Donovan. Niall Donovan,” Frederick muttered, then continued in his Irish accent. “Me name’s Niall Donovan, and I come from the land of fairies and leprechauns and beautiful green hills and bogs and fitches.”

Flora giggled, but her eyes squinted and her brow furrowed as she looked at Frederick. Frederick swallowed, took a bite of his cake—which was awful—and looked back up at Flora. Flora’s expression remained unchanged. Frederick squirmed like a living statue of dubious origin about to be exposed as a counterfeit. Frederick lifted the fork to his mouth, grimaced, and set it back on his plate.

Thank you for inviting me along, Flora, but I must be off. I was, in fact, waiting for someone when I bumped into you, and I really must see if I can find him,” Frederick said as he stood. He pulled a five-dollar bill from his money clip—the clip he’d withheld from Niall—and dropped it on the table.

That should more than cover it,” Frederick said. “Have a good evening.”

Frederick walked away. Flora couldn’t quite make eye contact with Frederick as he left. He looked down at her through the window as he emerged on the street. Her elbow rested on the table. Ice cream dripped from her fork, which hovered over her plate. Bewilderment replaced her playful expression. She looked like a dog who’d been scolded for the first time. He shrugged and walked away.

Frederick rounded the corner onto Second Avenue and slipped into the crowd of people that must have just flowed out of the station. He moved his way through the crowd, checked the oncoming traffic, and stepped off the curb to cross in the shadows.

An iron vise clamped Frederick’s shoulders. Frederick stood in the middle of the street—between the streetcar tracks—in the dark of the platform overhead.

Slow down, there, Freddy,” a man said.

The vise turned Frederick around. Frederick swallowed at the sight of the people he least wanted to see at that moment.

Marco,” Frederick said. “I…I was just on my way to see you. I thought we were going to meet in the usual place.”

Listen, Freddy, you can bet we’s gonna still have that meeting—we still gots lots to do tonight,” Marco said with a smile. Marco looked at his henchmen with an unsettling glint in his eyes. “But first, we’s gonna take you somewhere we’s can talk. Private like.”

Justin Reed lives in Boise, Idaho with his wife and four children. He was a software engineer and executive for fifteen years before he began his writing career. When not working, he enjoys spending time with family and friends, volunteering at his church, fly fishing, and agreeing to his wife’s requests to take selfies in front of libraries.

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1 comment:

  1. I like the cover, synopsis and excerpt, this sounds like an excellent read. Thank you for posting about this book