Soot City. Daisy Dell defies society’s ideals of her class, her sex, her colour. A self-styled fashionista, she embodies all of the Modern Girl aesthetics and lives her Modern Girl life, tonight celebrating the job offer which will fulfil another of her desired criteria – the office job. Daisy is delighted; she loves being self-sufficient, even if it means being alone.
Yet Daisy is not such an ordinary girl beneath the surface. Her grandmother’s heirlooms – trinkets, as she fondly refers to them – are worth more than their weight in costume jewellery. These fashionable accessories with their glossy exterior hold something altogether magical inside, not that that is anything to be discussed with her new colleges, no matter how unconventional they may appear.
Styled on the 1920s, with all the indulgences and divisions the era had to offer, Soot City is a fantastical place where speakeasys and bootleg operations are rife, the underworld lurking just beneath this society’s polished exterior. The book’s biggest strength is its setting, and all the most decadent, fabulous elements of the time are subtly infused throughout the narrative and its descriptions, from the tiny details in Daisy’s dress to the furniture that makes up her home.
Moonshine follows Daisy’s story as she starts her new job and begins to discover that her boss is hiding a big secret and her co-workers are not all as they appear. Later in the book Daisy’s boss takes a point of view role for some scenes, which does allow the reader a fuller picture of him, but his narrative voice does seem to slow the pace somehow. Nonetheless the romanticism of the setting and Daisy’s strength and heart make this a pleasant read with which to get lost in the spectacle.