Sidetrack Key by Jessica Argyle

In Sidetrack Key by Jessica Argyle, Elle’s saga has not quite ended. The story unfolds slowly. If you haven’t read the first book, No Name Key, you can become sidetracked by the complexity of events and the character’s relationships presented in the opening pages. The clarity of the story’s track eventually becomes straighter and narrower, with a rhythm and tonality that forces you to hear and feel the grit of the Keys and its inhabitants.  Once you pick up the storyline’s thread, the author subtly exposes, how women dealt with adversity in the Keys of the 1930s. After several hair-raising ordeals for the principle character, Elle, her strength becomes the source of strength for others, particularly Ruby.

Although told through the eyes of the fictionalized characters, the nonfictional realities of those times, and even today, such as domestic abuse, alcoholism, and anti-feminism are easily and sadly identifiable today. The universality of the themes makes this an important read and contribution to the history of the Keys. Along with the beautifully developed and picturesque supporting cast of characters, this page-turning psychological thriller ends with a more favorable outcome than No Name Key. I offer one closing caveat, you’ll be hard pressed to find Sidetrack Diner anywhere along US Route 1.

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