It is the 1920s, the age of Prohibition, the automobile, and the speak-easy. Even in rural Minnesota there is money to be made for anyone willing to bend the rules.
Nineteen-year-old Owen Jensen dreams of starting a car dealership. But when his father dies suddenly, it falls to him to run the creamery and take care of his family. Owen, refusing to let go of his dreams, seeks the help of Mr. Pengler, a local businessman and bootlegger. Owen quickly finds himself in over his head with the gangster. Unless he can figure out how to navigate the dangerous world of organized crime as well as the brutal winter, he will lose everything. This richly detailed look at the Roaring ’20s is vastly different from the usual cosmopolitan portrayal filled with flappers, jazz, and tommy-gun–toting gangsters. And unlike the larger-than-life characters that often populate those tales, Owen is a likable, complicated hero with the same desires and fears as his more modern counterparts. The pacing lags in places, but readers willing to stick with it will find reward in the end. Owen’s slice of northern Minnesota is a largely white one. An author’s note tells of the real events that inspired Owen’s story.
A unique look at a familiar period in history. (bibliography) (Historical fiction. 12-18)