Sunday, September 4, 2011

Midnight on Julia Street by Ciji Ware

Midnight on Julia Street is an intriguing novel that is hard to place neatly in a genre category. This novel is one of my favorite types of novels, one that involves time through time, even if it is not physical travel.

Corlis McCullough is a journalist who likes to get to the heart of the story no matter the cost to her career. She is on her sixth city in her profession, New Orleans, taping what should be a routine wedding when events unfold that make the wedding must see TV. Corlis also discovers that her college nemesis, King Duvallon, is the brother of the bride. Airing the wedding footage against the advice of her colleagues, Corlis finds herself out of a job, but also back in the sights of King Duvallon. Together they become unlikely partners in the crusade to prevent a historic building from getting demolished to put up a skyscraper hotel.

Corlis McCullough starts having flashes to the past in which she relives moments in her ancestor’s, Corlis Bell McCullough, life. She soon discovers that many of the players in her present fight to save the Selwyn buildings are the descendants of many of the same players that originally built them. The historic figures had scandalous love affairs and also tales of corruption that helped to make the buildings possible.

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I thought both Corlis’s present situation and flashes to the past were equally interesting. I love that she was a hard hitting reporter and that her fight was the fight to save historic buildings. I find such things very intriguing. Her chemistry with King Duvallon was white hot. Duvallon being a professor of architectural history only made him more interesting to me. I also really wanted to learn the mystery of how the historic figures worked together and often against each other to get the buildings constructed.

My favorite secondary character was Corlis’s feisty Aunt Margery McCullough, a hard-hitting retired reporter. She offers Corlis sage advice and interesting tales about her days working as a reporter as part of the Hearst empire.

I love time travel in all forms. I thought Corlis’s time flashes were very unique. Her sense of smell triggered past remembrances and gave her a view point mostly of her ancestor’s past, but also of other intriguing characters.

I loved the New Orleans setting. The descriptions of the City and of the food were very vivid, and made me really want to visit the grand city even more. The history in the novel was very intriguing. I had no idea that 45% of the African Americans pre-civil war in New Orleans were free people of color. It made me want to learn more about this unique history in our nation.

Overall Midnight on Julia Street is an exceptional novel that manages to combine both modern day and historical elements to create one fascinating read. I thoroughly enjoyed it and was ready to join the fight to save the historic buildings.

Book Source: Advance Review Copy from Sourcebooks. Thank-you!


  1. What a unique way to trigger the time traveling! I haven't read all that many "time travel" books.

  2. This sounds like a great read! And what a beautiful cover!! This is definitely going on my to be read list!

    Thanks for the review, Laura!