Book Nook: Josie Moraine's 'Out of the Easy' tells New Orleans mystery

In "Out of the Easy," Josie Moraine, daughter of a brothel prostitute, lives in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950. The quarter is overflowing with crushed dreams, sweat and secrets.

Josie lives above a bookshop to avoid her dishonest mother and the men she tends to cozy up to. She works in the shop for board and cleans the brothel each morning for money.

Josie dreams of going to college on the East Coast, and when she befriends a young woman who goes to Smith College, she thinks her dream may be attainable.

Hopes of college dorms and libraries full of learning are suddenly waylaid when she gets tangled in a murder investigation of a man she met only once. She is forced to lie, hide and turn toward solutions she never wanted to have to explore.

If you've read Ruta Sepetys' "Between Shades of Gray," a breathtaking book about a Lithuanian girl in 1941 who is sent to a work camp in Siberia, you may find "Out of the Easy" a bit lacking. Though "Out of the Easy" is an enjoyable jaunt in New Orleans, it doesn't contain the emotional depth of "Between Shades of Gray."

Despite that, what it does contain is a New Orleans full of interesting characters, smoky mystery and a touch of danger around every corner. It is in this New Orleans that Josie is stuck.

Caught between two young men, two life paths and two mother figures, Jose must stumble towards what is best for her in every aspect of her life. She has as many people looking out for her as she does trying to hurt or use her.

All she wants to do is get out - out of New Orleans, out of being a prostitute's daughter, out of the murder investigation, out of everything - and into a better future.

Josie's story is all about decisions. She discovers the hard way that personal choices - not fate, not propriety and not genetics - are what truly shape ones' destiny.