The Winter of Her Discontent
Actress Rosie Winter returns in Haines’s second in the series set in World War II-era New York City. With the war, times are tight and Rosie is more “struggling” than “actress.” When her friend Al, a gangster who had come to her rescue in the first book, admits to murdering his actress girlfriend, Rosie is convinced of his innocence. She and her roommate Jayne get parts in the dead woman’s show and befriend her costars, a group of patriotic women doing their best to entertain the troops. Wracked with anxiety over her soldier boyfriend, who’s missing in action, Rosie seeks to distract herself by clearing Al’s name and attending the Stage Door Canteen dances with her new friends.
As in the first book, the mystery itself takes a backseat to the atmosphere and characters that Haines brings to life. Rosie is a stand-up gal who holds her own against acting rivals and gangsters alike, and both her friendship with Jayne and rivalry with Ruby Priest are highlights of the book. The banter and camaraderie of the actresses’ boarding house life is contrasted with the deprivations of the wartime era, and Rosie’s efforts to get any news of her boyfriend Jack lend the story a particular poignancy. May this series have a long and healthy life!