Percy Hare and the Girl in the Game by Craig Martin

Posted January 9, 2023 by elzaread in Book Review / 0 Comments

Percy Hare and the Girl in the Game by Craig MartinPercy Hare and the Girl in the Game by Craig Martin
on October 27th, 2022
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 308
Format: ARC
Source: Reedsy Discovery
Buy on Amazon

Percy the Hare lives just beyond the notice of most decent folk in 1880’s Lafayette, Indiana, a town on the Wabash River and the Wabash & Erie Canal. But the aging hare plays a vital role in the city’s illicit activities and has a colorful mix of friends and acquaintances. When his longtime companion and madam Evaline Wells needs an escort for her adopted daughter’s excursions into the late-night euchre circuit, who better than the ornery hare to see her through its challenges. Through their clever friendship, Percy and young Esther Wells bring to life the gas-lit world of early Lafayette town, in all its color, pageantry, grit, folklore, and mystery.

Percy Hare and the Girl in the Game is one of those rare books you simply don’t know where to slot in. Part Historical Fiction, part Folklore, part Animal Fantasy and a huge part Tall Tale as fluffy as a bunny’s tail. Or in this case – a hare.

When I saw the synopsis for this book, it immediately drew my attention and not only because I also ooh and aah over fluffy bunnies much the same as Evaline Wells’ Saloon girls do. I love historical fiction and especially if it’s presented in a fun, humorous way with a dash of fantasy.

In the case of Percy Hare and the Girl in the Game, the fantasy part is presented in the form of a well-spoken, well dressed and utterly charming hare, Percy Hare. The historical parts are a vast and thorough background regarding the early history of Lafayette, Indiana.

The storyline mainly revolves around Percy Hare and Evaline Wells, a beautiful and seasoned courtesan. Percy is known as a bit of a ladies man (hare) and the relationship between him and Evaline, has tickled the whiskers of the good townsfolk for years. It’s been seventeen years of close friendship, a myriad of adventures and the greatest of them all, are about to enfold.

Evaline’s daughter, Esther is a blooming flower who catches the attention of not only Percy, but a few other notorious characters in the burgeoning Wabash river town of Lafayette. Evaline has tried her best to shield her feisty red-haired daughter from the inner workings of the saloon and her only wish is for Esther to become a lady with a respectable reputation in Lafayette. Esther, however, longs for an adventure and who better to chaperone her than Percy Hare himself. As Evaline pointed out repeatedly, Percy always knew when to be in the right place and when not to be in the wrong place.

What follows is a mix of fast-paced adventures involving a few raucous games of Euchre (I had to look it up as well, you’re welcome), a girl who knows how to play the game (in more than one way) and historical folklore. The author did a marvelous job to wove legends in the form of ghosts and mysterious creatures (beyond the charming hare) into this tall tale with wit and a writing style that is definitely worth the mention.

Thank you to Reedsy Discovery for providing us with a copy of this book and for the opportunity to review.

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