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Hudson Lake [Paperback]

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Item description for Hudson Lake by Laura Mazzuca Toops...

In the summer of 1926, jazz lovers from all over the Midwest go where the weather is hot and the music is hotter. They converge on the Blue Lantern Inn, a rural Indiana dance hall in a resort town where the season's resident jazz band features a young cornet player named Bix Beiderbecke.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   230
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 7.8" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.8"
Weight:   0.6 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Feb 15, 2007
Publisher   Twilight Times Books
ISBN  1933353570  
ISBN13  9781933353579  

Availability  0 units.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Historical

Reviews - What do customers think about Hudson Lake?

All That Jazz and much more  Jul 10, 2008
In 1926, in spite of being out of the way in a remote rural part of Indiana, the hottest jazz spot in the Midwest is the Blue Lantern Club on Hudson Lake. Especially popular amongst aficionados is the Jean Goldkette Orchestra featuring highly regarded Bix Beiderbecke on the coronet.

Bix has come to isolated Indiana to avoid life as he failed at love, family, and now alcohol. Women love the great coronetist, but they accept that in Bix's mind jazz comes before them; locals and those from Chicago and Indianapolis accept that is part of Bix; his Iowa family never did. Of course I.U. student Harriet understood what a fling with a musician meant until Bix; Joy, a flapper who hangs out with gangsters, also has interest in Bix. However, women and jazz may mix, but the big city mob wants bootlegged alcohol and jazz to mix too; whereas the Ku Klux Klan plans to own the conservative area, which means no big city jazz. Bix has no time for either violent group as his two women have become possessive.

This superb biographical fiction tale brings to life the Jazz Age in the Midwest as the audience gets an in close look at the band, obviously Bix, and their personal issues re doubts about skills and family. The invasions by the KKK and the Chicago mob add depth to the 1920s in Indiana. However, this is Beiderbecke's tale in every sense as his struggles to be loved and accepted are fraught with self tormenting doubt and self destruction when he could not cope with accolades even as he begged people to praise his work. HUDSON LAKE is a strong historical tale in which the reader gains a vivid glimpse of a bygone Americana era through the travails of Bix and the band.

Harriet Klausner
Hudson Lake. . .Who Knew?  Oct 9, 2007
Boy, do I know this place?

More about that later.

This is a fond look back at a time and place when that place had some importance. Hudson Lake. Around 90 miles by auto from Chicago's North Side's Green Mill), through Whiting (also know as, Stink City for it's odiferous oil refineries), Gary, Ind, La Porte, Rolling Prarie.. . .Less by South Shore. Well you get the picture. I know this place.

The Jazz Age is in full bloom. Some of it's stars were rising, but one in particular was going super nova.

This book has the likes of Bix Beiderbeke and the Jean Goldkette band which spent a summer one July in 1926 at this out-of-the way community, Hudson Lake. Jean had rented the Blue Lantern and brought his band up from St. Louis to over-summer. Not a bad place, after all. A picture perfect lake, cabins, and ready access from Chicago via that neat electric train, Chicago, South Bend and South Shore RR (still running).

The story revolves around Bix, and one of Bix's loves - Joy, who has her own chapters. His other love, a local (Hoosier), Harriett is part of the story also. Throw in the reed section of the Goldkette band, the lake, a steamy summer and fill it all out with bootleg booze, Al Capone's mob and the KKK and you have a pretty fair yarn.

However, the story is really Bix and Joy and Hudson Lake. The other stuff is filler which, I think kinda fleshes out the time and place.

Good historical fiction, too me has to make me feel the place and time. Can I hear Bix's solos? What does Hudson Lake, or rather what did Hudson Lake feel like? Not just the lake, but the community. When it's hot and steamy, can I feel it - the discomfort, the clothes sticking to body, always wet. . .like that.

And what about the music? I've grown up with jazz, tho Bix was before my time. Fortunately I have several CD's. Listening to those CD's now - I finally listened to Bix's solos. Wow!

Laura captures the time and place. If the story had Bix, Joy the band and the bootleggers, I think that would have been enough. But this is Laura's story.

At that, I had to remind myself that this Hudson Lake is fictional.

And, perhaps mine is also. The mythology of the place was that the, "Big Bands" had played at the Casino. I for one never thought much about that. That certainly was another time, if not another place.

Yep. Hudson Lake. Put on a couple of Bix CD's (or if you're real lucky, his records) and curl up with the book. Feel the sweat on your body. Let Bix's solos wash over you.

Hudson Lake.
Great Jazz Age Novel  Feb 23, 2007
The atmosphere of mid-1920's Mid-America is captured in a spectacular manner by Laura Mazzuca Toops' new novel. This work is fiction based on fact: in 1926 the Jean Goldkette jazz orchestra took on a season-long assignment at the summer resort of Hudson Lake, Indiana - a location populated by both conservative, straitlaced townsfolk heavily influenced by the Ku Klux Klan which threatened to rule the community (and many Indiana communities just like it) and the hedonistic big city weekenders from Chicago - jazz musicians, gangsters, and the devoted audiences who followed both. The authentic characters are the talented Goldkette musicians Frank Trumbauer, Doc Ryker, Pee Wee Russell - and Bix Beiderbecke, the enigmatic, alluring jazz-age genius whose personality is marvelously portrayed, crackling with realism and flanked by two fictional love interests: Joy, a tragic young woman desperate to escape her sordid past, and Harriet, a college student employed at the resort for the summer, lured away from conventionality by her growing passion for the brilliant musician.

Immediately the reader is drawn into their world, bouncing from the sweaty gin-soaked dance hall to a quiet fishing boat on the lake; from a bucolic waterside to roadsters roaring down dusty country roads on late-night errands ranging anywhere from replenishing illegal liquor supplies to retaliation of Klan outrages; to tender and beautifully realized scenes of sexual passion.

Every voice rings as authentic, as if the author herself divulged more than from every biographical account and anecdote exactly how Beiderbecke and his bandmates might have - could have - acted and sounded: Pee-Wee Russell's brash, smuttily jocular taunting; Tram's endeavors to discipline his musicians and hold them back from too much errant excess, and especially Bix, the jaunty humor not quite hiding that he's inwardly tormented, self-disparaging and sensitive, convinced at heart he is undeserving of the creative pinnacle he strives for.

It would seem superfluous to describe this novel as exciting, steamy, poignant and authentic in ambience, but it is. Even those unfamiliar with the works of the great jazz artists of that era will be swept away by a story as thrilling and romantic as the 1920's were themselves, as accurately represented in the dangerous drama of the gangster underworld and frightening Klan in that vividly colorful decade.

- Laura Demilio

Hudson Lake  Jun 28, 2006
The Jazz Age is in full swing at Hudson Lake where the Jean Goldkette Orchestra plays on the weekends with Bix Beiderbecke on the cornet, the man people came to hear.

Bix was a man who loved music over all else. The women like Joy and Harriet who came into his life knew they came second and their affairs would last only until the orchestra moved onto other engagements.

It was a time of hot music, hot bootleg whiskey and wild, frenetic dances while in the background lurked old values some felt were being ignored and the young were being led astray. It was a time of turbulence that changed society.

Talented Laura Mazzuca Toops opens the door to take us back in time with her lifelike characters and realistic settings. You'll feel like you've been there. This is a book I can highly recommend with pleasure to any reader. Enjoy. I certainly did.

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