Be omnivorous, don't just read one kind of book, read everything. - Richard Wagamese

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Review: Parlor Games by Maryka Biaggio

Publisher: Doubleday
Released: 2013
Pages: 352
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5/5


May Dugas learned at a young age that she could easily get what she wanted from men. After her father passed away, she felt it was her duty to provide for her family. Her beauty could be used for her advantage, and help her dire situation. In Parlor Games, May Dugas provides readers with her side of the story during her extortion trial. May wanted more than her small town could provide, she had her heart set on living a large, high society life. After a brief stint as a prostitute, May moved on to bigger and better things, the many trinkets she received fueled her fire for the finer things in life. May had many obstacles in front of her, the life she wanted had many protocols and she didn’t fit the mold which singled her out. Along the way, men and friendships were sacrificed.  


Parlor Games begins with a bang, and keeps readers hanging on to the pages, wondering how May went about her everyday life and what she could have possibly done to find herself on trial. I really didn’t expect to root for May throughout the novel, but I did. This caused me to question May as a narrator, and how she could sweet-talk readers. Should I have been rooting for May? May was a determined and ruthless individual. She knew how to work her charm to get what she wanted; she wasn’t going to continue to live in poverty. The world was her oyster and she was going to find the hidden treasures. Many engagements later, May became a baroness. However, throughout the book the Pinkerton detective continues to find May and threaten to disclose her true identity.

Readers who are looking for a captivating read will want to pick this one up. The back a forth between the trail and May's accounts of her life, really adds to the story. May is not your usual character, and she will keep you glued to the pages. Based on a true story, Parlor Games delivers a fantastic setting. May Dugas is a charming criminal who will have you on her side and questioning how you could go along with her scheming ideas.  


  1. Biaggio must be a talented author to be able to create such a fascinating character.

  2. I don't recall hearing of the book before, but it sounds fantastic and is going on my "to buy" list right now. Terrific review, Jennifer!

  3. I just got this one on audio, and am going to be listening to it after I finish the Song of Achilles. It sounds like such an enthralling story, and the fact that the main character had even you wound around her finger really impresses me. I can't wait for this one!

    1. And the audio version just won the AudioFile Earphones Award! Leslie Carroll, the reader, is a former actress who does a great job on this one.

    2. Thank you! Actually, I am still an actress, although my own writing and audiobook narration keep me pretty busy, so I am not on stage as often as I used to be. :)

    3. P.S. Maryka's novel was a joy to record. May is just delicious and the supporting characters are fascinating as well!

  4. New to me and I liked your review.

  5. I keep eyeing this book every time I see it on the shelves at the bookstore because it is gorgeous! Now that I know the story is wonderful as well, I might be giving in!

  6. This sounds very good, and I just love the cover!