Beautiful Days takes up the lives of Cordelia, Letty, and Astrid--three young women living the glamorous life in the 1920s. Cordelia's brother Charlie has taken over the bootlegging business upon the death of their father, while Astrid, as Charlie's girlfriend, continues with her superficial life of parties and drinking. Letty, meanwhile, has moved in with Cordelia and is still hoping for her big break as a singer. As the story progresses, all three end up far from where they began at the start of this novel, and that's not necessarily a bad thing at all. Along the way, Cordelia and Astrid come to realize just what a dangerous occupation Charlie has, and Letty discovers that her desire to be in the spotlight may trump her newfound feelings for writer Grady. No one is safe from heartbreak and danger.
Beautiful Days started off a little slowly for me; I felt as though I was spinning my wheels, waiting for one of the girls to actually make up her fluffy little mind and get on with her life in a meaningful way. And as far as that goes, it's still a ways into the book before more mature decisions are made. But the emotions are strong, and I especially loved reading about the nightlife of New York during Prohibition. I admit to feeling frustration with Astrid particularly; she seems so shallow, and I'm not sure Godbersen intends for her to gain much depth. The action is good once the story picks up (probably a third of the way in), and the very unexpected complication in the relationship between Max and Cordelia is going to be fun to explore. Godbersen's writing is descriptive and detailed; occasionally I got tired of reading what everyone was wearing but in general I felt as though I was smack in the middle of the Roaring Twenties. Good characterization and an engaging storyline makes this a winner of a sequel and has me ready for the next book. Recommended.