Only after I finished reading the book, did I discover that Alana Cash’s Jolie Is Somewhere is described on the Amazon website as “Madame Budska Book 2,” proving, I suppose, that the book works equally well as a standalone novel. I cannot be certain that there are no references to the first Madame Budska book, Saints in the Shadows, but if so they are subtle enough not to be distracting to first-time readers of the series.
Madame Budska, better known to her young friends as Lina Sandor, the psychic who comes into the coffee shop to do free readings for staff and customer, is a rather mysterious woman. As it turns out, Lina also works her “magic” on a number of wealthy, prestigious clients (as Madame Budska) who have come to depend upon her input when time to make key decisions in their lives. Even these clients, though, do not pay Lina in the normal sense of the word, instead tipping her enough in cash and gifts to have made her a wealthy woman many times over. Best of all, Lina Sandor is a kind woman, someone always willing to help those struggling to survive in a world that is proving to be a little too much for them to handle on their own
Jolie is one of those people. She is an Oklahoma girl who came to New York on her own to start what she hopes is going to be an exciting new life. She knows no one in the city, and she is struggling to make enough money to do much more than survive from month to month. But her troubles really begin on the night that she is sexually assaulted in a dark alley by the New York policeman she met just that evening. Jolie has no idea the man is a cop; what she does know is that if she does not defend herself, something terrible is about to happen to her. Instinctively, she uses her spike heels to fight back, only to learn later that she is being charged with assaulting a city policeman.
Remanded to Rikers Island jail to await trial, Jolie somehow gets lost in the system. By the time she is released, there are four people she wants to get even with: the roommate who failed to speak out in her defense, the cop who made up the story that got her arrested, the inmate who destroyed her nose by smashing it into a concrete wall, and the well-paid lawyer who never showed up to defend her. Now released back onto the streets of the city with no place to go, Jolie does not consider herself a lucky person. But that all changes on the night she sleeps in a coffee shop dumpster.
Jolie Is Somewhere is a story about moving on and letting go of the past so that something good can be made of the future. But that is easier said than done, especially for someone like Jolie who so strongly feels betrayed not only by those who aggressively wronged her, but also by those who failed to protect her. This small-town girl is ready to take care of herself now, but first she has some unfinished business to attend to – unless someone can save her from herself.
Jolie Is Somewhere has a message that we would all be wise to consider, one that would ease the burdens we all insist on carrying around for way too long. Madame Budska is my hero.