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Etiquette For Runaways by Liza Nash Taylor

Liza Nash Taylor

This month’s book recommendation from Great Thoughts, Great Readers




Etiquette for Runaways is a Jazz Age tale of regret, ambition, and redemption. Inspired by true events, the story includes details from the Great Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935 and Josephine Baker’s 1925 Paris debut in Le Revue Nègre.1924. May Marshall exiles herself for the summer at her father’s farm in Keswick, Virginia. After a naive dalliance leads to heartbreak and her expulsion from Mary Baldwin College, she returns home with a shameful secret, only to find her father’s orchard is now a lucrative moonshine business. She joins her father’s illegal business despite warnings from the one man she trusts, her childhood friend Byrd. When her father is arrested, May goes on the run.

May, determined to reinvent herself as May Valentine, sets out to succeed on her own terms as a costume designer in New York City. The Jazz Age city glitters with both abundant opportunities and the darker temptations of cocaine and nightlife. Initially, May finds work mending sheets at the famed Biltmore Hotel. She then falls into a job where she designs costumes for a newly formed troupe of African American entertainers bound for Paris. Ecstatic about her good fortune, she will do anything for the chance to go abroad. As a result, the lines between right and wrong begin to blur. When Byrd shows up in New York, intent upon taking May back home, she pushes him away, along with her past.

In Paris, May’s luck runs out. She spirals into darkness as she unravels a painful secret about her past. She must make a choice to either surrender to failure and addiction, or face the truth and make amends to those she wronged. But before she can try to reclaim what her heart craves most, she must find self-forgiveness.

What people are saying

“This is a great coming-of-age novel about life lessons, loyalty, and forgiveness in a fast-spinning, glittering world full of temptation and opportunity. Beautifully done!”—Kathleen Grissom, New York Times bestselling author of The Kitchen House and Glory over Everything

“Assured, exotic, heart wrenching, Liza Nash Taylor’s Etiquette for Runaways is that rare debut novel that combines a story that sweeps from continent to continent and age to age without sacrificing the deeply personal story of one tormented woman.” –Jacquelyn Mitchard, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Deep End of the Ocean

“An utterly absorbing tale…Beautiful and immersive writing!”—Natasha Boyd, USA Today bestselling author of The Indigo Girl

“Exquisitely written, Liza Nash Taylor’s Etiquette for Runaways is a powerful tale of seeking absolution and pursuing dreams. It’s a magnificent, special novel that I didn’t want to end.” —Alan Hlad, international bestselling author of The Long Flight Home

About the Author

Liza Nash Taylor is a late-blooming novelist and a self-described empty nester with attitude. At the age of 58 she was a 2018 Hawthornden International Fellow and received an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts the same year. Her debut historical novel, ETIQUETTE FOR RUNAWAYS is listed in Parade Magazine’s 30 Best Beach Reads of 2020 and Frolic’s 20 Best Books of Summer 2020. A native Virginian, she lives in Keswick with her husband and dogs, in an old farmhouse which serves as a setting for her novels.

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About GREAT THOUGHTS, GREAT READERS founder, Andrea Peskind Katz 

great thoughts, great readersAndrea Peskind Katz runs Great Thoughts, Great Readers, a Book Salon presented via her private FB group where approximately 5000 prolific readers and authors interact. She also founded, a lifestyle website blog focusing on Great Books and Great Travel. To quote Robert Frost, she created her “second act” career to “unite my avocation and my vocation”. After 20 years in high pressure sales, Andrea retired to spend time doing what she loves best: hanging with her family, reading good books


Image source: Liza Nash Taylor


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