“Etiquette for Runaways is a complex, fascinating novel full of wonderful characters and more than a little heartbreak. May Marshall is a heroine to cheer for, a girl who dares all to confront her own demons and achieve her dreams in New York and Paris. The writing is glorious, the story is completely engaging. This is a must-read.” —Jeanne Mackin, author The Last Collection: A Novel of Elsa Schiaparelli and Coco Chanel
A sweeping Jazz Age tale of regret, ambition, and redemption inspired by true events, including the Great Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935 and Josephine Baker’s 1925 Paris debut in La Revue Nègre
1924. May Marshall is determined to spend the dog days of summer in self-imposed exile at her father’s farm in Keswick, Virginia. Following a naive dalliance that led to heartbreak and her expulsion from Mary Baldwin College, May returns home with a shameful secret only to find her father’s orchard is now the site of a lucrative moonshining enterprise. Despite warnings from the one man she trusts—her childhood friend Byrd—she joins her father’s illegal business. When authorities close in and her father, Henry, is arrested, May goes on the run.
May arrives in New York City, determined to reinvent herself as May Valentine and succeed on her own terms, following her mother’s footsteps as a costume designer. The Jazz Age city glitters with both opportunity and the darker temptations of cocaine and nightlife. From a start mending sheets at the famed Biltmore Hotel, May falls into a position designing costumes for a newly formed troupe of African American entertainers bound for Paris. Reveling in her good fortune, May will do anything for the chance to go abroad, and 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, and her past, away.
In Paris, May’s run of luck comes to a screeching halt, spiraling her into darkness as she unravels a painful secret about her past. May must make a choice: surrender to failure and addiction, or face the truth and make amends to those she has wronged. But first, she must find self-forgiveness before she can try to reclaim what her heart craves most.
“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
“Liza Nash Taylor has written a dazzling book that explores the hidden dreams and shifting sorrows of an amazing character, May Marshall. Taylor weaves May’s travails, travels, and triumphs into a multiplicity of wonders: generational mystery, moonshine intrigue, mother-daughter heartache, Jazz Age glitter, and a love story that lingers long after the last page is turned. Etiquette for Runaways is a must-read, remarkable, and sumptuous debut.” —Connie May Fowler, author of Before Women Had Wings
“Fasten your seatbelts, for Etiquette for Runaways is an effervescent and completely unpredictable ride from Virginia to New York to Paris with brave and complicated May Marshall. Trust me, this is one fabulous book that will keep you turning pages.” —Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author of Girls of Summer
“Taylor’s sweeping coming-of-age story is utterly engrossing, exquisitely rendered, and deeply felt, with a rich cast of characters that linger in the heart and mind long after the final page is read. May Marshall is a heroine for any age—Jazz or otherwise—and her battles feel as intimate and immediately recognizable as our own.” —Stephanie Barron, author of That Churchill Woman
Liza Nash Taylor, the author of Etiquette for Runaways, was a 2018 Hawthornden International Fellow and received her MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. The 2016 winner of the San Miguel Writer’s Conference Fiction Prize, her work has appeared in Microchondria II, Gargoyle Magazine, and Deep South, amongst others. A native Virginian, she lives in Keswick with her husband and dogs.