Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

homegoingThis epic novel begins with two half-sisters, connected by the bloodline of their father. Daughters born into the Ashanti tribe in Ghana, Africa  They grow up, and their family tree is split down the middle. One sister is married to a slave trader, and taken to the Cape Coast Castle, living upstairs as a prize wife. The other sister ends up in the castle basement, waiting to be sold as a slave and shipped to America. The book follows the lineage born from these two women’s lives across miles of land and sea. The sweeping journey rambles through American history under Jim Crow laws, to the great migration of free blacks, to Harlem during the Jazz era. The story tells such hard and gut wrenching history, yet it is necessary to know and not forget how people fought for freedom. The rich writing and vivid characters wrap you in the story, but the history is accurate and fascinating. The last page leaves you with questions to research and wonder about after it is finished. The lives in Homegoing are sad, but there are glimpses of happiness and joy gleaned from finding true love, and forgiving the past. I would consider this a must read of 2016.

To Purchase this book on Amazon, click here:

Homegoing: A novel

 

The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe

The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe 

the-gilded-yearsIn 1897 a brave woman stepped onto Vassar College Campus. She was a black woman, her heritage hidden by white ancestry on both sides of her family tree, so courage was her only option. Anita Hemmings passed as white and entered the all-women’s college.  At a time when New York was being built by Vanderbilt and Carnegie wealth; Anita entered society poor, from a black family.

Anita and her friends lived a dreamy existence. Weekends were spent at formal dances in lace dresses, ice skating, and riding in carriages through the city. Anita was a strong student, and a gifted linguist. She excelled at Vassar academically, particularly in Greek and Latin. Her drab clothing made her feel like an outsider. She was perceived as poor, but fit in by carefully hiding her race. Until she was assigned a room with Lottie Taylor. Lottie was the wealthiest girl on campus, and a true believer in the separation of races. Anita’s safe existence becomes threatened when her friendship with Lottie blossoms. Set in an era of incredible romance and simplicity, but also of harsh prejudice. It will prove that separate was never equal, and the end of slavery was just the beginning of a long road of racial reconciliation. If you are a reader of Historical Fiction, put this on your list.

To Order This Book on Amazon, click here: The Gilded Years: A Novel

Here is a photo of  Anita Hemmings during her college years:

My Name is Lucy Barton

My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout 

my-name-is-lucy-bartonThe strangest thing happened in September. I could not read. I could not make my brain turn the curves of letters into words, and those words into a story. For one month I tried, but could not read. Then a lovely thing happened, October began. The flipping of the calendar was the magic stroke. I opened this book and read it in three days.

My Name is Lucy Barton is simple, and sad, and tender to the core. Lucy goes into the hospital with appendicitis, and stays there for five weeks. Mysterious fever and symptoms keep her away from her husband and two children at home. She wakes up from a nap, and her mother has materialized at the foot of her bed. After years of separation, her mother’s comfort is as strange as her sickness. Lucy delves deep into old memories, to her childhood lived outside of acceptable society. Her parents were consistently just above complete ruin. Lucy and her siblings suffered through being poor and outcast in a small town.  Lucy processes her memories from reality, as she waits to heal and go home. She wrestles with the opposing forces of relief and frustration from seeing her mother. This book is about the power of family, how one can suffer at the hands of a parent, but also long to be with them. Strout has woven a simple story about breaking familial patterns, loving sacrificially, and coping with joy and pain. If you read to savor the pleasure of  feeling deeply, this book is for you. It is a quiet, and powerfully packed with emotional depth.  The writing is stunning.

To Order this Book on Amazon, click here:

My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel

 

Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty

 

truly, madly, guiltyLiane Moriarty does what she does best in her newest novel. Intertwines the lives of four families into an thought-provoking story. She explores of love, obligation, and guilt in relationships. I love the Audio versions of her books, a lovely Australian reader tells the story.

The novel revolves around life altering events which take place at a casual neighborhood Barbeque. Two long standing friends join new neighbors on a Saturday night to socialize and get to know each other. The three couples all have a set of quirks, social anxieties, and issues. Clementine and Erica, childhood frenemies, come with their husbands, Sam and Oliver to get to know the new neighbors. Vid and Tiffany, the new neighbors, are the stereo-type second marriage. Handsome older man marries gorgeous, sexy younger woman. However, they are a rollicking good time, and the evening takes some odd twists and turns. Their relationships and lives are changed forever. Truly, Madly, Guilty is much like Big Little Lies, enjoyable, intriguing, with interesting character development. If you read for entertainment, this is a good choice.

To purchase on Amazon, click here: Truly Madly Guilty