An unforgettable romance in an unforgiving time.
They'll need love and courage to see the dawn. He's a hometown native, returning from the war, determined to change the world he'd fought to protect. She's the girl who's been his secret friend since childhood, now a beautiful woman. Her war-time letters kept him alive.
But he's black, and she's white.In 1946 in Gideon, Texas, their undeniable love might get them both killed.
Barbara Samuel is a multiple award-winning author with more than 38 books to her credit in a variety of genres. Her work has captured a plethora of awards, including six RITAs; the Colorado Center for the Book Award (twice); Favorite Book of the Year from Romance Writers of America, and the Library Journal's list of Best Genre Fiction of the year, among many others. Visit her at www.barbarasamuel.com.
©2012 Barbara Samuel (P)2013 Bell Bridge Books
Also I did not like the flashback method of writing.
I don’t want to read books about sorrow and the ugliness of man – painful and heart-wrenching. That’s what this book is. But some readers are in the mood for that.
Technically there is a happy ending, but it did not feel good enough. I would not call it romance. I’d call it a tragic love story with a brief happy ending. A black man and white woman grew up together as best friends. As adults they were in love. But this was the South in the 1940's and they would be killed if that was suspected. When they were teens, a gang of whites beat up Isaiah because Angel smiled at him. The book is about three things. The pain of staying away from each other, depressing events in the Jim Crow South, and horrors done by Nazis in Europe.
WHAT DID I LIKE?
The one part I liked was a ten minute description at the end. It was like a footnote to the story. See Spoiler.
The short ending said the couple survived and left Texas together. But there was no story showing them being together. I didn’t get to see them during the journey to a new place, or living and working in a new place, or creating and parenting children.
I DID NOT LIKE:
1. Most of the time I was depressed. Pain to any white person who was friendly to blacks. The locals wanted Angel to get married and have a husband run her store. They said women should not have jobs when there were men who needed work. Because she did not want to marry the local bully, the townspeople hurt her and shunned her. Of course the whites killed blacks without justice. I was surprised that a lot of time was spent on the Nazi horrors in Europe: descriptions of dead bodies and concentration camp survivors. One part mentioned dead pets and zoo animals. There was a lot of talk about the morality and horrors of war.
2. The book is full of flashbacks. Most of them are letters written during WWII. I was ok with flashbacks and back stories during the first part of the book. But I was annoyed with them during the last half. They were interruptions. I wanted to continue with the main story – Isaiah and Angel in 1946 and how they ended up as a couple. The flashbacks created cliffhangers. For example, Angel is walking home and hears drunk men breaking glass. Then the scene switches to prior years. Later we return to the breaking glass and learn the men are destroying her store while Angel watches and hides nearby.
3. In the above scene, Angel was hiding in a tree house in the woods. The next morning she went to the sheriff to report the damage. He did nothing because he said he needed a witness before he could arrest the men. She did not tell him that she was a witness, because she did not want anyone to know her tree house existed. It was her secret hiding place. So the men were not charged and no one would be paying money to repair her store. That was stupid of her. She could have said she was hiding BEHIND a tree and saw them. She didn’t have to say which tree. The following phrases mentioned there were many trees nearby. “The thicket of cottonwoods and pines that hid the store...” “The flickering shadows of trees could have hidden a dozen men.” I was angry at the stupid reason for not telling the sheriff.
Natalie Gray did an excellent job. I liked her pleasant generic accent instead of using a fake southern one.
Narrative mode: 3rd person.
Genre: tragic love story, racial historical fiction.
Believer in what you can't see
Yes, I read the story first and knew the audiobook would be more intense then the book. The storyline is about a subject matter this country and all people are still dealing with, the right for all beings to love who we choose.
The fact that the female character didn't back down from her belief that she could love whomever she wanted to no matter what others say.
Angel was my favorite because she stood up for what she believed in and didn't care that others turned their backs on her. She was a leader for others to follow, not someone to follow.
The scene that moves me the most is when the men attach Angel and destroy her store, and she fights back. She also stays with Isiah and they leave for England to start a new life.
Barbara Samuel is one of my favorite authors, her words paint a picture in details and the plot will let you live inside the story and make you sigh, laugh, cry and never want to stop listening.
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