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A Sitting in St. James  By  cover art

A Sitting in St. James

By: Rita Williams-Garcia
Narrated by: Machelle Williams
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Publisher's Summary

Winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award!

7 starred reviews! "Monumental." —Booklist (starred review) * "A marathon masterpiece."—Kirkus (starred review) * "Necessary."—SLJ (starred review) * "Shocking and dramatic."—Shelf Awareness (starred review) * "Mesmerizing, confounding and vividly rendered."—Book Page (starred review) * "Williams-Garcia’s storytelling is magnificent; her voice honest and authentic."—Horn Book (starred review)

This astonishing novel from three-time National Book Award finalist Rita Williams-Garcia about the interwoven lives of those bound to a plantation in antebellum America is an epic masterwork—empathetic, brutal, and entirely human—and essential reading for both teens and adults grappling with the long history of American racism.

1860, Louisiana. After serving as mistress of Le Petit Cottage for more than six decades, Madame Sylvie Guilbert has decided, in spite of her family’s objections, to sit for a portrait.

While Madame plots her last hurrah, stories that span generations—from the big house to out in the fields—of routine horrors, secrets buried as deep as the family fortune, and the tangled bonds of descendants and enslaved, come to light to reveal a true portrait of the Guilberts.

©2021 Rita Williams-Garcia (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about A Sitting in St. James

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Rita Williams-Garcia offers a unique perspective.

A Sitting in St. James is an enthralling exploration of the consequences of decadence and a picture of quiet heroism in the face of atrocity. Instead of relating events through the slaves' perspectives, the author chooses to explore events through the plantation owners. I loved the intricacy of the plot and the vibrant characters. Madame Sylvie Guilbert is maddening and heartbreaking as a woman relentless in her determination to cling to the past. Thisbe, her silent servant, is an amazing character. She says little but is so very strong. Rosalie, the mulatto daughter, Jane, the tomboy, Eugenie, the love interest of Madame Sylvie's grandson, (or perhaps not), and other characters leap from the page and are unforgettable. My favorite character was Lily, the cook on the plantation.

THe narration of this audiobook is wonderfully done. Michelle Williams reads expressively and has distinct voices. I particularly enjoyed her portrayal of Madame Sylvie, Lucien, (her son), and the portrayal of Jane, which was quite comical.

I thoroughly recommend A Sitting in St. James if you are interested in exploring slavery in a unique way. Happy listening, and GOd bless you all.

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Phenomenal- "A Sitting in St. James"

This was a phenomenal story. I read my daughter Rita Williams Garcia's children books which I love, so this was a wonderful surprise to read "A Sitting in St. James" an adult novel. What a captivating story!!! She conducted research to capture the era, Louisiana life, and the characters. A MUST READ.

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Intriguing story- complex characters and plot.

I was on the edge of my seat, listening. The author did a fantastic job of weaving a story together over several generations and several families. The narrator did a fantastic job clearly distinguishing each character's voice while speaking varying languages and dialects! Bravo! I recommend this to anyone who wants a peak into the pre-Civil War south and why slavery was so intrenched.

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Loved it!

This engaging book is written so I can see every action in my minds eye.

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well done

interesting, enthralling entertaining. highly recommend. a different look at history. characters are fascinating

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Great

Great book. Held my interest throughout. Would recommend. Haven't heard of the author before this release.

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  • Susan Read
  • 11-14-22

New favourite author

I loved everything about this and learnt so much. I’ve only ever read her YA books and this is so different but brilliant in it’s own way.