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Publisher's Summary

A mother-daughter story of reinvention - about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana.

Why exactly Charley Bordelon's late father left her 800 sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her 11-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles.

They arrive just in time for growing season but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that's mired in the past: as her judgmental but big-hearted grandmother tells her, cane farming is always going to be a white man's business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart.

Penguin has a rich tradition of publishing strong Southern debut fiction - from Sue Monk Kidd to Kathryn Stockett to Beth Hoffman. In Queen Sugar, we now have a debut from the African American point of view. Stirring in its storytelling of one woman against the odds and intimate in its exploration of the complexities of contemporary southern life, Queen Sugar is an unforgettable tale of endurance and hope.

©2014 Natalie Baszile; 2014 Penguin Audio

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I didn't think I would like it but I loved it 😊

I didn't think I would like this book because I am a fan of the television show and wanted the book to be just like the show.
I ended up liking it better than the show on TV.
I loved the characters and how the fought so hard to save the farm.
The relationship between Charlie and her brother more honest and real in the book than on the show in my opinion.
This book is a keeper and one that I highly recommend. It is well worth a credit

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sonia
  • Atlanta, GA
  • 07-25-16

I loved it, I got swept away in the story!

I never knew farming could be so interesting. A story about love, jealousy, family, secrets, drugs, race, racism, sexism, privileged, hard work...I didn't want the story to end.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Pen1
  • Los Angeles, California USA
  • 06-13-15

Enjoyable story and audio performance.

Quite entertaining as well as educational. Would recommend this selection enthusiastically. A good story, rich with local color and flavor. Deeply steeped in its detail of traditions both celebratory and constricting of the human soul and experience.

26 of 28 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Henry
  • Petaluma, CA, United States
  • 02-23-14

Guy book too

What made the experience of listening to Queen Sugar the most enjoyable?

I work in agriculture and found the portrayal of farming and farmers accurate and sympathetic.

What did you like best about this story?

The characters and story were compelling and plausible.

Any additional comments?

Listen to it.

17 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Love this book!!!

Pure poetry!!! With vivid description, Baszile takes the reader on a journey into south Louisiana. With the daunting task of farming her inherited sugar cane farm, Charley faces a myriad of obstacles and finds love along the way.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent storytelling

Compelling plot. Exquisite imagery and details. Memorable characters. A setting you can see, taste, touch, hear and feel. Sorry the story had to end.

15 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rochelle
  • TN, TN, United States
  • 09-13-16

Queen Sugar

nothing like the tv series but a very good book. I loved it. try it.

24 of 27 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Execellent Read - Worth the wait

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. The book was entertaining and imparted knowledge about growing sugar cane. The story was well written and was weave together with excellence.

What other book might you compare Queen Sugar to and why?

12 Tribes of Hattie - Although the 12 tribes had more characters the weaving of characters was similar.

Which scene was your favorite?

the love scene between her and the other farmer

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Made proud to read about such a strong determined African American woman pursuing something that was a little out of the norm.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Stick with it…

Overall, I enjoyed the book. I did, however, found the author's style overly descriptive. The continual use of adjectives slowed the story and, at times, made it feel tedious. It took me a while to settle into it because I almost stopped listening, however I am glad that I finished the story.

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Interesting premise, poor character execution

I was really excited to listen to this book after I began watching the OWN series, which is excellent. Many of the characters are completely different, so it was interesting to compare how I liked the two.

I truly appreciated learning about sugar cane farming in Queen Sugar. I found myself driving through fields in the south and Baszile's vivid imagery would run through my mind. There were also a couple of scenes that were constructed so well that I felt like I was there, and they were brilliant.

The development of characters was a bit weak in my opinion. Denton and Alison were the only characters I enjoyed. The narration of Aunt Violet was too much of a clichéd syrupy-drawled southern woman to be believable. Charley's relationship with her mother could have gone without mentioning. Her handling of Micah was irritating in that the things Micah did that would warrant a very human response of anger didn't seem to affect Charley. Hollywood was portrayed as a pathetic shell of a man and Charley seemed to regard him as such. Miss Honey was both motherly and infuriating in her babying of Ralph Angel. She turned really nasty towards the end for very illogical reasons that were maddening.

I had the most issues with Ralph Angel. This is a character that starts out similar to the TV series character; he seems to make some poor decisions but wants to better himself for his son, Blue. This doesn't last long. Ralph Angel turns out to be a terrible character with no redeeming qualities. None. He can't get along with anyone and can't do anything right. He is a spoiled, entitled liar with narcissistic tendencies; delusions of grandeur and thinking much higher of himself than he deserves. I have never disliked a book because of unlikeable characters before. Characters with issues are great because they're realistic. But Ralph Angel was not realistic. He became a caricature in my opinion. An unnecessary distraction that drew away from the rest of the book. In the end we are supposed to feel sorry for him, but he was too horrible of a character for me to feel any empathy.

Baszile's writing style is very descriptive and it worked for several parts, but was overdone for a lot of the book. I heard "...with it's..." begin numerous long-winded similes. The book drags on in areas because of this. The ending, however, seemed rushed. It felt thrown together to get it over with, which was disappointing. It was also unrealistic and unbelievable. The narration is nice but over emphasized at times, which coupled with over-descriptive writing made it very laborious to continue listening.

All in all I think this book is worth a read or listen because of its different subject matter, especially if very descriptive writing is up your alley, but you may find yourself rolling your eyes in frustration through many parts as I did. Check out Goodreads for more constructive reviews. In this instance, I felt the film adaptation was MUCH better.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful