The Long Song, a novel, Andrea Levy
Told in the irresistibly willful and intimate voice of Miss July, with some editorial assistance from her son, Thomas. The Long Song is at once defiant, funny and shocking. The child of a field slave on the Amity sugar plantation in Jamaica, July lives with her mother until Mrs. Caroline Mortimer, a recently transplanted English widow decides to move her into the great house and rename her "Marguerite."
Resourceful and mischievous, July soon becomes indispensable to her mistress. Together they live through the bloody Baptist War and through the violent and chaotic end of slavery. Taught to read and write so she can help her mistress run the business, July remains bound to the plantation despite her "freedom". It is the arrival of a young English overseer, Robert Goodwin, that will dramatically change life in the great house for both July and her mistress. Prompted and provoked by her son's persistent questioning, July's heartache and resilience are gradually reveled in this extra ordinarily powerful story of slavery, revolution, freedom and love.
Great skill in the way (Levy) presents characters dialogue and what an ear for language!
The Sweet By and By, a novel, Todd Johnson
Among the longleaf pines and family farms of eastern North Carolina, days seem to pass without incident for Margaret Clayton and Bernice Stokes until they discover each other in a friendship that will take them on the most important journey of their lives. Margaret, droll and smart, has a will of iron that never fails her even when her body does, while Bernice, an avid country music fan, is rarely lucid. Irreverent and brazen at every turn, they make a formidable pair at the home where they live, breaking all the rules and ultimately changing the lives of those around them. Lorraine, their church going, God questioning nurse, both protects and provokes them while they are under her watchful eye, as her daughter April, bright and ambitious, determinedly makes her way through medical school. Rounding out the group of unlikely and often outrageous friends is Rhonda, the Bud swilling beautician who does the ladies hair on her day off and whose sassy talk hides a vulnerable heart, one that finally opens to love.
Weaving this tightly knit and compelling novel is alternating chapters, each woman gets to tell her story her own way, as all five learn to reconcile troubled pasts, find forgiveness, choose hope and relish the joy of life. The Sweet By and By is a testament to the truth that the most vibrant lives are not necessarily the most visible ones.
The Dead Lie Down, a novel, Sophie Hannah
Ruth Bussey once did something wrong, horribly wrong and was nearly destroyed by her punishment. Now, she has tentatively rebuilt her life and unexpectedly found love with a man named Aidan Seed. But Aidan also has a secret that he needs to confess, he killed someone years ago, a woman named Mary Trelease. Ruth's horror turns to confusion when she realizes that she knows Mary Trelease, and she is very much alive.
Set in London's vibrant art scene and featuring the return of Sergeant Charlotte "Charlie" Zailer and D.C. Simon Waterhouse. The Dead Lie Down is a sophisticated novel of psychological suspense.
A real page turner!
See you at Rylander!