One Night in Georgia

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 18 Jun 2019

Member Reviews

One night in Georgia takes through a varying range of emotions as we follow three young women traveling during 1960 Georgia. The book may come off as women's fiction with a splash of romance. 

Ms. Norfleet doesn't overly dramatize the story but still manages to take us through different emotions throughout the story with the build up of the road trip as the ladies face different drama along the way.  I do wish however, that the characters were more fleshed out as I think it would have given them more depth but all and all I enjoyed the book and I believe One Night in Georgia is a great read to add to your summer reading or take it along with you into the fall.
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Sadly, I cannot recommend this book. The plot had such promise. But it just reads oddly. First of all, for much of the book I felt like it was written for a YA level. Then I realized it wasn’t. It was a stretch to think that African Americans wouldn’t realize how very dangerous it was to go on a road trip through the South. These were college students who were highly educated in 1968. Of course they would know.
But somehow only Zelda did.
Zelda also came off as constantly preaching to the other two clueless friends instead of seeming like a real person. The climax was so rushed. It’s disappointing because the story had such promise.
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Talented author, Celeste O. Norfleet takes her readers on a journey into the Deep South during one of the most turbulent times in this nation’s history. ONE NIGHT IN GEORGIA chronicles a road trip from New York to Atlanta in 1968 by four young African Americans who are headed back to college. The protagonist, Zelda Livingston, her two friends, Veronica Cook and Daphne Brooks, and a young man assigned to protect them, Daniel Johnson travel the highways and by-ways to Atlanta by car and look forward to their last year at their respective schools, the famed Spelman and Morehouse Colleges, respectively.  Their story quickly escalates into a journey that tests their fortitude and maturity, and eventually threatens their lives. 

ONE NIGHT IN GEORGIA is an outstanding story of a period in this country’s history that never gets old. Author, Celeste O. Norfleet, does an exceptional job in recounting that time through this work of Historical Fiction. I highly recommend this novel.
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A quick and cute read about three friends taking a road trip to Georgia from Harlem NYC in their return to Spelman College after a short summer in NY.  An easy going prose propels this novel as three college aged females make the decision to drive to Georgia in 1968, and driving through the South in that time is fraught with danger and trepidation. 

And these ladies come face-to-face with danger and Celeste Norfleet builds drama and worry without going overly dramatic. So, we ride along with Zelda, the stereotypical centered individual with Veronica, the not so serious sidekick along with Daphne who goes along to get along.

Although this is a quick read, Celeste took enough time to build the characters so that we readers get a feel for the different personalities without sacrificing quality. I enjoyed this story and would recommend as a nice summer indulgence. Thanks to Netgalley and Amistad for an advanced DRC. Book is out now!
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Set amidst the racial tensions of 1960s America, Celeste O Norfleet’s One Night in Georgia is a beautifully woven commentary on race in America and is extremely relevant today. Co-eds Zelda Livingston, Veronica Cook, and Daphne Brooks embark on a road trip to Spelman college a week before the semester begins, but their trip will change their worlds forever. 
Zelda, daughter of a prominent civil rights attorney, still grapples with her father’s death at the hands of white policemen a few years prior, and during the summer before her last year of college, tensions with her mother’s new boyfriend Darnell continue to escalate. When her two best friends, Daphne and Veronica arrive in Veronica’s new car, they insist she accompany them on a road trip back to Spelman College, to fulfil their freshman year promises of one last fun adventure before graduating. 
Hesitant due to the systemic harm done to black people in the South, from lynching to extreme police brutality, Zelda eventually agrees to go with them after a fight with her mother and Darnell, insisting they stop in Washington DC at her aunt and uncle’s house prior to heading South. The girls meet Zelda’s aunt and uncle Dorothy and Owen, who warn them of the dangers of traveling South alone, but they then meet Daniel, the son of a friend of Darnell, who has been sent by Darnell to escort the three girls to Atlanta, where he too goes to college. 
Despite close encounters, the four make it to Georgia—and run into their fellow sorority sister Mazie in Georgia. She insists they accompany her and stay with her the night to attend her birthday party, and at said party, heartbroken over her fiancé cheating on her, meets two young white men, Billy and Robert, who later show up at Mazie’s house. Amidst a fight that breaks out, Mazie draws a gun on Robert, and after Zelda takes it from her, Zelda shoots Robert as he tries to take the gun from her. After coming up with a cover, knowing their precarious position, they agree to pin the blame on Billy, knowing that even if Zelda admits to self-defence she will not be believed. A while later, as the girls drive out of town, they’re pulled over, and taken to the local police station for Billy’s murder, and then the nearby military base. 
Culminating in Zelda finding out that Daniel has confessed to killing Robert, One Night in Georgia is a deeply heart wrenching tale of self-discovery, history, and collective national memory. Norfleet’s characters are wonderful—their motivations evident, and their desire to change the world heart-warming. Finding one’s place in a larger history is one of the most important themes of this novel—how does one grapple with a history that harms them? The power of narrative and national memory drives this novel and make it an exceedingly compelling read—being extremely relevant themes in politics today as well. 
A must-read for anyone interested in historical fiction, One Night in Georgia is part of our Summer Reading List for 2019.
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I've been a fan of Celeste Norfleet's work since her first book, Priceless Gift, was released, so I was excited to see that she was releasing a women's fiction novel. I absolutely loved One Night in Georgia. The characters were real and relatable, and the story kept me enthralled from beginning to end.
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Unfortunately I couldn't get into this one. The promise sounded great, but the way the book was written felt very YA. Not sure if that was what was intended, but it's not what I was looking for. Would recommend this more to younger readers.
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Terminator 1968. This book seems accurate for the time, settings, and characterizations portrayed. Having grown up a couple of decades later in rural Ga outside of Atlanta and even in part - my grandmother and step grandfather lived there for a while when I was a kid - in one of the very Counties named in the book, even as a white man of the post-race era, this feels pretty damn accurate in its depictions. My only real quibble is that I can speak from experience that it isn't race, but economic class, that drives much of the same treatment described in this text. Regardless, the book does an amazing job of spinning a fictional yet realistic tale around one tumultuous summer in our not distant past. The entire book in hind sight feels like it is leading up to one particular moment that it shares with the original Terminator movie, and just as that particular scene is what ultimately made me love the Terminator franchise as much as I do, this book's version of it really cements this tale as simply stupendous. Truly great work, and very much recommended.
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It is the summer of 1968 (before my time). It is an unfortunate part of our history marked by the tragic assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., race riots and political protests. Zelda Livingston, Veronica Cook and Daphne Brooks head to Atlanta for their senior year at Spelman College.

As is the case for most longtime friends, the three women come from different backgrounds. Zelda comes from a line of freedom riders. Veronica grew up privileged and wealthy, strongly believing in racial uplift. Daphne lost her black mother to suicide and was abandoned by her white father. These young black women have every intention to create lasting memories on this road trip.

I cannot imagine having to travel with a special guidebook to find racially friendly gas stations, food or rest stops. Yet these women had to. Things start going awry as they reach the Mason-Dixon line. A racially hostile situation leaves a white person dead and one of the girls holding the smoking gun.

If that was not clear enough, let me say it directly: I DNF (did not finish) One Night in Georgia. The premise seemed promising but it was way too much dialogue. Enough saying; more describing! I read further than my 50-Page Rule because I really wanted to get through it but nope. I hope someone else has better luck getting through it.

Happy Early Pub Day, Celeste O. Norfleet. One Night in Georgia will be available Tuesday, June 18.

LiteraryMarie
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For 300 plus pages this was a quick read. One Night in Georgia by Celeste O. Norfleet is set in the summer of the 60’s when several friends head off to college driving from New York to Atlanta Georgia and all the racism, violence the endure along the way.  The plot and twist and turn really had me on the edge of my seat. Easy read that will have you biting your nails waiting to see what happens next. 

Thank you, NetGalley & Harper Collins/Amistad Publishing, for this copy in exchange for an honest review.  3.5 out of 5.
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I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley.  I must say I was a little skeptical because of the author's name.  To me, she is known for writing romance books.  A genre I do not read very often.  But I was intrigued  after reading the description and also because I am originally from Georgia.  But this book was anything but romance. There was a little romance but it was not taking over the book and the romantic scenes were fleshed out more so I could tell it was her regular writing genre.  One night in Georgia is a good title because just one night changed everyone's lives forever.  Even though this story takes place in 1968, I could unfortunately, see it still taking place in 2019.   Great job, Mrs. Norfleet.
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My Thoughts: This is a tough one to review without sounding insensitive to the realities of life for African Americans in the U.S., especially the South, in the late 1960’s. Let’s start with the parts that really worked for me. One Night in Georgia features three young women traveling by car from NYC to Atlanta to start their final year of college at Spelman. The female friendships and excitement of a road trip were what drew me to this novel. Celeste O. Norfleet created three very different women, all struggling with the implications of being both female and black in the 60’s. I liked these woman and the three very different stories behind each of them. I appreciated their strong bonds, and their longing for a little freedom and an adventure.

Racism was pervasive and something they’d lived with their whole lives, but each also grew up with some privilege in their lives which was no longer protecting them on their journey through the South. As the book moved on and the girls moved closer to Atlanta, racism became more and more open and much more dangerous. What bothered me about the book was how so many awful events were packed into a journey of less than a week.

“No. It’s not the kiss. Not really. It’s everything – you, me, all of this. I guess I’m overwhelmed. I don’t know what to think anymore, or what to expect next. It feels like I’m haphazardly tumbling from situation to situation.”

Exactly! It bothered me that three very intelligent girls (and a man traveling with them) made choice after choice that they knew was risky. Yes, they were young and wanted to have fun, but at some point it seems they should have reached out for help, or turned around. One Night in Georgia was just a little too extreme for me, and to top it off, there was one of those neat and tidy epilogues that are just unnecessary. 

Note: I received a copy of this book from Amistad (via NetGalley) in exchange for my honest review.
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I enjoyed this unique book! The setting is America in the late 1960's - certainly a poignant period of American history. A group of African Americans are traveling from NYC to Georgia for the start of senior year of college. However their journey is full of suspenseful moments based on race. An important and thought-proving read! 

Thank you, HarperCollins and NetGalley for a digital ARC!
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I found the synopsis of this book interesting, but this book was disappointing.  The book takes place in 1968.  Three young women from the north, Zelda, Veronica and Daphne decide to drive from New York to Georgia where they are attending college in a new convertible.  Daniel, who is also attending college near by joins them to serve as a protector or an escort.  As one can imagine, young black folks driving in the south during this period was dangerous, and the group found themselves often in situations that put them at great risk.  In one such situation, a white an is dead, and the authorities is looking at them. 

The naivety of the women in this were too unbelievable for me.  Event for people from the north. I find it hard to believe that in the 1960s, a group of young black women would be as naive as the women were in this book.  The first issue was that this road trip was a good idea and the second  issue was how unprepared they were for any potential trouble that they may run into.  It didn’t seem that the characters even anticipated even the smallest trouble.  I struggle very much this.  These young black college kids riding in a brand new convertible, didn’t think they would catch the attention of racist  or racists cops in the south?  It was hard for me to buy into this.  The characters in dialogues spoke of the conditions blacks were facing, but yet were not prepared or foresaw the potential conditions they themselves may face on their way to the south.  I found the characters naivety too unbelievable given the backdrop for this story.
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The main character—Zelda Livingston—is strong and ambitious. She’s dealt with a lot of tragedy in her life and thats made her focused on making a difference in the world. Its also informed her decision-making in a major way: everything in her world is black or white. 

There is no room for gray. 

Understanding that, her decision to take a trip, through the south, with friends who can only be described as willfully ignorant (at best) and completely oblivious (at worst) was questionable.

Daphne (a girl who could “pass” for white) and Veronica (who comes from a family of old money), decide a senior year road trip, from New York to Georgia, would be a great way to kickoff their final year at Spelman College. 

The trip is long and the girls, along with a young man named Daniel—an escort sent to them by Zelda’s parents and for whom Zelda develops feelings—meet with trouble at every turn: they nearly get caught in a sundown town, Daniel nearly gets arrested after being “mistaken” as an escaped convict, they have a tense run-in with some Black Panthers, endure a scuffle with some white folks on a beach ...the trip is not ideal. At all. 

While most of the drama is avoidable, you get the sense, very early, that these girls have different views of what the world is versus what it should be; such discussions color every negative encounter and, depending on your level of awareness you’ll either be annoyed or frustrated by the discussions. 

By the time trip comes to its end, it’s clear something awful is going to happen. I won’t go into details as to what because it would give away too much; I’ll only say I disagreed with the way she handled one of the characters: I felt they deserved a better end and, given the utopian way other situations were handled, it felt cruel to use their portion of the story in such a manipulative manner.

Overall, the book was very engaging and held my interest from cover to cover, but I was disappointed by the ending and also felt one of the characters mental health issue could’ve been handled in a less dismissive manner.


Thank you to Netgalley for this Advanced eGalley. My opinion was not influenced by the promotional receipt of this work
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This book is one that may have more resonance with African Americans, particularly women, yet it is still a book for everyone to read. It's a nail biting novel of three college girls taking a week to drive back to school in a flashy convertible from New York to Atlanta in 1968. The main character, Zelda knows this is a mistake but joins her friends. Of course danger is ahead and they have surprisingly good interactions with some whites, and predictable racist police. 

I found it hard to get placed into the novel. Zelda stood out, and though her other two friends had different characters they were difficult to identify at times. Actually several times I would get lost on understanding who was talking with the large group of people in the room. 

Somewhat early in the book we find out some disturbing information about one of the friends. One would expect there to be more in the book, but no it seems to be forgotten. I'm not sure why this would be brought up if only to be ignored. 

Despite the topic manner it is a quick easy read. There's a bit of romance thrown in that seems to help ease up on some of the tension. 

Book rating: 3.5 stars
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I have very mixed feelings about this book. In 1968, three college women and an initially-unwanted college man decide to drive back to school from New York. Naive Veronica, whose father is forcing her to marry against her will for business reasons, takes her brand new, bright red Ford Fairlane convertible and packs it with her friends Daphne--a fragile flower--and Zelda, the novel's protagonist and a putative lawyer for civil rights. Daniel, attending college near the women, goes along to ostensibly protect them. But this isn't a simple road trip, because driving through the South in 1968 while black is incredibly dangerous, and Zelda, Daphne, and Veronica are headed to Spelman College, and Daniel attends Morehouse University. Passing through sundown towns and dealing with racist and brutal cops, gas station attendants, restaurants, and more--and encountering a few decent white and black people along the way--Zelda and Daniel fall in love, Veronica and Daphne realize the importance of Zelda's work in civil rights, and things go wrong and stay that way when the group is involved in the shooting of a white man. 

On the one hand, this novel does an excellent job of illustrating just how dangerous it was--and often still is--to be black in the American South, On the other, the characters in this novel make such unbelievably foolish choices and do such vacuous things that I wanted to yell at them all. The story is a tragedy, and one based in racism, but the author could have written the same tragedy without having made the women all be so dismissive or ignorant of their surroundings.
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This book is one that will stay with you for a long time. Three friends, driving back to college in Georgia in the 60’s. All are smart and all have something they are running from. When they embark on their journey, they allow us to ride with them. A young man meets them as a favor to one of the ladies stepfather because he is asked to. What they all encounter on this trip will take you through a variety of emotions. The actions of this book will keep you reading until the last page. Another outstanding read from this very talented author. Thanks to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for the arc of this book in return for my honest review. Receiving the book in this manner had no bearing on my review.
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