Cover Image: The Light Always Breaks

The Light Always Breaks

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Gosh, I love Angela’s writing. She writes such dimensional characters, I often feel like I am right there in the room with them. Although this story takes place in Jim Crow era Washington DC, I found there were quite a few parallels that could be drawn to issues we are currently facing. Without giving anything away there is racial injustice, politics, love, loss and at the very heart of it all humanity.

Eva is our main character and who the novel is based around. She is a young, successful African American women who is carving her way in the world. She owns and operates an upscale restaurant in Washington DC and is doing her part to challenge segregation laws in place at that time. During a chance encounter at one of her parties, Eva meets and begins to fall for Courtland; a rich, white senator from Georgia who is progressive but his family and the party he represents are not. As the story unravels, her restaurant and relationship with Courtland are both challenged and her life is out at risk. Eva must decide what path to take and how it will effect not only her future, but also those she loves and the things she is fighting for.

Many thanks to Angela Jackson-Brown, Harper Muse, and Goodreads for a digital copy of this book. I read and reviewed this voluntarily and opinions expressed here are unbiased and entirely my own. This book is available for purchase as of July 5th, 2022

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The Light Always Breaks by Angela Jackson-Brown gives the reader a detailed look into a historically rich period in our nation’s capital. Civil rights are front and center in this story as Eva Cardon, a brilliant, strong, and ambitious woman of color, falls for a white junior Senator from Georgia, Courtland Kingsley IV. Tensions are high and danger is close as the unlikely couple fights for equality.
The characters in this story are well crafted and so vibrant. I fell in love with Eva immediately. She is a savvy businesswoman and entrepreneur but also a passionate and generous individual. I loved the vision she had for her restaurants and her desire to use her success to make life better for all the people in her community. But even the supporting characters in the story will capture your attention and add to the charm of the neighborhood.
I found the setting of this story fascinating. I haven’t read many books set in this period or in this location (Washington D.C.). The author did a fabulous job of painting the landscape of U Street and its businesses as well as all the larger-than-life personalities who passed through their doors. But the story also highlights the disgusting absence of justice and the overwhelming presence of evil racism and segregation brought to D.C.
While I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of this story. I did find the ending a bit abrupt and surprising. However, it didn’t ruin the book for me.
Overall, I enjoyed the unique look into history and the memorable characters that filled the pages of this book. If you enjoyed Angela Jackson-Brown’s first novel, you will be pleased to see a few characters make an appearance in The Light Always Breaks.
I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectations of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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I was really intrigued by the description of the plot of this book. Civil Rights in DC in the late 1940s and the story of a woman running her own restaurant sounded like it could be an insightful read. Unfortunately, I felt that it just hit a little flat. The story was slow to start, and the ending left a lot to be desired when it came to the fate of the main characters of Eva and Courtland.

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Jackson-Brown introduces us to Washington, DC post WWII, 1947. A time with Jim Crow laws and racism were so deeply ingrained, they were like tattoos on one’s skin. Segregation is strictly enforced, as if black people were/are the plague. But also, during this time, the Civil Rights Movement is happening. The fight for black people to gain justice for at least, separate but equal. Jackson-Brown tells of one such woman who breaks that barrier during this time.

Meet Eva Cardon. Strong, Independent, Feisty and the owner of the popular upscale, affluent DC restaurant. At only 24 she is the “ONLY” Black person owned restaurateur in DC, to cater to the who is who in America.
One day she locks eyes on Georgia Senator Courtland Kingsley IV, they at once are attracted to one another, but he just happens to be white. They both know that they can never truly be, but they still fall for each other.

Kingsley states that he stands for the people in private with Eva, knowing that she is a strong civil rights activist. However, his senatorial record from Georgia contradicts what his words are saying. Nor will he stand publicly and say it, because he does not want to lose his Senators seat. It is more like he wants to have his cake and eat it too, and what’s said in the dark, stays in the dark.

Eva offers up her restaurant so they can hold the civil rights meetings, which turns out to be a disaster with the police. The police brutality is a too unkind version (reminder) of what type of brutality the police actually inflict upon black people. Just because they can, because no one will really do anything about it, no one will believe black people. Funny! No one paid attention then, no one pays attention really now. Sad!
Jackson Brown brings authenticity by adding historical figures to Eva’s New Year’s venue such as Adam Clayton Powell Jr and his wife Hazel Scott, Count Bassie and even JFK.

Eva’s familial history being biracial herself, (her father being a white man with his own white family.) and her sister Frederique who is not part of the civil rights movement, but lives in a world against which she too is segregated. They bicker and disagree yet have the most beautiful bond. A never-ending love filled with support shared between the two, a beautiful bond between two sisters which is refreshing.

Jackson-Brown gives you a Romeo and Juliet love story between Eva and Kingsley.
During the time period they knew they would never make it. They would both have to sacrifice something that neither was willing to sacrifice. Not to mention the risk to their safety at every turn.

They say "THE PAST CANNOT COME BACK", but it sure as "HELL" can "TRY"!.

Jackson-Brown is a strong vocalist for equality.

If you overlook the flaws that are present in the book, you will see the point she is trying to deliver.


Question is: “DID YOU HEAR HER?”

Jackson-Brown got 5 stars but rounded down to 4.5 just for the repetition. But I did understand her viewpoint perfectly. Matter of fact, I am going to keep it 5.

Kudos to you!!!!


Thank you Angela Jackson-Brown/Harper Muse/NetGalley/ For this advance eARC. My review is my own and I was under no obligation to leave one.

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Thank you to Harper Muse for the free e-ARC of The Light Always Breaks by Angela Jackson-Brown.

I really enjoyed the historical setting of this book, Washington DC in 1948, and focus on the Civil Rights movement. I loved the historical figures such as Mary McLeod Bethune popping in and out, and it made sense due to Eva's involvement in the movement. I LOVED Eva standing up for what she believes in in terms of her politics.

What I couldn't get into was the romance! Eva was constantly disappointed by Courtland's inaction and "moderate" political stance, and she kept bringing up their fundamental differences, not only in race, but in their desire to create real change. I just couldn't believe that she fell for him as hard as she did.

I also found that the writing wasn't as immersive as I had hoped. It was a bit heavy-handed, a bit repetitive, and a little clunky. Overall, I liked this book but didn't love it.

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The Light Always Breaks by Angela Jackson-Brown, published July 5, 2022, is historical fiction about an interracial love story in 1947 between a young, successful restaurant owner who vigorously supports the civil rights battle and the junior senator from Georgia who struggles with the conflict between his heart for working toward change and his father's political ambitions for him

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres because of exactly what this book does: it reminds me of the human struggle and cost of so many things that I take for granted. Jackson-Brown does that well in this story. The fight for equality was impossibly hard and often catastrophic, yet courageous people stepped up again and again to make sure that good changes happened, even if they didn't happen in their own lifetimes. While Eva's story may at times have bordered on the saccharine, I had to know how she and Courtland were going to solve the impossible situation our country's history put them in.

If you need a story that will remind you of the value of both love for one person as well as love for humanity, this may be the one.

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I don't think my heart will ever be the same after reading this beautiful story! Eva and Courtland are star-crossed lovers; set in 1947, Eva is a biracial woman and the owner of Washington D.C.'s most famous Black-owned restaurant, and Courtland is a white senator from Georgia. Their attraction to each other is undeniable, but they live in a racist and volatile society. Both are trying to navigate the way between their hearts and their minds, knowing that their relationship could literally endanger both of their lives. Both are trying to do right by their families and their peers. I feel like this story resonated with my soul on so many levels. Not only do I have a white mother and black father, but also I am biracial and married to a white man. The struggles of those who have come before me are not lost on me, and I am forever grateful for those who have paved the path for my generation. I was so invested in Eva and Courtland's relationship, and I'll say this- this book left me crying my eyes out, much like Angela's previous book, When Stars Rain Down. Angela Jackson Brown knows how to break your heart and put it back together again, and a moment I didn't see coming was a sucker punch right to the gut. I love a book that makes me think and feel, and this one did both. The Light Always Breaks is out now, and you'd be doing yourself a favor to pick it up when you get the chance. Thank you to the author for sending me a digital copy of this book!

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I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley. This is my first time reading something from this author. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, so I was pleasantly surprised. It’s an incredible read which left me in tears by the end.

I mean, sure, I knew it was impossible that this story could have a happy ending, considering the circumstances. It was 1948. I don’t think there was anywhere in the United States where Eva and Courtland could have found their happily-ever-after, but hope springs eternal, I guess. In true Shakespearean tragedy fashion, Eva and Courtland are destined for heartache, but like Romeo and Juliet, they know what their hearts want, even if no one else wants them to have it. But there’s something about Eva and Courtland’s story that’s even more heartbreaking because it’s not make-believe, and still within recent memory. It’s not some silly family feud kind of situation. It’s reality. It’s our shameful history. And it makes that history concrete and palpable, something that the reader can easily feel and suffer along with the characters, which is something that can never be gleaned from a history book. This is living history, in that the reader is compelled to live something that happened countless times to countless people over too many years.

Fiction is a tool to help the reader feel the experiences of other people, possibly people with whom they have nothing in common. What we discover is that the human experience is what ties us all together. It takes a monster to be offered a window into the struggles of someone else and think they deserved it. To be unaffected by the pain of someone else is to show a total lack of compassion, and really, humanity.

There are those who would like to take us back to this time—a time when America was “great.” Unfortunately, I don’t think reading something like this can have an impact on minds that have already been closed to anything that contradicts their worldview. I’d like to be wrong about that. Luckily, there are others, people like me, who feel compassion on a mostly theoretical level because we have never personally experienced the struggles of those who are different. This is where books like this, fictional in only the strictest sense of the world, can have the biggest impact. Sure, every situation is different, but having a touchstone for comprehending things is enormously helpful to those who want to understand. Add this to your list of books to read before it gets banned for revealing too much history.

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#NetGalley published 7/5/2022


It's 1947. Eva knows getting into a relationship with a white senator is a bad idea. Cortland knows that getting involved with a black activist/business woman is a bad idea. They just can't seem to stay away from each other.

The first 1/4 of this book is all about politics. Was not a fan of that part. Then when the book finally gets into relationships, I started to get sucked in and enjoyed it. I have to say that I did not enjoy this book nearly as much as I did her other book When The Stars Rain Down.

I wish I had more to say I out this book. I wanted to love this book. I just didn't. 😔

#bookstagram #bookreview #booknerd #readingaddiction #wantedtoloveit

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It's 1947, and racial tensions are high in America when Courtland Kingsley, a white senator, locks eyes with Eva Cardon the black restaurant owner who happens to be a civil rights activist and the most incredible woman he’s ever met.

Still, their love story isn’t as straightforward as it might have been. While equally taken with the senator, Eva isn’t sure that marriage is something she wants in the first place, not to mention, marriage with a white senator.

Kingsley is passionately in love with Eva, but knows that associating himself with a black woman could cripple his political aspirations. But then someone attempts to take Eva's life and Kingsley realizes that she means too much, for him to just let her go.

I adore Eva. I loved how passionate, ambitious and level-headed she was and I loved that the questions she faced were not just, which man to choose, but whether marriage was the path she wanted for her life.

I love how Angela Jackson-Brown writes real, complicated people. People whose heads aren't caught in the stars and who know how messy real-life is and are willing to shake it by its metaphorical shoulders if need be.

While I found myself skimming quite often, ‘The Light Always Breaks,’ still kept me riveted and turning the page. And I enjoyed getting to revisit characters from the companion novel, "When Stars Rain Down". Jackson-Brown has a knack for writing tight knit family relationships and immersing us in the experiences of her characters.

The ending did leave me disappointed. While I felt the loose ends were mostly tied up and I didn’t mind that Eva and Courtland didn’t end up getting married, I wanted her to make that decision for herself. I wanted her to choose for herself, either marriage or her career, or both. That this choice was made for her, left me feeling a tad letdown.
🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩END SPOILER🚩🚩🚩🚩🚩

-Language (though not excessive)
-Closed door 💝
-TW: Police violence, racism and mentions of PTSD

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I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

I enjoyed the book - I found it provided a different perspective on the civil rights movement which was depicted through the life and eyes of the main character who is a female African -American restaurateur. It was both refreshing and insightful to see how women were involved in the civil rights movement. This was well presented.

The book touched on many themes, namely the civil rights movement, women’s role in the civil rights movement , colorism, race relations, and women and careers. I liked the themes and how the writer put them across. This was well carried out. I recommend this is a good book for literature students, women studies students and students of history.

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Angela's most recent novel, When Stars Rain Down, was published in 2021 and is a historical fiction story set in 1930s Georgia, and has been nominated for several awards. Angela also has a new novel coming out in July called The Light Always Breaks set in post-WW 2 Washington, DC which features political and romantic intrigue between a high-powered interracial couple. These are stand-alone novels but what is cool is that these books’ characters are in the same fictional universe so readers get a chance to reconnect with characters they may have met before.

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Post-WWII Washington DC, finds Eva Cardon and her sister Frédérique living in a racially divided city. Their father was a white man who had a white family. He never acknowledged their negro mother or them. Frédérique has married a Baptist minister and is not actively engaged in the struggle for civil rights. Eva is a successful restauranteur and is more visible in the civil rights fight. When a white senator from Georgia and Eva fall for each other, bad things start to happen.

The Light Always Breaks, by Angela Jackson-Brown, brings the struggle for civil rights to the story of these two sisters. It enlightens us as to what this issue meant to individuals. I was able to read this on #NetGalley.

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There were many parts I really liked about this historical fiction novel about an inter racial couple in the late 1940’s. The story was heart wrenching. However, I didn’t particularly like the ending. Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an advanced reader’s copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Well written historical fiction.Astory that drew me inv kept me turning the pages.The characters the time in history made this a strong read.#netgalley #harpermuse.

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The Light Always Breaks by Angela Jackson-Brown was a great book. I really enjoyed her first novel, and this one outshone it quite a bit! The book is about Eva and Courtland. Eva is a young black woman who owns a restaurant in Washington DC in the late nineteen forties. Courtland is a white US senator from Georgia. When the two meet, there is attraction, but they know that nothing more can come of it. However, the heart is strong when it knows what it wants. As they struggle to figure out if they should be together or how to be together, their world is torn apart by racial injustice. Can they find hope for the future? I truly wondered the entire book how it was all going to work out. I won't tell you what happened, because you need to read it for yourself and see. Just be ready to smile, to cry, and to laugh out loud. Thanks to NetGalley for the chance to read and review this book. All opinions are my own.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction novel centering around a star-crossed, interracial relationship in 1940s Washington DC. It explored the themes of what was going on in the US during the post WWII time period in regards to civil rights and equality through the lens of a relationship between a young black female business owner and a white senator as they both fought for racial equality. The story and the characters were rich and I found the book to be engaging and delightfully readable. I’d highly recommend to lovers of historical fiction!

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Eva Cardon is a Black restaurateur living in DC she is passionate about two things her business and the civil rights of her people. That is until she meets the country boy Georgia Senator Courtland Kingsley IV who claims to be an ally, wants to see the advancement of her people, privately that may be the truth, however his senate record proves differently. Yet they form an unlikely friendship simmering with attraction. Can Courtland and Eva find lasting love and family in the 1940s DC when racial miscegenation is forbidden? Pick up The Light Always Breaks and read their love for yourself.

The Light Always Breaks is beautiful love story wrapped in rich DC history, with strong yet vulnerable characters including actual historical figures. I really enjoyed how Jackson-Brown spilled the tea on these characters or wrote cheeky forshadowing of their futures. Yet the strongest aspect of the book was its dialogue, unlike some authors Angela Jackson-Brown never shied away from the problems plaguing America at that time to make this interracial love story more palatable. Courtland was a strong character but the author never utilizes the white man savior trope and Eva was a fiercely independent and a diligent worker but Jackson-Brown allowed her to be vulnerable and defly avoided tge strong Black woman stigma. In sum, this novel is great relationship fiction with a wonderfymul love story that accurately displays the social ills of that time by utilizing the dangers of forbidden love. One of my favorite reads of the year.

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This was a good book, but it could have been a great book. It highlights a time and place that may not be familiar to a lot of contemporary readers: Washington, DC and Georgia in the years immediately after World War Two, specifically, 1948. This was a time when segregation was the law and Negroes (as they would have termed it at the time) did not have equal rights, to put it lightly. The author makes the point repeatedly, assuming that it had to be driven home over and over again, which I think was a mistake. (Example: she had characters detail the riots of 1919 at least two times.) It was more effective when she showed the daily indignities and outright racism faced by Negroes.

Nevertheless, the story was an interesting one, featuring a young Negro businesswoman, Eva, who owns her own high-end restaurant in DC, based on her family’s New Orleans cuisine. She mixes with a lot of the upper crust of Negro society in her restaurant and in her civil rights activism. The author includes a good number of real people in the story, most especially Representative Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., his wife Hazel Scott, and Mary McLeod Bethune. She also name-drops a lot of others, including Count Basie, Paul Robeson, and John F. Kennedy.

The story is kind of a Romeo-and-Juliet theme, featuring Eva and a young white Senator from Georgia, Courtland, whose attraction is a sort of insta-love. Their relationship is deemed an impossible one in that time and place. Courtland wants to support the civil rights movement but is afraid of losing his Senate seat if he goes too far (people were accusing President Truman of moving too far, too fast in the same regard.) I enjoyed a kind of inside look at how the civil rights movement in the 1940s worked and the internal conflict of “should we move faster or be patient” among its movers and shakers. The police force in DC does not come out well in this story.

Unfortunately I was disappointed in the ending. It felt like a kind of cop out, with nothing really being resolved in terms of Eva and Courtland. I can’t say more without it being a spoiler.

While I received the eARC from NetGalley, I wound up bouncing between reading and listening to the published audiobook. The narrators, Joniece Abbot–Pratt and Neill Thorne, were terrific. Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Muse for the opportunity to read an advance readers copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

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this was a good read and I'm glad I was given the opportunity to read it. The writing was well done.

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