by Afia Atakora
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Pub Date 07 Apr 2020 | Archive Date Not set
Random House Publishing Group - Random House, Random House
LONGLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION FIRST NOVEL PRIZE • NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY The New York Times • NPR • Parade • Book Riot • PopMatters
“Lush, irresistible . . . It took me into the hearts of women I could otherwise never know. I was transported.”—Amy Bloom, New York Times bestselling author of White Houses and Away
Conjure Women is a sweeping story that brings the world of the South before and after the Civil War vividly to life. Spanning eras and generations, it tells of the lives of three unforgettable women: Miss May Belle, a wise healing woman; her precocious and observant daughter Rue, who is reluctant to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a midwife; and their master’s daughter Varina. The secrets and bonds among these women and their community come to a head at the beginning of a war and at the birth of an accursed child, who sets the townspeople alight with fear and a spreading superstition that threatens their newly won, tenuous freedom.
Magnificently written, brilliantly researched, richly imagined, Conjure Women moves back and forth in time to tell the haunting story of Rue, Varina, and May Belle, their passions and friendships, and the lengths they will go to save themselves and those they love.
Praise for Conjure Women
“[A] haunting, promising debut . . . Through complex characters and bewitching prose, Atakora offers a stirring portrait of the power conferred between the enslaved women. This powerful tale of moral ambiguity amid inarguable injustice stands with Esi Edugyan’s Washington Black.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“An engrossing debut . . . Atakora structures a plot with plenty of satisfying twists. Life in the immediate aftermath of slavery is powerfully rendered in this impressive first novel.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Available on NetGalley
Conjure Women by Afia Atakora is a haunting and mesmerizing historical fiction set in the South during the Civil War Era.
The novel focusses on Miss May Belle and her daughter Miss Rue in rotating chapters thus also exposing the reader to two generations of African American Women during their years as slaves on a plantation, as well as the years immediately following encompassing the aftermath of “freedom”.
There were several things that I loved about this novel.
1. I loved the alternate viewpoint of Rue and her mother and the Author’s stunning ability to interweave different two different characters and life stories in two different time frames in what seems to be in a random pattern, but in fact is purposefully laid out to slowly unfold therefore, allowing the reader to piece together the intricate puzzle into a glorious masterpiece.
2. I loved the imagery, culture, and the dialect. I literally felt as if I was there. The rich and exquisite culture of Rue’s village was breathtaking.
3. The strength and heart that was needed to do justice to innocent lives permanently affected. It was hard to read some of the things that happened, but it is important to bring these trials to light and keep them on remembrance. I thank the Author for this privilege.
This is a stunning novel and I loved every moment of it.
Thank you NetGalley and Random House for this great ARC and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.
I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon and B&N accounts upon publication.
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