The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson
This dual storyline novel follows two young Black women in 1950s Philadelphia and Washington DC — Ruby, a girl who hopes to be the first in her family to someday attend college and Eleanor, who attends Howard University and for the first time is learning about class and colorism within the Black community. Ruby has a forbidden romance with a Jewish boy. Eleanor marries into a wealthy Black family and is looked down upon by her mother-in-law. Their two stories eventually connect in a beautiful way.
I love when a book follows more than one character’s journey and is building toward something bigger than one story alone. I learned so much about a particular piece of history that I’m intentionally leaving out here for spoilery reasons. A solid read I’m still thinking about.
The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann
The Wager opens with two ramshackle boats founds months apart near South America in 1742. The emaciated men aboard both are survivors of the British warship, The Wager. One group is mutinous, the other not. Who should be believed?
There are so many interesting things to consider in this true story reconstructed from first-hand accounts. Should a person in charge be obeyed without question? What if you believe his leadership is misguided or even to blame for your situation? How will you shape written records to support your narrative? (Believe me, there were a lot of written narratives in this story!)
I am a sucker for survival stories and have read several versions of Alexander Selkirk’s experience ( the man who inspired Robinson Crusoe and whose story holds many similarities with this one.) The poet Lord Byron’s grandfather was one of The Wager’s castaways whose journals helped build this book (and years later influenced his grandson’s work). Intriguing.
While Everyone is Sleeping by Sarah Mackenzie, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard
Years ago I edited this book for Sarah through my Writing One to One critique service. And now here it is, published and absolutely beautiful. Look at these endpapers. See what I mean?
Little Shrew leaves bed for a nighttime garden adventure full of fireflies and fluttering moths and trumpeting moonflowers. She discovers this magical event that happens when the moonflowers open goes on every night “while everyone is sleeping.” Both cozy and adventurous, this book is a celebration of wonder and nature’s beauty. Find yourself a copy and curl up with a little one to share.