Book Review: The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth H. Winthrop

The Mercy Seat - Elizabeth H. Winthrop

Winthrop’s latest novel, The Mercy Seat, publishes June 14th.

bookdescription

As the sun begins to set over Louisiana one October day in 1943, a young black man faces the final hours of his life: at midnight, eighteen-year-old Willie Jones will be executed by electric chair for raping a white girl – a crime some believe he did not commit.

In a tale taut with tension, events unfold hour by hour from the perspectives of nine people involved. They include Willie himself, who knows what really happened, and his father, desperately trying to reach the town jail to see his son one last time; the prosecuting lawyer, haunted by being forced to seek the death penalty against his convictions, and his wife, who believes Willie to be innocent; the priest who has become a friend to Willie; and a mother whose only son is fighting in the Pacific, bent on befriending her black neighbours in defiance of her husband.

In this exceptionally powerful novel, Elizabeth Winthrop explores matters of justice, racism and the death penalty in a fresh, subtle and profoundly affecting way. Her kaleidoscopic narrative allows us to inhabit the lives of her characters and see them for what they are – complex individuals, making fateful choices we might not condone, but can understand. Continue reading “Book Review: The Mercy Seat by Elizabeth H. Winthrop”

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Book Review: Refugee by Alan Gratz

Refugee - Alan Gratz

The theme for Diverse Books Club this month is: immigrant and refugee experiences. After reading the synopsis for Refugee, I knew it was a read I would be joining them in.

From the back cover:

JOSEF is a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany. With the threat of concentration camps looming, he and his family board a ship bound for the other side of the world . . .

ISABEL is a Cuban girl in 1994. With riots and unrest plaguing her country, she and her family set out on a raft, hoping to find safety in America . . .

MAHMOUD is a Syrian boy in 2015. With his homeland torn apart by violence and destruction, he and his family begin a long trek toward Europe . . .

All three kids go on harrowing journeys in search of refuge. All will face unimaginable dangers — from drownings to bombings to betrayals. But there is always the hope of tomorrow. And although Josef, Isabel, and Mahmoud are separated by continents and decades, shocking connections will tie their stories together in the end. Continue reading “Book Review: Refugee by Alan Gratz”

Book Review: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Underground Railroad - Colson Whitehead

I’d not heard of this book until Diverse Books Club announced it as one of their September reads. Naturally, after reading the synopsis, I had to get myself a copy and join in.

Book Description:

Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. All the slaves lead a hellish existence, but Cora has it worse than most; she is an outcast even among her fellow Africans and she is approaching womanhood, where it is clear even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a slave recently arrived from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they take the perilous decision to escape to the North.

In Whitehead’s razor-sharp imagining of the antebellum South, the Underground Railroad has assumed a physical form: a dilapidated box car pulled along subterranean tracks by a steam locomotive, picking up fugitives wherever it can. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But its placid surface masks an infernal scheme designed for its unknowing black inhabitants. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher sent to find Cora, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.

At each stop on her journey, Cora encounters a different world. As Whitehead brilliantly recreates the unique terrors for black people in the pre-Civil War era, his narrative seamlessly weaves the saga of America, from the brutal importation of Africans to the unfulfilled promises of the present day. The Underground Railroad is at once the story of one woman’s ferocious will to escape the horrors of bondage and a shatteringly powerful meditation on history. Continue reading “Book Review: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead”

Bookish Rambling: Online Book Clubs

Free stock photo of wood, coffee, cup, relaxation

I’ve neglected bookish rambling posts of late, so I’m making an extra special effort to do more of them – starting with today’s post about online book clubs. I run my own online book club and readalong with several others, so I thought it’d be cool to share with you the book clubs I readalong with. I tend to dip in and out of most of them based on the book/s they’re reading. This post won’t be anything to complex, just a quick look at the book clubs, what books they’re reading and how you can take part. Obviously, I’m going I’m going to start with my own…

Criminally Good Book Club

Platform: Instagram – @criminallygoodbookclub (search hashtag: #cgbookclub)

Genre: Crime, mystery, thriller, suspense (books are voted on by book club members)

Moderator: Janel @keeperofpages Co-host: Ashley @b00ksinparadise

How to get involved: Follow on Instagram, readers are encouraged to use the hashtag so members can find each other and your photos may be re-posted on the book club account. Discussions are held at the end of the month on Instagram.

What they’re reading in September: Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine Continue reading “Bookish Rambling: Online Book Clubs”

#DiverseATHON *Buddy Read* Book Review: Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino

jutms-keigo-higashino

After a thoroughly enjoyable buddy read of Different Class by Joanne Harris, which you can read all about here, the blog has returned to Vienna, Austria – this time myself and Caecilia paired up to read Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino. We read this book as part of #diverseATHON, a week long readathon/celebration of diversity in literature (12-19 Sept), created by 4 booktubers. More information about #diverseATHON and its creators can be found over at Book Riot.

I hope you enjoy our spoiler-free review of this book by one of Japan’s best-selling crime fiction authors – Keigo Higashino and please join our discussion in the comments regarding diversity in reading.

Continue reading “#DiverseATHON *Buddy Read* Book Review: Journey Under the Midnight Sun by Keigo Higashino”