Saturday, February 3, 2018

#ReadSoulLit Day 3: A Family Saga



I love a good family saga! These are a few of the ones on my shelf that are written by African American writers. If you have a favorite family saga that you think that I would enjoy let me know so that I can check them out! 

I hope that you are following and enjoying the #readsoullit hastag on Instagram and Twitter. There's so many awesome people sharing some great reads!


Far From the Tree by Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant: Celeste English and Ronnie Frazier are sisters, but they couldn't be more different. Celeste is a doctor's wife, living a perfect and elegant life. But secretly, she is terrified: her marriage is falling apart and her need to control the people around her threatens to alienate her entire family. And Celeste allows no one to see how vulnerable she really is. Ronnie is an actress, living in New York. Her life, however, is a lie: she has no money, has no home, and her life is held together by "chewing gum, paper clips, and spit," though she wants everyone to think that her life is one of high glamour and budding fame. When their father dies, the sisters inherit a house in Prosper, North Carolina. Their mother, Della, is adamant that they forget about going there and dredging up the past. Because Della has secrets she'd rather not see come to light-secrets and heartbreak she's kept from everyone for years. Neither Ronnie, Celeste, nor Della realize just what their trip to Prosper will uncover and they must discover for themselves who they really are, who they really love, and what the future holds for them. Far From The Tree is a novel that asks the questions: can the past ever truly remain hidden? Can mothers and daughters put aside their usual roles long enough to get to really know each other? Long enough to see they each have felt the love, loss, heartache and joy that they share as women. And can two strangers realize that they are, and always will be, sisters?

Sins of the Father by Angela Benson: The nationally bestselling author of The Amen Sisters and Up Pops the Devil, Angela Benson is one of the most exciting voices in contemporary African-American fiction. Her blistering family saga, Sins of the Father, is another glorious demonstration of her superior storytelling prowess. The tale of a wealthy black entrepreneur with two families and the catastrophic consequences when they both collide, Sins of the Father blends romance, drama, inspiration, and intrigue in an unforgettable tale of redemption and, ultimately, of love.

Roots by Alex Haley: Roots is a groundbreaking story of history and family that spanned continents and touched generations.  One of the most important books and television series ever to appear, Roots galvanized the nation and created an extraordinary political, racial, social and cultural dialogue that hadn’t been seen since the publication of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The book sold over one million copies in the first year, and the miniseries was watched by an astonishing 130 million people. It also won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Roots opened up the minds of Americans of all colors and faiths to one of the darkest and most painful parts of America’s past, and we continue to feel its reverberations today.

Queen by Alex Haley: Opening in Ireland, this book follows the author's family history from his great-great-grandfather, James Jackson to Queen, his grandmother. James Jackson was sent to the US from Ireland and there his son and a slave, Easter, had a daughter - Queen, Alex Haley's grandmother.

Cane River by Lalita Tademy: Beginning with her great-great-great-great grandmother, a slave owned by a Creole family, Lalita Tademy chronicles four generations of strong, determined black women as they battle injustice to unite their family and forge success on their own terms. They are women whose lives begin in slavery, who weather the Civil War, and who grapple with contradictions of emancipation, Jim Crow, and the pre-Civil Rights South. As she peels back layers of racial and cultural attitudes, Tademy paints a remarkable picture of rural Louisiana and the resilient spirit of one unforgettable family.

There is Elisabeth, who bears both a proud legacy and the yoke of bondage... her youngest daughter, Suzette, who is the first to discover the promise-and heartbreak-of freedom... Suzette's strong-willed daughter Philomene, who uses a determination born of tragedy to reunite her family and gain unheard-of economic independence... and Emily, Philomene's spirited daughter, who fights to secure her children's just due and preserve their dignity and future.

Meticulously researched and beautifully written, Cane River presents a slice of American history never before seen in such piercing and personal detail.

Red River by Lalita Tademy: Hailed as "powerful,""accomplished," and "spellbinding," Lalita Tademy's first novel Cane River was a New York Times bestseller and the 2001 Oprah Book Club Summer Selection. Now with her evocative, luminous style and painstaking research, she takes her family's story even further, back to a little-chronicled, deliberately-forgotten time...and the struggle of three extraordinary generations of African-American men to forge brutal injustice and shattered promise into a limitless future for their children... RED RIVERFor the newly-freed black residents of Colfax, Louisiana, the beginning of Reconstruction promised them the right to vote, own property-and at last control their own lives.Tademy saw a chance to start a school for his children and neighbors. His friend Israel Smith was determined to start a community business and gain economic freedom. But in the space of a day, marauding whites would "take back" Colfax in one of the deadliest cases of racial violence in the South. In the bitter aftermath, Sam and Israel's fight to recover and build their dreams will draw on the best they and their families have to give-and the worst they couldn't have foreseen. Sam's hidden resilience will make him an unexpected leader, even as it puts his conscience and life on the line. Israel finds ironic success-and the bitterest of betrayals. And their greatest challenge will be to pass on to their sons and grandsons a proud heritage never forgotten-and the strength to meet the demands of the past and future in their own unique ways. An unforgettable achievement, a history brought to vibrant life through one of the most memorable families in fiction, RED RIVER is about fathers and sons, husbands and wives-and the hopeful, heartbreaking choices we all must make to claim the legacy that is ours.

Citizens Creek by Lalita Tademy: The New York Times bestselling author of the Oprah Book Club Pick Cane River brings us the evocative story of a once-enslaved man who buys his freedom after serving as a translator during the American Indian Wars, and his granddaughter, who sustains his legacy of courage. 

Cow Tom, born into slavery in Alabama in 1810 and sold to a Creek Indian chief before his tenth birthday, possessed an extraordinary gift: the ability to master languages. As the new country developed westward, and Indians, settlers, and blacks came into constant contact, Cow Tom became a key translator for his Creek master and was hired out to US military generals. His talent earned him money--but would it also grant him freedom? And what would become of him and his family in the aftermath of the Civil War and the Indian Removal westward? 

Cow Tom's legacy lives on--especially in the courageous spirit of his granddaughter Rose. She rises to leadership of the family as they struggle against political and societal hostility intent on keeping blacks and Indians oppressed. But through it all, her grandfather's indelible mark of courage inspires her--in mind, in spirit, and in a family legacy that never dies. 

Written in two parts portraying the parallel lives of Cow Tom and Rose, Citizens Creek is a beautifully rendered novel that takes the reader deep into a little known chapter of American history. It is a breathtaking tale of identity, community, family--and above all, the power of an individual's will to make a difference. 

The Turner House by Angela Flournoy: The Turners live on Yarrow Street for over fifty years. Their house sees thirteen children get grown and gone—and some return; it sees the arrival of grandchildren, the fall of Detroit's East Side, and the loss of a father. Despite abandoned lots, an embattled city, and the inevitable shift outward to the suburbs, the house still stands. But now, as their powerful mother falls ill and loses her independence, the Turners might lose their family home. Beset by time and a national crisis, the house is worth just a tenth of its mortgage. The Turner children are called back to decide its fate and to reckon with how each of their pasts might haunt—and shape—their family's future.

A major contribution to the literature on American families, The Turner House brings us a colorful brood full of love, pride, and unlikely inheritances. It's a striking examination of the American dream and a celebration of the ways in which our families bring us home. 

God Don't Like Ugly Series by Mary Monroe: Book 1 info: New York Times bestselling author Mary Monroe sweeps readers back to the streets, porches, and parlors of civil rights-era Ohio to bring to life the first steps of an enduring friendship between two girls from opposite sides of the track. . .

Annette Goode is a shy, awkward, overweight child with a terrible secret. Frightened and ashamed, Annette withdraws into a world of books and food. But the summer Annette turns thirteen, something incredible happens: Rhoda Nelson chooses her as a friend. Dazzling, generous Rhoda, who is everything Annette is not--gorgeous, slim, and worldly--welcomes Annette into the heart of her eccentric family, which includes her handsome and dignified father;her lovely, fragile "Muh'Dear;" her brooding, dangerous brother Jock;and her colorful white relatives--half-crazy Uncle Johnny, sultry Aunt Lola, and scary, surly Granny Goose.

With Rhoda's help, Annette survives adolescence and blossoms as a woman. But when her beautiful best friend makes a stunning confession about a horrific childhood crime, Annette's world will never be the same.

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