The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin
Here’s the blurb from the publisher:
In the turbulent southern summer of 1963, Millwood’s white population steers clear of “Shake Rag,” the black section of town. Young Florence Forrest is one of the few who crosses the line. The daughter of a burial insurance salesman with dark secrets and the town’s “cake lady,” whose backcountry bootleg runs lead further and further away from a brutal marriage, Florence attaches herself to her grandparents’ longtime maid, Zenie Johnson. Named for Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra, Zenie treats the unwanted girl as just another chore, while telling her stories of the legendary queen’s courage and cunning.
The more time Florence spends in Shake Rag, the more she recognizes how completely race divides her town, and her story, far from ordinary, bears witness to the truth and brutality of her times—a truth brought to a shattering conclusion when Zenie’s vibrant college-student niece, Eva Greene, arrives that fateful Mississippi summer.
Minrose Gwin’s The Queen of Palmyra is an unforgettable evocation of a time and a place in America—a nuanced, gripping story of race and identity.
I plan to review this one closer to its release date (April 27, 2010) but I just finished it and I just had to post something about it…right now. A lot of you have heard about this book already but if you haven’t, I wanted to make sure you knew something about it because you’ll want to run out and get a copy of it as soon as it comes out.
I am enjoying Spring Break with my family and have spent the week with some wonderful books, this being one of them. I love it when a book leaves you with a good feeling inside. Anyway, I’ll post the review in a couple of weeks but for now, put it on your list. Yes, the list that is about a mile long already.
It’s Sunday. Glorious Sunday and it also happens to be Easter Sunday so Happy Easter! We don’t have any big plans. It’s Spring Break for my kids, but we had a change in plans so we’re not going anywhere after all. I’m fine with it as I never get to spend any time at home as it is, so a week of small day trips and some quiet time at home sounds really good to me.
This has been a good reading week for me. I finished The Lost Summer of Louisa May Alcott and loved it. My review will post later in the week. Why is it so hard to review a book that you love? I also finished Beatrice and Virgil. At this point in time, I’m not sure what I am going to say about it. It was so completely bizarre but also very familiar in a scary, real way. I’m going to have to ponder it a bit more before I even attempt to put my thoughts down in a post.
On Friday I was jumping up and down because I received The Passage by Justin Cronin. Goodness! This book is 784 pages long but I squealed anyway. I’ve been hearing so much about it and even though it’s not a genre I typically review, I am very excited about reading it. My son thinks I’m nuts. He took one look at the length, mumbled something unintelligible and stormed off. Boys.
I also joined a read-along for Wuthering Heights. If you’ve always wanted to read WH, then why don’t you join us?
As for the rest of the week, I have a reading stack that is about to topple over and includes the following books. Some of which I have already started but then stalled on after just a few pages. These are the order in which they sit on my bookshelf, not necessarily the order in which I need to read them.
The Glass Room by Simon Mawer
A Week in December by Sebastian Faulks
The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin
Trackers by Patrick Carman
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung
Keeper by Kathi Appelt
The Passage by Justin Cronin
I think these should pretty much fill up my week, don’t you think? My only challenge will be the weather. It’s stunning right now. Sunny and blue with a temp of about 68. It’s hard to read when the weather is so beautiful and I believe it’s supposed to be nice the entire week. We’ll see how much of a dent I put in that list.