Genres: Historical Romance
Buy on Amazon
In 1950’s South Carolina, Naomi Jackson’s mother takes a live-in maid’s position in the home of young William Cooper’s parents. Over the years, Naomi and William become fast friends and eventually teenage lovers.When William’s parents discover the interracial affair, Naomi is sent away. Forty years later, the young lovers cross paths again, but can they find their way back to each other after all the deception and lies?
I one-clicked this book on a hummer, meaning a hunch knowing nada about it, including this was Ms. Knight’s debut novel. Yet, I am so happy to have found her at the beginning of what will surely be a stellar career.
There is so much to love about this book:
- Character Relationship – most romance love interests are joined at the hip, which readers have come to expect and want. Still, the separation of Naomi and William for much of the story was a welcome change that heightened and surprisingly charged the romance for me. The suspense of when they would meet again hooked me.
- Nonlinear storytelling – while romances overwhelmingly unfold in a more or less straight timeline, Ms. Knight’s chapters switch between the back story’s Jim Crow 1950’s time period and present time 1996. The switches are seamless and lend the story a weighter feel than the average romance.
- Evocative imagery – Ms. Knight’s unique and vivid turns of phrase have the ability to create a world and yank the reader down the rabbit hole into it…on a level I’ve not often encountered in the romance genre.
- Issue Tackling – William and Naomi’s story is rich and complex, tackling issues of race gracefully and satisfying a reader looking for a bit more bite to their romances.
Still, while there is much to savor in this debut novel, it is not without its hitches.
- Characters’ Choices – especially toward the end of the novel, I questioned some of the choices of both main characters. You know that moment when you’re reading and say to yourself…now why the hell did s/he do that.
- Character “Screen” Time – one thing I found a little lopsided was the amount of story given over to each character’s point of view. While I understood the reason Naomi’s POV was represented less, I still wished I’d seen more of her throughout the book.
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Naomi and William’s story. I have found myself a new To-Watch romance author and can wholeheartedly recommend this book.