It’s STILL January????? WHY.
Okay that’s pretty much all I have to say. Thank you for your patience as I shorten these preludes to by a staggering degree because *whew*. I am tired.
I think a thing I used to do up here is talk briefly about movies/TV I’m enjoying?? Anyways, I don’t think I mentioned that I saw the new Little Women and absolutely loved it and am going to talk more about it with the brilliant Hannah Evans on the next edition of our newsletter.
Forbidden – Beverly Jenkins
This was my first Beverly Jenkins book, and it’s clear why she’s revered in Romancelandia. Eddy and Rhine, the protagonists in this book, are determined and funny and kind, as are many of the people around them. Eddy is on her way West to start a new life in California when a shyster dumps her in the middle of the Nevada desert. She only barely survives the elements, thanks to Rhine, a saloon owner who scoops her up and gets her to safety. As she recovers and makes a temporary home in Nevada, there’s an undeniable attraction between them that they’re both determined to put aside, primarily because Eddy is Black and Rhine is white. EXCEPT……..he’s actually not. (This isn’t a spoiler, it’s in the prologue.) Rhine has been passing as white, which has allowed him to build wealth that he primarily uses to support the Black community in the city, but has kept him from fully engaging in the community. But *puts on intensely romantic voice* Eddy might just be too wonderful to stay away from.
I liked the book a lot, in particular the characters and community that Eddy and Rhine are a part of. I did feel that the two protagonists didn’t spend very much time together in the first half of the book, and while I understand the narrative reasons for that, as I discussed a couple weeks ago, the whole ~mysterious connection instant attraction~ thing doesn’t really do it for me, so I felt more engaged in the second half of the book. But I will definitely be reading more of Jenkins’ work, particularly in this series. I haven’t read many in the Old West romance subgenre and I really dug it.
Educated – Tara Westover
This is one of those books that spread like wildfire, topping bestseller charts and book club lists everywhere. Westover’s memoir about growing up with fundamentalist Mormon parents has inspired a lot of discussions about religion, education, and abuse. She was the youngest of 7 children, with parents who entirely rejected the medical establishment and traditional schooling. They claimed to homeschool their children, but the lessons didn’t pass much further than learning how to read.
I may have read this book faster than it deserved, but its hard not to — the family is constantly on the edge of calamity, with potential injury around every corner. It’s a harrowing book in many ways, not just the physical risk that the family frequently finds themselves in, but the abuse Westover and several of her siblings endure, and the distress Westover finds herself in upon entering the “real world” and finding that not only does she not have a financial or emotional safety net, there’s quite a bit of knowledge and skills she has to struggle for on her own. Westover is a fantastic writer, and clearly reflective of the challenges of writing a memoir about one’s family.
tw: domestic abuse
Okay that’s all for me today! Go see Little Women!