Book Review: The Good Lord Bird by James McBride

In The Good Lord Bird, we get an inside (although fictional) view of abolitionist John Brown’s violent crusade against slavery in the Kansas Territory and subsequent raid on Harper’s Ferry in the years leading up to the American Civil War. It’s told from the perspective of Henry, who was a ten-year-old slave when he was liberated by Brown and then rode with his “army” for four years, including to Harper’s Ferry. Continue reading

Book Review: Mexican Gothic by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia

In Mexican Gothic, young socialite Noemi is sent by her father to visit her cousin Catalina after receiving a mysterious letter from Catalina indicating she’s in distress. What Noemi finds in Catalina’s new home, an isolated mansion that’s literally decaying and populated by mostly hostile in-laws, is a bizarre history of depravity and death. Continue reading

Book Review: The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

The Book of Lost Friends is a beautifully told story that follows Hannie Gossett, a former slave, as she tries to find her family after the Civil War, and Benny Silva, an idealistic high school teacher, who tries to inspire her students at a poor, rural southern school in the late 1980s. The two story lines eventually converge in a powerful lesson about family, perseverance, and coming to terms with history by looking at it straight on. Continue reading