– novel kindly sent by the author –
Original title : Sweet Honesty
Author : Lee James
First published in : 2020
Genre : christian historical fiction
Edition : PDF
Pages : 430
Status : read from 09/16/17 to 09/21/17
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Synopsis : Sweet Honesty follows the life of Cherry Winslow during the time of Prohibition and the Great Depression as she struggles to overcome abuse, depression and religion and find her true self in God.
In 1929, Cherry Winslow, a woman of color, found herself with very few options. Desperate to escape a lifetime of physical and mental abuse at the hands of her crippled father, Harlow, who uses the Bible as a weapon, she marries a man she does not love. When the marriage proves unfulfilling, Cherry finds herself turning to yet another man, her employer, in the hopes of carrying out her dreams with him. When that relationship also fails she is left fully alone for the first time and must fend for herself and her unborn child. Eventually she comes to see that the God she finds for herself in the Bible is not the unfeeling God her father used as a weapon. She discovers there is a simple, sweet honesty in building her relationship with Him that allows her to let go of her broken past and let true love in.
Review : First of all, I would like to thank Lee James for sending me a copy of her novel in exchange of an honest review. It was a real pleasure to read you!
When the author gave me the details about the book, I immediately knew that it could be a really good one. I have always loved History when it is told like a story and not like lots of dates to remember. This is what we find in this novel: historical references, lovable and mean characters which perfectly show what was at stake at that time, and different stories which all have a common point (but I won’t say much about that, I don’t want to spoil you). Thanks to all these elements, the plot is strong and perfectly built. A plot can be good but without a beautiful writing, this is not really important, in my opinion. Here, we have both of them. Indeed, Lee’s writing is flowing, we easily understand what she is writing about and her plot respects what the Prohibition and the Great Depression suppose. I didn’t find any anachronic aspects and I found that the setting was really respectful of the time of the plot. We find back some moral values, some actions like sabotage, and typical discussions between the characters. I think this is a very good testimony for this historical period, even if it is a fiction.
As for me, I think that what makes this novel really strong is its main character, Cherry. Indeed, she is lovable because of her strength in some aspects of her life and weaknesses in other ones. Thanks to this woman, the author has perfectly described the life of women at the time. That was not easy for them, even more for a black woman, but this story shows that they could find a way to live a better life and I think it can still have an echo with our current society, in some ways.
Finally, we also see in this novel that even in the darkest times of History, people were ready to help each other, even if they had no blood link. We see that humanity can still be found in the worst events. But we can also see that some people can see their own interests before their families and that we don’t always know our family circle. Once again, this story is not only a fiction for entertainment but a strong one which encourages us to see the best in people and try to avoid this kind of events.