Friday, January 13, 2012

Book Review: VIVID by Beverly Jenkins

From Beverly Jenkins Online!

"It's 1786 and Dr. Viveca Lancaster is frustrated with the limits placed upon female physicians of color.  When she is offered the chance to set up a practice in the small Black community of Grayson Grove, Michigan she leaves her California home and heads east.  The very determined Viveca is one of the few nineteenth century Black women to graduate from the prestigious Woman's Medical College of Pennsylvania but she needs more than determination to face down handsome Nate Grayson, the Grove's bull-headed mayor."

My thoughts

When Viveca (referred to as Vivid by her family) arrives in Grayson Grove after a long train ride from San Francisco, she meets up with mayor Nate Grayson.  Their first meeting is challenging, to say the least. 

Nate has sworn off love after a failed marriage and he immediately notices Vivid's beauty.  He mistakes her for an "undecent woman" but is proven wrong when she produces documents stating that she is the doctor hired to practice medicine in his town.

As the story unfolds, Nate is unsure if Vivid is a good fit for the town and lets her stay on trial basis.  Vivid is offered the chance to change his mind about a female physician.  Eventually, Nate realizes that Vivid is a wonderful doctor and that he can't run from love.

Vivid is a wonderful heroine.  She's a smart ass (in a good way), poker playing, rifle carrying, intelligent, hard working doctor.  She came from a home where her parents taught her to be independent and make her own choices. Reading about her experience traveling from California in 1976 was awesome.  As always, Ms. Jenkins transports me right into her character's world.    

And then there's Nate Grayson.  First, let me start by saying I didn't think I could love a man more than Galen Vachon, the hero in Ms. Jenkins' novel, Indigo.  BUT let me tell you about Mr. Grayson—steely gray eyes, tall, strong, dark skinned, and a pair of sexy specs.  HOT!  He's mysterious, but intriguing.  And I can't forget the fact that he is a loving father to his daughter, Magic.  After a while in Grayson Grove, Vivid can't resist him and who could blame her?

This book is another all-time favorite of mine.  The scenery, the budding romance between two opposites, the colorful people of Grayson Grove, and even the danger lurking around the corner are all reasons to love Vivid.  Ms. Jenkins weaves a tale of acceptance and unconditional love while giving us important history lessons about Black physicians, politics, and the Western part of Michigan among other things.  By the end, I had bitten off my nails in anticipation of my 'happily ever after.'  Vivid was a great ride, from beginning to end. 

My rating:  5 Stars

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Book Review: INDIGO by Beverly Jenkins

Today is the first of my series of book reviews for my favorite author, Beverly Jenkins.  Before I start, though, I thought I would give a little history of why I love this author so much. 
As a little girl, my mother instilled the power of reading.  She was an educator for 34 years before she retired and she always taught me the value of the written word.  It wasn’t until much later that we bonded over a book:  Indigo.  One day, during a rough period in my life, my mother handed me a book.  One glance at the African American couple on the cover and I scrunched up my nose.  I was never a romance reader, so I wondered why she thought I would like this one. 
When I opened the cover, I noticed a little handwritten note from Ms. Jenkins, herself.  My mother explained that she knew the author.  Of course, that intrigued me even more so I decided to give it a try.  Little did I know this amazing writer and her work would inspire me in ways I couldn’t imagine.  I read the book in one day.  And I knew I would be a lifelong fan.   Her books became a ‘thing’ that I could share with my mom, which means more to me than anyone could ever know. 
Over the years, my mother bought and shared many Beverly Jenkins’ novels, often writing little notes to me on the inside flap.  My mother was diagnosed with cancer in 2010.  She is still fighting this disease today, but I know that I will always have her little notes in my Beverly Jenkins’ books.  For that, I thank Ms. Jenkins. 
INDIGO by Beverly Jenkins
From the back cover:  “When the notorious Black Daniel is carried, badly injured, into Hester Wyatt’s home, there is no questions that he will be cared for and protected.  Once a slave herself, Hester regularly gives shelter to runaways, yet the man of mysteries she now harbors brings greater danger than she’s ever known…”
African American history.  Betrayal.  Action.  Lies.  Love.  Passion.  This book had them all and then some.  As I mentioned above, Indigo was the first book by Ms. Jenkins that I had the pleasure of reading.  The Prologue captured me and I couldn’t put it down.
I was amazed at the description of MY town (yes, the book was set in my own town) all those years ago.  Being from the Detroit area, I’d never read a book set in Southeast Michigan.  Ms. Jenkins brought that to me with Indigo.  I found myself transported back to a time that I could never even fathom before I read this novel. 
One of the things I love the most is the attention to detail in the history.  It was obvious, Ms. Jenkins had thoroughly researched her facts and infused that knowledge into the story.  Historical fiction wasn’t something I ever thought I’d be interested in, but I have to say it was a highlight of my experience reading about the African American plight during slavery, the importance of freed slaves in helping to abolish slavery, and the complex Underground Railroad. 
What more can you ask of a book? 
Of course, Ms. Jenkins gave me more.  I LOVED the developing romance between Hester Wyatt and Galen Vachon.  And let me tell you, Galen was the MAN!  He treated Hester how she deserved to be treated, with honor and respect.  Ms. Jenkins’ description of this fine man made me feel like he was standing right in front of me with his golden skin, muscular body, and French accent.  The minute he called Hester, petite, I was in love. 
The heroine, Hester Wyatt, was one of my favorites.  She was strong, determined, and intelligent.  Growing up in slavery, she worked on an Indigo plantation.  Often, slaves who worked on such plantations to extract the dye from the plants, ended up with Indigo stained hands.  Hester had violet colored hands and often wore gloves to hide them until Galen came into her life. 
When Galen called her ‘Indigo’ the first time, I almost screamed.  And his words to Hester: “…as long as it doesn’t brand who you are in your heart, the color of your hands, like the color of your skin, is of no consequence.”  True words from a true hero.
Indigo kept me interested from front to back, which is why I refused to put it down until I finished.  I was invested in Hester and Galen’s ‘happily ever after’, and I wasn’t disappointed.  I wanted to know more about this time period and these people.  I’ve read it multiple times and never grow tired.  I definitely and wholeheartedly recommend Indigo.
My rating:  5 stars.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Happy 2012!

So, I'm not going to do a year in review on 2011.  I'm not going to post New Year's resolutions.  I'm just going to get going in 2012.  I've recently bought a new laptop so I can move forward with a few manuscripts.  I've finished 3rd round edits for Never Scared. 

Over the next few weeks, though, I'm going to talk about my favorite author, Beverly Jenkins.  I've read most (if not all) of her books and I have a few favorites that I want to share with all of you.  Every Wednesday and Friday in January, I'm going to review one of her books. 

Also, I'm interested in hearing from you.  If you have a book that has inspired you, I want to read it.  Let me know your favorite books.  This is my year to read, read, and READ some more. 

I'm excited for what's to come in 2012.  I hope to chat with you all more this year.