BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Remembrance by Rita Woods [in Booklist]

First-time-author Rita Woods shares the debut spotlight with her multi-faceted narrator Ella Turenne, who agilely ciphers the unique voices of four women who share one remarkable legacy. Turenne’s present-day Gaelle is a Cleveland nursing home aide who survived the 2010 Haitian earthquake, and has recently developed an inexplicable bond with a nameless older woman. Jumping back to 1791’s Haitian slave insurrection, Turenne assumes enslaved Abigail’s desperation as she loses her family and her home when she’s forcibly relocated to New Orleans.

Jump again to 1857, as Turenne embodies house-girl Margot and her younger sister who, after being denied their promised freedom, have no choice but to run. Margot survives to reach Remembrance, a peaceful sanctuary protected by Mother Abigail, who insists the foundling Winter will develop the power to maintain the Edge, Remembrance’s border of safety.

Turenne’s mellifluous Haitian Kreyol – effortlessly adjusted through two-plus centuries – bestows further authenticity to Woods’ varied cast. At over 15 hours, Woods’ narrative meanders excessively, but Turenne manages to keep listeners engaged to the final promise of new beginnings.

Review: modified from “Media,” Booklist, April 15, 2020

Readers: Adult

Published: 2020


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