Black Love Matters is an anthology of essays about Black readers, writers, characters, and stories as they relate to the romance genre of books. Edited by Jessica P. Pryde, the book discusses the history of Black people within the romance genre as both the creators and subjects of stories. Each essay offers a different perspective on what has taken place within the genre so far and/or what needs to be done to ensure greater participation and representation of Black people. It’s worth noting that while there is some discussion of specific books and characters much of the book’s focus is on the genre and book publishing industry.
A review of “The Darkest Child” by Delores Phillips, a novel about a preteen coming of age in a dysfunctional home and community with dreams of escaping both by obtaining an education.
“The True History of Paradise” by Margaret Cezair-Thompson in a sense tells the history of Jamaica through the lives and experiences of a fictional character and her family. The book opens in 1981 when political violence tore Jamaica apart and created a state of emergency that resulted in many people fleeing the country. Jean Landing is a young woman of mixed heritage from a financially comfortable and politically connected family. Devastated by the violence that now plagues the country, Jean plans to emigrate to America. When her sister dies right as she prepares to leave, the loss of her family member and beloved country causes her to look back over her life and we also get some insight into the lives of her ancestors.
A review of “The Death of Vivek Oji” by Akwaeke Emezi, a novel that examines gender identity and cultural norms. In some ways, it’s a murder mystery where you as the reader have limited information about who or what killed Vivek. As the story unfolds, you learn about Vivek and how the family and friends around him navigate him being different. And also the circumstances that lead to his death.
“Welcome to Lagos” by Chibundu Onuzo is the story of five people from different parts of Nigerian society who flee the Niger Delta in hopes of better lives in Lagos. Instead they find themselves struggling to secure basics like employment, a place to live, and food. Largely ignored by society, they get caught up in a political scandal that threatens to upend their lives right when they finally find some degree of stability and comfort.