Title: The Fortunes of Blues and Blessings
Author: Karen Sloan-Brown
Publisher: Brown Reflections
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
"The Fortunes of Blues and Blessings" by Karen Sloan-Brown
"From the beginning, as written in Genesis 8:22, "While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease." Described by many as the two faces of fortune, it is the blues and our blessings, one causing much heartbreak and the other providing immense joy. The Fortunes of Blues and Blessing is a historical American saga telling the story of a black family in America beginning in 1849 that spans more than 100 years and five generations. The family tree takes root in Sierra Leone with the capture of a young African named Zokaya, he's carried across the waters and sold as slave in Charleston, SC and then taken to a rice plantation on Ossabaw, a sea island off the coast of Savannah, GA where he is renamed, Hercules. Rice driver for the Bailey Plantation he takes a family for his own, Rachel, and then her daughter Maia. As Richard Bailey's obsession, Maia grows up in the big house until the start of the Civil War. When Richard flees the plantation she returns to Ossabaw pregnant with her daughter Diana where she meets and marries Aaron, a man skilled in construction taking refuge on the island. As the years run on the family prospers and moves inland. Maia becomes a writer and Aaron a man of business in construction. Diana goes to college in Nashville and becomes a Fisk Jubilee Singer and travels the world. She struggles with her ambitions to be a famous singer. Maia struggles with her grief over lost children. Aaron struggles with his desire to make a difference for his people. Through their fortunes and misfortunes of life it's evident how moments of chance and decision can affect the direction of our lives. Described as a cross between Roots and Forest Gump the story carries the reader on a journey with this family where they encounter actual black people who have made significant contributions to African-American History."
What I liked about the novel....
This was a good read that this author gives to the reader which involved over one hundred years and five generations. When I first started reading this I was simply amazed at how this author will take you from one situation right into the next all being so smoothly done. The characters were simply off the chart very well done, well developed, defined, colorful, believable all of this giving the reader such a fascinating and captivating read about this Liberty Family. You will come to know Zokaya, later named Hercules, Rachel, Maia, Diana, Aaron, Caesar to David only there will be more secondary characters as we go on this journey from Africa to Ossabaw Island and then on later to Savannah, Georgia. This is a very powerful and emotional time in history (1849's) even though this read is of fiction a lots of the names and areas are really there making this read quite interesting.
What I especially liked about this novel...
The storyline is one that will take you in from sadness of some very horrible times to happiness for a moment and back and forth... at times definitely leaving you so raw with all the pain that these people went through.. Bye the end of this story I was truly in awe of it all because there will be some much going on. My favorite part was at the ending with Maia "lifting her arms up in triumph in the midst of the cool evening air that surrounds her...and says I see you, God." What that meant to me was through all this family had gone through...she sees God in it all. "The Fortunes of Blues and Blessings" will be a unforgettable read that will be with you long after the read. When I think of how it was in history for many Black people to have gone through so much .... and how it is now 2014)... what a change....we have a Black President! You will just have to pick up this read for yourself to see how this author presents her excellent well written story to the readers. By the end of the read you will want to pick up this author next novel: A New Season: Blues and Blessings Part Two where we will find out more about Diana.