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Friday, August 5, 2011

#BookReview: Something Old, Something New - Beverly Jenkins

Readers of Bring on the Blessings and A Second Helping will be happy to know that the residents of the fictitious town of Henry Adams, Kansas are back.  In Bring on the Blessings, we learned of this town that had been founded by freed slaves after the Civil War.  When the mayor put the struggling town up for sale on eBay, Bernadine Brown, the ex-wife of a multimillionaire purchased it and began to turn the town around.  With Bernadine's help, town residents were able to foster and adopt needy children from around the country and bring them to a place filled with love and history.

In A Second Helping the residents and kids prepare for the adoption process and readers are treated to a history lesson about an August 1st parade.  If you're as unfamiliar with it as I was when I first read about it, here's some background.   Most of us are familiar with Juneteenth, which is celebrated on June 19 to commemorate the abolition of slavery in Texas, the last state to free their slaves in 1865. August 1st celebrates the abolishment of slavery in the British empire in 1834 and was celebrated throughout towns in the United States up until 1927. To this day it is also celebrated in Barbados, Bermuda, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Anguilla, The Bahamas, Turks & Caicos and the British Virgin Isles.

With Something Old, Something New the town is preparing for the wedding of mayor Trent July and his high school girlfriend, Lily Fontaine and a few of the adopted children are starting to wonder about their birth parents.  As Lily and Trent move forward with wedding plans, they're challenged with assisting their foster kids with making the transition from the new home life they've come to love to being an extended family.  And, as is the case with everything in Henry Adams, Kansas, the whole town is involved.

What did you like about this book?
Beverly Jenkins always has a lesson to teach and in this book, she treats readers to lessons about Seminole and Cherokee traditions.  I always look forward to reading her work because I'm sure to learn something.

What didn't you like about this book?
Very rarely do things not end perfectly in a Beverly Jenkins book.  While I can appreciate a happy ending, it's not realistic to believe that things always work out so well.  It would be more than okay if things didn't turn out as well as expected.

What could the author do to improve this book?
I'd like to see a book that focuses more on Tamar, Trent's grandmother.  There's a lot of history that swirls around her and it would be interesting to maybe see a prequel or something that focuses more on her back story. 







352pp
Published June 2011


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