Sunday, June 13, 2021

A Lowcountry Bride by Preslaysa Williams

There are so many images that come to mind when I think of the Lowcountry. Of course, the food and the landscape, but also the rich history of the people who live in the region. Preslaysa Williams' A Lowcountry Bride doesn't reflect many of those aspects. The main character isn't a bride and, though Charleston is the setting, the story could have been set in any town. Does that mean it's not an entertaining read? No, but you may want to adjust your expectations.

Maya left Charleston for New York to pursue a career with famed bridal designer. In a Working Girl/Devil Wears Prada kind of mashup, her boss doesn't appreciate her work and finds flaws in most of her designs. When Maya's father gets sick, she heads to the Lowcountry to nurse him back to health and is given an opportunity to help save a family's business and, possibly, her career.

Derek inherited his mother's bridal shop, something to brag about in the 80s when it first opened, but not so much in present day. His deceased wife loved it though and so does his daughter. The business is struggling and so is Derek until Maya comes into his life with her unique designs and can do attitude.

A Lowcountry Bride is the stuff Hallmark movies are made for. It's predictable in parts, from the story line to the characters, but they all play a role in bringing readers the happy ending that they're expecting. And while I said the location in the book could be set anywhere based on the lack of descriptors that would give it a true Charleston feel, I've no doubt that on the screen, it would be absolutely lush and gorgeous. Has it been optioned for TV yet? I don't know, but fingers crossed!

Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher in exchange for honest review.

Monday, May 31, 2021

The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

If you've worked in corporate America as a Black woman, at one point in time you've likely been the "only." Heck, you may still be the only. Regardless, there has been or will come a time when you see another Black woman being introduced around the office. Are you excited to see her or do you need to suss out the situation first? Does she get to hear your outside voice or are you keeping it corporate for her? Zakiya Dalila Harris covers these thoughts and feelings and more in The Other Black Girl, a book I like to think of as a mashup between Lauren Wilkinson's American Spy, The Matrix and The Devil Wears Prada.

Publishing is a competitive field and Nella has worked hard to prove herself in hopes of a promotion, but she knows she doesn't come from the right background. She doesn't summer in the right places and doesn't always get the cultural references that come from watching shows like Friends or Seinfeld. And then Hazel shows up in her office one day and she's everything Nella isn't. She's able to hold conversations with coworkers about what makes Boston a great town. She jumps right into team meetings and others hang on her every word. Nella thinks she's found a friend in Hazel, but maybe not so much. Nella's attempts to find out just who Hazel really is takes readers deep into a world that will ultimately leave them asking how do I define blackness, who am I to define blackness and, if given the choice to stir things up or assimilate,  would I or wouldn't I?

The Other Black Girl has so many twists and turns. When I say it's a mashup of other books and movies, it really is. I wouldn't even begin to know how to classify it. But I will say it's an absolute page turner that will leave you thinking long after you've put it down. A film version has been optioned for Hulu.

Disclaimer: A copy of the book was received from the publisher in an exchange for an honest review.