Friday, May 19, 2023

The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson

From the award-winning author of Yellow Wife, a daring and redemptive novel set in 1950s Philadelphia and Washington, DC, that explores what it means to be a woman and a mother, and how much one is willing to sacrifice to achieve her greatest goal.

1950s Philadelphia: fifteen-year-old Ruby Pearsall is on track to becoming the first in her family to attend college, in spite of having a mother more interested in keeping a man than raising a daughter. But a taboo love affair threatens to pull her back down into the poverty and desperation that has been passed on to her like a birthright.

Eleanor Quarles arrives in Washington, DC, with ambition and secrets. When she meets the handsome William Pride at Howard University, they fall madly in love. But William hails from one of DC’s elite wealthy Black families, and his par­ents don’t let just anyone into their fold. Eleanor hopes that a baby will make her finally feel at home in William’s family and grant her the life she’s been searching for. But having a baby—and fitting in—is easier said than done.

With their stories colliding in the most unexpected of ways, Ruby and Eleanor will both make decisions that shape the trajectory of their lives.

 Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 7, 2023
 by Simon & Schuster Canada
4/5 stars

The author's previous book, Yellow Wife was one of my favorites from 2021, I eagerly awaited her new one The House of Eve.

Told from the POV of 15 year old Ruby who's working hard to be the first person in her family to attend college.  Along with Eleanor who has just started university in Washington. Since both women are teens one would think it’s a YA story but it definitely has an adult feel to it. 

Even though both of these teens come from totally different backgrounds and social classes they do have the same struggles. Each centres around the consequences of actions that society does not approve of and the struggles they face working through them.

The House of Eve is a story about race, prejudice and parts of history that have left a mark.  Namely the Catholic churches home for unwed mothers. It was well written, an authentic story where this reader felt what these young women went though (losses, but also hope and possibilities for the future).

Well, I didn’t love this as much as I did Yellow Wife it was still a well researched story that highlights important historical facts.

This book was part of my 2023 Reading off My Shelf Challenge and is book number 35.

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