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Remembered

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It is 1910 and Philadelphia is burning. The last place Spring wants to be is in the run-down, colored section of a hospital surrounded by the groans of sick people and the ghost of her dead sister. But as her son Edward lays dying, she has no other choice. There are whispers that Edward drove a streetcar into a shop window. Some people think it was an accident, others claim It is 1910 and Philadelphia is burning. The last place Spring wants to be is in the run-down, colored section of a hospital surrounded by the groans of sick people and the ghost of her dead sister. But as her son Edward lays dying, she has no other choice. There are whispers that Edward drove a streetcar into a shop window. Some people think it was an accident, others claim that it was his fault, the police are certain that he was part of a darker agenda. Is he guilty? Can they find the truth? All Spring knows is that time is running out. She has to tell him the story of how he came to be. With the help of her dead sister, newspaper clippings, and reconstructed memories, she must find a way to get through to him. To shatter the silences that governed her life, she will do everything she can to lead him home.


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It is 1910 and Philadelphia is burning. The last place Spring wants to be is in the run-down, colored section of a hospital surrounded by the groans of sick people and the ghost of her dead sister. But as her son Edward lays dying, she has no other choice. There are whispers that Edward drove a streetcar into a shop window. Some people think it was an accident, others claim It is 1910 and Philadelphia is burning. The last place Spring wants to be is in the run-down, colored section of a hospital surrounded by the groans of sick people and the ghost of her dead sister. But as her son Edward lays dying, she has no other choice. There are whispers that Edward drove a streetcar into a shop window. Some people think it was an accident, others claim that it was his fault, the police are certain that he was part of a darker agenda. Is he guilty? Can they find the truth? All Spring knows is that time is running out. She has to tell him the story of how he came to be. With the help of her dead sister, newspaper clippings, and reconstructed memories, she must find a way to get through to him. To shatter the silences that governed her life, she will do everything she can to lead him home.

30 review for Remembered

  1. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Greendale

    Remembered wants to be a sprawling multi-generational narrative but is too spare to invoke a lasting impression. The setup is the most intriguing aspect of this 2019 Women's Prize longlist nominee: The year is 1910, and an African American woman named Springs sits at her son's bedside in a Philadelphia hospital. Her son, Edward, is accused of intentionally driving a streetcar into a shop window. The police hover; so does the ghost of Spring's deceased sister, Tempe. Questions arise: Did Edward d Remembered wants to be a sprawling multi-generational narrative but is too spare to invoke a lasting impression. The setup is the most intriguing aspect of this 2019 Women's Prize longlist nominee: The year is 1910, and an African American woman named Springs sits at her son's bedside in a Philadelphia hospital. Her son, Edward, is accused of intentionally driving a streetcar into a shop window. The police hover; so does the ghost of Spring's deceased sister, Tempe. Questions arise: Did Edward do it? What were his motives? As a black man, will he survive whether he's innocent or guilty? What if he didn't do nothing? Will they leave him alone or just put something else on him? If he don't die tonight, will they just kill him tomorrow? Even if he did it, if innocent people died because he was wrapped up in some union dispute over money, he wouldn't deserve to die this way. With no name, no kin, nowhere to go. It's a wonderful setup to a book that soon loses its way. Spring worries that Edward is dying. She can't save him, but she can ensure he knows his roots, so she flips open the family album, goes back two generations in time to the year 1843, and recounts the story of their ancestors working as slaves on a plantation. The chapters on slavery are brutal and unflinching, yet sluggish and redundant. Battle-Felton proceeds to focus on two generations of slave families plotting for escape and hoping for freedom, while occasionally popping back to 1910 to remind readers (or herself ?) that Remembered concerns a man named Edward laying in a hospital bed. The year 1863 rolls around, and slaves are set free. Here is the final strength of Remembered: A brief yet painful reminder that freedom was something of a misnomer, and countless slaves were left devastated and destitute in the absence of support or reparations. Freedom come alright. For most of us, it hasn't come on horses or with golden trumpets. Wasn't no angel going around saving all the slaves. Some owners turn people loose. Some slaves walk off. Far as I know, wasn't nobody going round checking if people had set slaves free. And don't seem like nobody's making sure we stay free either. Towards the final pages, Battle-Felton seems to remember that the initial questions regarding Edward's intentions as they pertain to the streetcar incident need to be resolved, so a swift answer is provided. Remembered is a disjointed examination of slavery in America. There are historically significant truths at work here, but the narrative is too underdeveloped and incohesive to deliver on its full potential.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Well that was… underwhelming. I had been saving this book for last in my Women’s Prize longlist read through, hoping to end the list on a high, but that sure didn’t go as planned. To be honest I don’t even have a great reason for disliking Remembered as much as I did, because objectively, I think this book is perfectly fine, it’s just… not much more than that. I have to first express my annoyance at this book’s marketing, which I’m certainly not holding against Yvonne Battle-Felton, but it was fr Well that was… underwhelming. I had been saving this book for last in my Women’s Prize longlist read through, hoping to end the list on a high, but that sure didn’t go as planned. To be honest I don’t even have a great reason for disliking Remembered as much as I did, because objectively, I think this book is perfectly fine, it’s just… not much more than that. I have to first express my annoyance at this book’s marketing, which I’m certainly not holding against Yvonne Battle-Felton, but it was frustrating nonetheless to be expecting a book about 1910 Philadelphia and ending up with a book about US Civil War era slavery, which isn’t even mentioned in any professional summaries that I’ve read of this book. What begins as a story about an African American man driving a streetcar into a shop window quickly devolves into an extended flashback of the family’s history, and though we return briefly to 1910 a few times, that narrative thread is only really picked back up in the last 5 pages. So, just know what exactly you’re signing up for. But the fact that this book ended up being about slavery isn’t the problem, at all, it’s just that the execution comes up short of what it’s trying to achieve. At a slim 288 pages, this book is lacking the heft needed to successfully pull off the multi-generational family saga formula. The flashbacks just zip along without landing on any kind of emotional resonance, and the newer generation’s narrative doesn’t really thematically dovetail into the backstory beyond a very bare-bones parallel. Everything about this was disjointed and poorly paced, and I didn’t find myself emotionally affected by any of it in the way I arguably should have. So while this wasn’t a great note to end on, Women’s Prize-wise, it did end up being emblematic of a large part of this list for me: a brilliant set-up whose execution felt more like a first draft than a finished novel.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Neale

    LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION. Spring finds herself talking to her dead sister’s ghost while waiting at the bedside of her dying son Edward. However, talking to Tempe, her dead sister, has never been a problem for Spring, she has been doing it ever since her death. Spring is not the only one waiting on Edward. The Police want to talk to him as well. It seems Edward has driven a trolley or streetcar into a store window. This is Philadelphia, 1910. Edward is in the hospital in a LONGLISTED FOR THE 2019 WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION. Spring finds herself talking to her dead sister’s ghost while waiting at the bedside of her dying son Edward. However, talking to Tempe, her dead sister, has never been a problem for Spring, she has been doing it ever since her death. Spring is not the only one waiting on Edward. The Police want to talk to him as well. It seems Edward has driven a trolley or streetcar into a store window. This is Philadelphia, 1910. Edward is in the hospital in a coma, not from the crashing of the streetcar, but from the severe beating he has received from the “white” onlookers who witnessed the crash. Segregation still exists, and the city seems ready to explode like a powder keg at the slightest provocation. Were Edward’s actions intentional? Was he trying to kill and maim innocent people? Or was he doing the very opposite, and trying to prevent the streetcar from crashing into the store? While the sisters maintain a vigil at Edward’s bedside, we are taken back to 1843. Walker’s Farm is cursed. None of the newborn babies survive to grow up and provide a stable workforce for the farm. The Walker family are forced to kidnap a young “free”, coloured girl, to hopefully “breed” new babies for the farm. It is this world that Spring must return to for answers. Spring must use a book she has kept through the years, that contains a collection of newspaper articles, along with her memory and Tempe’s otherworldly connection with the past; to tell Edward the truth about his birth and history which he does not know. I loved this book. I immediately fell in love with the rich cast of characters and the relationships that are formed between them. Particularly the relationship between the two sisters, which extends throughout the whole narrative, even death cannot separate them. The inclusion of the newspaper articles gives the book a strong historical feel, and the book as well as having a brilliant fictional narrative, feels like a documentation of the horrible atrocities which plagued the lives of these slaves. Superb! 5 Stars.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gumble's Yard - Golden Reviewer

    “We collect bones and bundles long after the river seeps back and the mud dries. We make up stories for each one. Each piece is remembered. Out of sweet cherry wood, we carve our very own book. The hands bring us paper. We stitch them together. Stuff the newspapers, like bookmarks, in between. Though neither of us can read or write, each page holds a story. We remember.” I read this book due to its long listing for the 2019 Women’s Prize. Dr. Yvonne Battle-Felton was born in America but now “We collect bones and bundles long after the river seeps back and the mud dries. We make up stories for each one. Each piece is remembered. Out of sweet cherry wood, we carve our very own book. The hands bring us paper. We stitch them together. Stuff the newspapers, like bookmarks, in between. Though neither of us can read or write, each page holds a story. We remember.” I read this book due to its long listing for the 2019 Women’s Prize. Dr. Yvonne Battle-Felton was born in America but now lives in the UK, and lectures in Creative Writing/Creative Industries at Sheffield Hallam, and her research topics there give an excellent summary of the motivations behind and the strengths of this impressive and important novel. I’m researching and writing about reuniting the African American family after the Emancipation. My research explores voice appropriation, created past, memory, identity, family, rupture and repair; and community. It follows multiple narratives as emancipated slave characters develop from 1860 to 1920 as I attempt to give voice to characters who are often forgotten in literature as well as in history. My questions have evolved to: How can my novel give voice to the silence in the Black American/African American community; the novel as therapy; where does my novel fit in and explorations of narrator point of view. Slavery forced the separation of millions of families; I’m hoping my historical fiction can help us reunite The novel in fact formed a central part in her PhD in Creative Writing at Lancaster University. Her 2017 thesis is unpublished (which is a shame as I would love to read it for even greater insight into the book), but even the abstract serves to further uncover her powerful motivations and is I believe worth quoting at length: This thesis is in two parts. First, a novel that explores motherhood, community, silence, identity, family, stereotypes and racism to illustrate the legacy of slavery by implicitly drawing parallels between the American past and the American present. The novel explores answers to questions about silence, reuniting the Black American family after the Emancipation, representing diverse characters, ethically portraying emancipated slave characters, and writing about slavery. In 'Remembered', a framed narrative, the past haunts the present in the form of Tempe, in the structure of the novel, and in the central conflicts within the narrative …………. In Chapter Two, I discuss the power of literature to build community, the importance of writing to reclaim story and identity ….. Chapter Three of the thesis is a creative examination of my writing practice ….. The thesis concludes with Chapter Four, a discussion of motherhood that focuses on representations of black mothers in literature. The discussion examines close readings of selected texts including ‘Remembered’ ……. Overall, my thesis aims to provoke dialogue that challenges the rhetoric of oppression, that gives voice to diverse characters, and that shatters silences. Unless Americans recognize the importance of diverse stories and diverse characters both on and off the page, like Spring, we will forever be haunted by the past. In terms of the novel itself, it has a very distinctive structure – taking place over two parallel time frames: The first is set in February 1910 and takes place over 24 hours (well 24 hours and seven minutes). The Philadelphia railcar system is being convulsed by a fierce and bitter labour dispute between the Union and the Company. Edward a mechanic on the streetcars (his ambition of driving them being impossible due to his “Negro” race), inexplicably causes a riot by, seemingly deliberately, crashing a streetcar into the window of a department store. Rescued, a little too late by the police, from a lynch mob he now lays dying in a hospital (in the segregated and under-funded colored section). His mother Spring is called to his bedside and begins to tell him stories of his and her ancestry. These sections are marked by times (e.g. 5.07 pm). We are get an early insight into one of the crucial themes of the book – motherhood: how far can and should a mother go to protect her child, the differences between birth and adopted mothers. The second is set over 24 years – from 1843 to 1867 – and examines the history of American slave holding over that period. These sections are introduced by date to convey the passage of time; but also scattered through them (“stuff[ed] … like bookmarks” as per the opening quote) are excerpts from newspaper front pages which give us a sense of the passage of events around slave holdings, as seen by the, presumably white, headline writers. So we see: rumours of slave catchers in Philadelphia in 1843; the 1863 Emancipation Proclomation (and the chilling reassurance to Northern Slave Owners that this is more about politics than freedom: ”My good people, this is no cause for alarm, only a call to arms. If your state has not seceded from the Union, your right to own slaves is still protected”; the post Civil War abolition of slavery in 1865. However the terrible power of this section is in the real story it tells of the reality behind the newspaper stories for the victims of the slave industry. Spring tells Edward the harrowing history of their family’s victimisation by the slave trade and stories of the wider community with whom they come into contact. Most of what I am about to tell you ain’t in no history book, no newspaper article, no encyclopaedia. There’s a whole heap of stories don’t ever get told. What I know comes straight from my sister’s lips to my heart and to this book. Some of it I seen with my own two eyes. Some with hers. You come from free people. From right here in Philadelphia. You wasn’t born here. It was me that brought you home The story starts with Ella, a free black, snatched from the streets of Philadelphia by a slave owner Walker (and at the same time betrayed by a white “neighbour” who – in an act which could only remind me of the damning story of the judge in the Good Samaritan parable - decides not to risk his own reputation to save her). To her horror, she is taken to Walker’s slaveholding as breeding stock – his farm is widely believed cursed – crops, animals and the slaves (who he clearly considers to be no more than animals) all seemingly subject to sterility. Ella is immediately subject to a forced rape by Little James the young black male slave on the estate (equally forced to participate) – to test her for disease - and then to abuse by Walker and his father when James claims she is tainted. As we meet Walker’s other slaves, particularly the compelling figure of Mama Skins (a midwife/healer), and her adopted daughter Agnes (with whom Ella forms an uneasy friendship together with James) – we realise more of the truth of the sterility and the terrible decisions forced on the slaves –as individual mothers and as a wider community – both to protect those they love and to prevent others from having to grown up in the same suffering. “[they] all hugged on it, loved on it and in the morning, one of them would love it to death. Love it to freedom.” As the story moves forwards, Ella and her sister Tempe enter the story and we learn the truth of Edward’s birth. We also see how the real stories of slaves which “don’t ever get told” fall so far short of the supposed facts of “history book .. newspaper article .. encyclopaedia” – for example with emancipation meaning little in a world still dominated by slave holders. “It leaves streaks of black, like words, on her palms. The paper was worn before we got it. Between chores, the hired hands gave scraps to me and Tempe. Presents with pretty squiggles from all over the world. News they been saving or thinking on, travelling with. Most of them can’t read neither but the stories they tell! Get them filled up on some of Mama’s good supper and they get to “reading”. This here say so and so did such and such, one will start up and get to saying who done what. That ain’t the whole truth. Let me tell you what really happened, another will say.” Tempe we know the first 1910 chapter, died in a fire “all those years ago”, but she is still very much a character in this story: a fiery (both literally and figuratively) visitor from, and guide to, the world of the dead; a literal haunting of the present by the past. She “flips through time likes pages and sees whole lives” . Her voice in Spring’s head is as real of those around her, and the impetus behind Spring’s narration to the dying Edward of his backstory, a story taken from a book that Spring has kept as a testimony waiting to be told (see the opening quote) and to which she adds later as she travels to Philadelphia after escaping the farm: “To pass the time I pull out the book me and Tempe made. After a while I get folks to write their name or make their mark in it. Some write a few lines. Some draw pictures. Some give me clippings to add to it. Newspaper headlines, pages from books. Wanted posters, receipts. The longer we rattle on, the more I collect. I tell stories. Grand ones about escapes and revolts and little ones about people holding on to treasures. The whole world races by.” Tempe also via flashbacks helps Spring understand what happened to Edward – and we see the same patters that occurred in the 24 year history: decisions being forced upon a black person; the injustice of his oppressors; the cheapness with which his life is viewed, the gap between the official newspapers sources and the reality of black lives; the failure of the authorities to offer any protection (and in fact their collusion with the oppressors). In an era where we are still having to proclaim that “Black Lives Matter” the modern day parallels are obvious and painful; and the fact that new stories keep needing to be added (the author has explicitly referenced the story of Freddie Grey (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_o...) as a impetus for her to write the book. Each person has a story…….It goes on like that for hours. Laughing, crying, whispering, singing, shouting, we swap stories in between bumping along the road. We’re supposed to remember them, to pass them on like folks we meet. Everyone’s looking for someone. Like a bucket, I’m carrying a head full of names and stories. Older ones spill out to make room for new ones. A worthy addition to the Women’s Prize longlist. Recommended.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Neil

    Most of what I am about to tell you ain’t in no history book, no newspaper article, no encyclopaedia. There’s a whole heap of stories don’t ever get told. What I know comes straight from my sister’s lips to my heart and to this book. Some of it I seen with my own two eyes. Some with hers. You come from free people. From right here in Philadelphia. You wasn’t born here. It was me that brought you home. Despite this quote, Remembered begins with a newspaper article. In February 1910, a black man, E Most of what I am about to tell you ain’t in no history book, no newspaper article, no encyclopaedia. There’s a whole heap of stories don’t ever get told. What I know comes straight from my sister’s lips to my heart and to this book. Some of it I seen with my own two eyes. Some with hers. You come from free people. From right here in Philadelphia. You wasn’t born here. It was me that brought you home. Despite this quote, Remembered begins with a newspaper article. In February 1910, a black man, Edward Freeman, apparently takes over control of a streetcar and drives it through crowds of people and into Clyde’s department store. The man is dragged from the trolley and attacked. Eventually, he is taken to hospital and our narrator, Spring, makes her way to that hospital to see him: he is her boy. Rumours abound: he has done it deliberately, he was trying to prevent an accident, he was coerced…. Whatever the truth, he is now in a coma and Spring is by his side. Spring has company in the form of the ghost of her sister, Tempe. It is Tempe who advises that Spring should sit by Edward and tell him the truth.This is when she says the opening quote above to him. And so the novel winds back time to 1843 when a young girl is kidnapped and taken into slavery to join the rest of the slaves on the Walker farm. From this point, we trace the story forward: we meet Spring and Tempe’s parents, see Spring and Tempe grow up, see Edward’s birth and gradually we catch up with where the book started. In an interview with New Writing North, Battle-Felton says I wanted the novel to speak to the pain and justified anger of generations. To implicitly show the parallels between our present and our past; to unpeel the legacies of slavery, oppression and hatred. I want the novel to open conversations. If we recognize that we are haunted by the past, maybe, together, we can exorcise it. To this end, the book asks its readers to face up to several unpleasant sub-themes within African American history. Tempe is some kind of apparition who somehow connects the living with the dead and it is through her (and also some of the documentation that Spring has kept) that we learn some of the history from previous generations of slavery which includes murder and suicide that bring lines of family trees to abrupt, premature endings. The novel points out several times that African American “breeding” (sorry, I am using the kind of terminology of the time of the story and it sounds ugly today) was key to keeping workforce numbers at the required level. When we first skip back to 1843, we begin with the kidnapping of a young girl who is taken to a plantation for breeding purposes because some kind of “curse” appears to have struck the resident slaves who are no longer producing youngsters to take over as the parents age (the truth, of course, is darker than this). This kidnapping of free black people who are then forced into slavery or childbearing is part of the history that Battle-Felton wants to make sure we as readers are aware of (it reminded me also of the book Broken Wings that I read recently which is set in China but which discusses the kidnapping of young women for the purposes of childbearing in the remote villages where no children are being born). In the interview with New Writing North, Battle-Felton also says, just prior to the quote I included above I was in the UK researching– writing, reading, editing—and back home, black people kept dying. It wasn’t heart disease, cancer, old age. Police shootings filled my newsfeed, alerts, posts. It looked like black people were being hunted in America. It felt like it too. I knew I had to do something but I really didn’t know what that something would be. What might my advocacy look like? Police shootings of unarmed black people are not new. Excessive violence against people of color is not new. Talking about the violence is not new and neither is writing about it. What is new is access to the story and evidence. What was new, for me, was Freddie Gray. Like a lot of people, I was tired of seeing black people sentenced to death without trial or jury, and often without probable cause. The events, though the names and faces changed, shared the same narrative. The versions of the same story were told and retold as they have been told and retold sometimes without witness, often without question. I wanted to ask questions. (Freddie Gray was the man who was arrested by Baltimore police on 12 April 2015 and who fell into a coma whilst being transported in a police van. He died a week later with his death being ascribed to injuries to his spinal cord.) It is parallels across generations that Battle-Felton is seeking to explore in her novel. She doesn’t ask her questions directly, but she does present her readers with a story that implicitly asks questions about the present by telling a story about the past. 3.5 stars rounded up. I found some of the dramatic events of the book were signalled very early on which took some of the drama out of reading it. I think this may be a deliberate attempt to help the reader focus on the underlying questions and parallels, but I am not sure about that. The quote from Jenn Ashworth on the front cover of the edition I read says this is “vital, important and humane writing”. For the most part, I think I agree with that.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tara

    4.5 stars. I loved this historical novel, which takes a close look not just at slavery in the 1800s but at the aftermath of the civil war and the continued unrest in race relations, particularly in Philadelphia during the 1910 transit strike that lead to race riots. It begins in 1910 when Spring's son Edward Freeman is arrested after driving a trolley car into a store. That is not the "driving" force. It's the events leading up to this one, the aftermath, and the mother's grief knowing she is spe 4.5 stars. I loved this historical novel, which takes a close look not just at slavery in the 1800s but at the aftermath of the civil war and the continued unrest in race relations, particularly in Philadelphia during the 1910 transit strike that lead to race riots. It begins in 1910 when Spring's son Edward Freeman is arrested after driving a trolley car into a store. That is not the "driving" force. It's the events leading up to this one, the aftermath, and the mother's grief knowing she is spending her last moments with her son. So she begins narrating their life story, which has never been told. I had trouble at the start. Battle-Felton has her own strong, unique voice. It takes time to adjust to her cadence and syntax and spare observations. Also as a warning there is a rape scene near the beginning that is very hard to read. Not super graphic, but still very difficult and might turn some off. Press on. I did. And I grew to love the characters who were so well created (I still hear Spring's voice in my head) and B-F's ability to take you from sentence to sentence with precision and energy and alertness to her surroundings. An examination of Freedom, steeped in the paranormal and in folklore, educational in terms of the different sides of slavery we may not have come across in other books (I especially appreciated the section after the slaves were freed and also the grim reality of a hospital reserved for African American patients), Remembered builds to an emotional conclusion. I was sobbing at the end. I rarely do that. I think readers who want to learn more about the African American experience in the States, and who value original prose that takes them out of their comfort zone, will be glad they read this historical novel that is, sadly, not so out of date. We are still dealing with the fallout of slavery and the basic amnesia of most of white America. A good choice for book clubs. It will spark many important conversations. Readers can learn more here on the riots: https://latimesblogs.latimes.com/thed... Note it was longlisted for the prestigious Women's Prize for Fiction.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maria Hill AKA MH Books

    “Most of what I’m about to tell you ain’t in no history book, no newspaper article, no encyclopedia. There’s a whole heap of stories don’t ever get told.” This is the stories of what happened in between the newspaper articles. It's about the Pennsylvanian 1910 riots, the times before, during and after the Emancipation of the slaves in the US. It's the stories of how some things change, but most things don't. Family is family and who we are and how we are treated are still dictated by a few but w “Most of what I’m about to tell you ain’t in no history book, no newspaper article, no encyclopedia. There’s a whole heap of stories don’t ever get told.” This is the stories of what happened in between the newspaper articles. It's about the Pennsylvanian 1910 riots, the times before, during and after the Emancipation of the slaves in the US. It's the stories of how some things change, but most things don't. Family is family and who we are and how we are treated are still dictated by a few but what we hold in our hearts remain our own and can never be taken from us. It's rare enough to come across a book that manages to combine a strong narrative, with strong characterisations and some mind-bending prose but Yvonne has achieved this. Mostly, for me though, this book is about Yvonne's Character Spring with her practical mind, deep-set anger but a unique view of the world. "The Sidewalk burps and rumbles, the street lurches, houses pitch" - when Spring is worried and upset.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Eric Anderson

    “Remembered” begins with a newspaper clipping from 1910 recounting a tragic event where a black man drove a streetcar into a Philadelphia department store. We then follow the near hallucinatory experience as the driver Edward's mother Ms Spring rushes to his side in the hospital alongside the ghost of her sister Tempe. Though this calamitous day is already filled with drama and intrigue where Edward is accused of intentionally crashing the streetcar amidst his rumoured involvement with the diste “Remembered” begins with a newspaper clipping from 1910 recounting a tragic event where a black man drove a streetcar into a Philadelphia department store. We then follow the near hallucinatory experience as the driver Edward's mother Ms Spring rushes to his side in the hospital alongside the ghost of her sister Tempe. Though this calamitous day is already filled with drama and intrigue where Edward is accused of intentionally crashing the streetcar amidst his rumoured involvement with the distempered local union, his story is only the backdrop for the time Ms Spring spends with him. The novel primarily concerns her disclosing to her son the true story of his origins and her own challenging journey from being born as a slave on a plantation to freedom. She feels it's important that he knows and understands this personal history because “Most of what I’m about to tell you ain’t in no history book, no newspaper article, no encyclopedia. There’s a whole heap of stories don’t ever get told.” This novel tells a story which is moving and surprising in many ways showing the complex mentality and relationships which develop amidst the horrors of slavery. It's an impactful, uniquely told tale. Read my full review of Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Felton on LonesomeReader

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    I wish I had been more captivated but alas. I'll write a longer review soon. I wish I had been more captivated but alas. I'll write a longer review soon.

  10. 5 out of 5

    ns510

    “Most of what I’m about to tell you ain’t in no history book, no newspaper article, no encyclopedia. There’s a whole heap of stories don’t ever get told. What I know comes straight from my sister’s lips to my heart and to this book. Some of it I seen with my own two eyes. Some with hers. You come from free people. From right here in Philadelphia. You wasn’t born here. It was me that brought you home.” I haven’t had as much reading time lately and ended up taking a while to finish this though I di “Most of what I’m about to tell you ain’t in no history book, no newspaper article, no encyclopedia. There’s a whole heap of stories don’t ever get told. What I know comes straight from my sister’s lips to my heart and to this book. Some of it I seen with my own two eyes. Some with hers. You come from free people. From right here in Philadelphia. You wasn’t born here. It was me that brought you home.” I haven’t had as much reading time lately and ended up taking a while to finish this though I did like it. At the start of the book, we learn of an event that happened in the novel’s present time: a young black man is lying comatose in a hospital in 1910 Philadelphia after a mob of angry white bystanders got to him in the aftermath of his having driven a vehicle into a department store where there are ‘No Coloreds Allowed’. Segregation is in place, racial tensions are rife. There is more to this unfortunate circumstance, as we slowly learn over the course of the story. His mother Spring is at his bedside, holding a vigil and telling him of his origins, his ancestors and where they came from. How the theft of a young and free black girl by a plantation owner in 1843 had significant repercussions throughout the generations to come. Spring has a book filled with clippings that are interspersed throughout the novel - sobering reminders of black slavery and the horrific, illegal activities that occurred in the procuring of black slaves as well as the less than straightforward nature of Emancipation and freedom in the aftermath of Civil War. The impact is still evident. I also greatly admired the strength of women and motherhood in the story. How sickening to have your reproductive rights taken to ‘breed’ future slaves for your ‘owner’. I was glad for the cunning of women in this novel, sidestepping that fate, inadvertently placing a ‘curse’ on the plantation. Interesting too how one’s morality can be skewed for the sake of family. I liked the supernatural aspect to the telling of this story, and thought it worked well- relevant, if a touch convenient. I’m not sure if it would work for every reader though, you have to be willing to suspend disbelief!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jaclyn

    A gut-turning slavery narrative to remind us of the brutalities of the recent past and the lengths women will go to in order to protect family.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    This is a really difficult one to review. I enjoyed it, as it’s quite different to most books I read, but i found it fairly hard going in places. It tells the story of Spring and Edward, but it’s mainly about slavery and what a cruel, unjust world they managed to survive in. It flies back from 1910 to the 1860s. I liked the characters, especially Tempe but don’t want to say any more as I wouldn’t want to spoil the story for anyone. Keep going with it if you’re struggling, I enjoyed the last 3rd This is a really difficult one to review. I enjoyed it, as it’s quite different to most books I read, but i found it fairly hard going in places. It tells the story of Spring and Edward, but it’s mainly about slavery and what a cruel, unjust world they managed to survive in. It flies back from 1910 to the 1860s. I liked the characters, especially Tempe but don’t want to say any more as I wouldn’t want to spoil the story for anyone. Keep going with it if you’re struggling, I enjoyed the last 3rd of the book the most.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    4.5⭐️s My hope is that more people will read this story with an open heart and not rush to compare it to Toni Morrison's Beloved. I also hope that it will be read with curiosity rather than assumption regarding portrayals of slavery in novels. Remembered has me thinking about what makes family; and how do we remember and imagine people and events of personal history when that history has been stolen, sold, bought, lacerated, distorted, denied, and erased? The story also touches on the complica 4.5⭐️s My hope is that more people will read this story with an open heart and not rush to compare it to Toni Morrison's Beloved. I also hope that it will be read with curiosity rather than assumption regarding portrayals of slavery in novels. Remembered has me thinking about what makes family; and how do we remember and imagine people and events of personal history when that history has been stolen, sold, bought, lacerated, distorted, denied, and erased? The story also touches on the complicated intersection where free black life and enslaved black life collide, overlap, join.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jan

    From the Women’s Prize for Fiction Long List, this well-written historical novel starts with a young man in a coma due to labor violence and circles back to the 1840s to trace his family history. Some of the characters were less gripping than I would have liked, but the overall story lines worked well in showing the disruptive effects of slavery and emancipation on black lives. A strong debut novel from an author to watch.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    A historical novel marked by the presence of ghosts, this is reminiscent of the work of Cynthia Bond, Toni Morrison and Jesmyn Ward. I picked it up because it’s on the Women’s Prize longlist – it’s the closest thing to this year’s Sing, Unburied, Sing. I only read the first 36 pages; neither the characters nor the prose struck me as anything special. Favorite passage: “Names are coats around here. People try them on. They slip in and out of them like religion, weather, mood or something else you A historical novel marked by the presence of ghosts, this is reminiscent of the work of Cynthia Bond, Toni Morrison and Jesmyn Ward. I picked it up because it’s on the Women’s Prize longlist – it’s the closest thing to this year’s Sing, Unburied, Sing. I only read the first 36 pages; neither the characters nor the prose struck me as anything special. Favorite passage: “Names are coats around here. People try them on. They slip in and out of them like religion, weather, mood or something else you can’t afford to count on.”

  16. 5 out of 5

    Sam

    I picked this up because it was longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction and it was such a surprise. The writing pulled me in immediately and although this was brutal and gut-wrenching at times, I couldn't stop reading. The characters were so rich and captivating and the relationships, especially between the two sisters we meet in the beginning, were beautifully portrayed. The latter part of the story happens during the emancipation and I found that journey particularly interesting and eye-o I picked this up because it was longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction and it was such a surprise. The writing pulled me in immediately and although this was brutal and gut-wrenching at times, I couldn't stop reading. The characters were so rich and captivating and the relationships, especially between the two sisters we meet in the beginning, were beautifully portrayed. The latter part of the story happens during the emancipation and I found that journey particularly interesting and eye-opening. So glad this jumped on my radar because of the Women's Prize!

  17. 4 out of 5

    LindaJ^

    This is the 12th of the 16 books on the 2019 women's prize longlist that I have read. I will not be reading the other four unless they make the longlist, as I must now turn my attention to the 2019 MBI longlist. In a word this book is heartbreaking. It opens with a 1914 newspaper article concerning a runaway trolley and a black man who is either driving it into a store or trying to stop it. The man, Edward Freeman, is Spring's boy. Spring, accompanied by the spirit of her dead sister Tempe (who This is the 12th of the 16 books on the 2019 women's prize longlist that I have read. I will not be reading the other four unless they make the longlist, as I must now turn my attention to the 2019 MBI longlist. In a word this book is heartbreaking. It opens with a 1914 newspaper article concerning a runaway trolley and a black man who is either driving it into a store or trying to stop it. The man, Edward Freeman, is Spring's boy. Spring, accompanied by the spirit of her dead sister Tempe (who only Spring can see), rush to the hospital and find that Edward is in a coma in the "colored" wing of the hospital. Tempe, knowing that Edward will not survives, insists that Spring tell him the story (or more accurately, the stories) of their family so that when he dies he will know the spirits he needs to know. So Spring, using a book with clippings and notes, begins at the beginning in 1843 when a young Philadelphia girl named Ella is kidnapped. Young Ella, late getting home, takes a shortcut through the woods and finds herself caught by Walker, a slave owner from Maryland looking for a young female black woman. Ella does not go calmly. Back at the Walker Place, Walker and his father hope she is not tainted and will break the curse that aborts and thwarts pregnancies. Little James is chosen as the guinea pig to see whether or not she is tainted. After he carries on as if he is in pain, so the Walker men tag her as tainted. Young Walker decides she ain't tainted for everything, failing to appreciate that Ella is not only a fighter but also a biter. He beats her hard for that. Agnes, the only child to survive on the farm, drags her to Mama Skins (aka Meredith). Mama Skins is a skilled medicine woman and she heals Ella. Agnes and Ella become friends and promise each other that, along with Little James (Agnes' boyfriend), they will get to freedom together. They never make it but two of their descendants do. As the story goes on, it focuses on the lives of the daughters of Ella and Agnes - Spring and Tempe - who think they are twins with Tempe born first, breaking the curse, and Spring born second, re-introducing the curse. We learn what's behind the curse, we live through emancipation and its violence, we see what happens when the former slaves go North and that violence. Some final points -- Stories are really important in this novel. It is through stories that Spring learns about and talks about her family and those in her life. Haints are real but you won't see them unless there's a connection. Heathens aren't lesser people. And finally, what the author said about her book -- I wanted the novel to speak to the pain and justified anger of generations. To implicitly show the parallels between our present and our past; to unpeel the legacies of slavery, oppression and hatred. I want the novel to open conversations. If we recognize that we are haunted by the past, maybe, together, we can exorcise it. See http://newwritingnorth.com/journal/ar...

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jesika

    This book is a gem and a half! I won't lie, Remembered wasn't even on my radar before the Women's Prize longlist was annouced a few weeks ago. And even then, it wasn't one that jumped out at me for me to go and get - that all changed when the lovely people at Dialogue Books/Little Brown asked if I wouldn't mind reading this for review.....and I have two thoughts about this - one, that I am extremely grateful to them because otherwise this book may never have fallen into my hands and, two, that I This book is a gem and a half! I won't lie, Remembered wasn't even on my radar before the Women's Prize longlist was annouced a few weeks ago. And even then, it wasn't one that jumped out at me for me to go and get - that all changed when the lovely people at Dialogue Books/Little Brown asked if I wouldn't mind reading this for review.....and I have two thoughts about this - one, that I am extremely grateful to them because otherwise this book may never have fallen into my hands and, two, that I think this book has been sorely under-represented in what seems to have been a lack of a marketing campaign. Like seriously, I saw it nowhere before the longlist annoucement. That said, this book is amazing - it takes you though the heartbreaking history of a family as they suffer the trials, humiliations and pure cruelties along the road from enslavement to freedom. We see a young, free girl kidnapped to 'breed', young mother's kill their children so that - at least then - they are free, men escape only to find that it is too dangerous for them to come back for their wives and mothers, children grow up not daring to even truly hope that one day - ONE DAY - they will be free. It takes an amazing writer to pull a dual narrative, a criminal mystery, a family saga and a depiction of the historical events behind the ongoing systematic racism which still haunts society to this day. And Yvonne Battle-Felton has done this - she has done it in a beautifully crafted narrative and in a novel which pulls you in and shows you what makes people family, what you can be willing to do for the ones that you love. This is an incredible novel and I hope it gets widely read. It deserves to make the shortlist and if it doesn't I WILL be ranting about it in my Instagram stories.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jess

    'Amen' she says. 'You ok? You wheezing pretty bad.' She leans closer. 'It's just my heart.' I feel her fumbling with her stethoscope. 'It's breaking. I just need to get to my boy.' And with that passage my heart broke and I was sold. It just tugged those mother heartstrings so tight I felt it physically. And that's the beauty of this book, if deals with some heart wrenching subjects but it is so real that the characters come alive and you really care and believe in them and their lives. It talks about 'Amen' she says. 'You ok? You wheezing pretty bad.' She leans closer. 'It's just my heart.' I feel her fumbling with her stethoscope. 'It's breaking. I just need to get to my boy.' And with that passage my heart broke and I was sold. It just tugged those mother heartstrings so tight I felt it physically. And that's the beauty of this book, if deals with some heart wrenching subjects but it is so real that the characters come alive and you really care and believe in them and their lives. It talks about slavery and the emancipation act,the civil rights movement in America and the legacy of the slave trade and most of all family and what it is like to belong to somebody. It delves deep into rights and wrongs and asks us can a wrong be right if it is done with good intentions. It makes you think and then think again. The writing flows beautifully and immerses you deeply within the story. For a debut it is amazing. The story is told over the course of a night and involves a lifetime of memories, newspaper clippings and stories. It zigzags effortlessly between the years of 1910 and 1843 and tells the story of Spring,Tempe, Agnes,Ella,Edward,Mama Skins and many more memorable characters. It starts with Spring rushing to the hospital to be at the side of her son Edward as he lays dying after crashing a street car in to a shop window. Did Edward do this on purpose? Was it part of a plot? Or is Edward somehow innocent? Whatever the answers are Edward is hovering between life and death after being beaten by the police and it is down to Spring to tell him the story of his family heritage. We travel back through history and start at the story of a free black girl called Ella and end up with the story of Spring and her sister Tempe. It is intense,brutal,full of violence and unfairness, such as the life of a slave must have been. But it also gives you a cast of characters that are unforgettable and will be 'Remembered.' To quote Simon Cowell 'I didn't like it. I LOVED it.'

  20. 5 out of 5

    Noelia Alonso

    (6/10) The writing was really good and I enjoyed the story as a whole but somewhere in the middle I found myself not as invested as in the beginning and my reading experience suffered a bit for it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Callum McLaughlin

    I’m glad to say I rounded off my reading of the Women’s Prize longlist with a strong contender. Remembered opens in 1910, as a mother rushes to her son’s hospital bed. Charged with committing a serious crime, and on the brink of death, she vows to tell him the truth of his origins, so that he may ‘find his way home’ in peace. We then travel back to the 1840s, and ultimately follow three generations of this family, showing us how we ended up at this tragic tableau, and highlighting repetitions th I’m glad to say I rounded off my reading of the Women’s Prize longlist with a strong contender. Remembered opens in 1910, as a mother rushes to her son’s hospital bed. Charged with committing a serious crime, and on the brink of death, she vows to tell him the truth of his origins, so that he may ‘find his way home’ in peace. We then travel back to the 1840s, and ultimately follow three generations of this family, showing us how we ended up at this tragic tableau, and highlighting repetitions throughout the timeline of the African-American experience. The novel is a lot more brutal than I expected, this being a story of slavery, and the struggle that many black people faced to rebuild and find acceptance in the wake of Emancipation. Violence, deprivation, and cruelty are a near constant presence, but that’s not to say the book lacks hope or beauty. On the contrary, the finding of family, and the preservation of joy in the darkest of times are both major threads that run throughout. The narrative voice feels very authentic. Though the informal approach to grammar takes a little getting used to for those unaccustomed, once you find the rhythm of the prose, it flows beautifully, helping to set the book in its rightful time and place. The characters themselves are richly drawn, and I found myself caring deeply about their fate. There is an element of magical realism; our heroine able to see and communicate with the ghost of her sister. I sometimes struggle with this kind of thing in an otherwise raw and realistic story, but in this instance, I thought it was handled wonderfully. Not only do the sisters’ scenes together deliver equal parts pathos and snark, but the ghost’s presence serves as a clever symbol of the book’s main theme: the importance of facing up to the past, lest it continue to haunt us. Indeed, there are undeniable parallels between the historical events described, and every generation leading up to the world we live in now. Battle-Felton has written a powerful yet sensitive rallying call, telling the real story between the headlines that so often went untold. In it, she urges us to remember those who have suffered. Together, we can make sure no one need suffer as they did again.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Remembered is the story of Spring, who was a young woman when slavery was abolished, and whose son, Edward is dying in a hospital bed. Edward, a striking member of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, reportedly intentionally drove a speeding trolley into a department store. He was then dragged out of the streetcar and beaten brutally by a crowd. At Spring's side in the hospital is the ghost of her sister, Tempe, Edward's birth mother. Spring is telling Edward the story of his family as the li Remembered is the story of Spring, who was a young woman when slavery was abolished, and whose son, Edward is dying in a hospital bed. Edward, a striking member of the Philadelphia Rapid Transit Company, reportedly intentionally drove a speeding trolley into a department store. He was then dragged out of the streetcar and beaten brutally by a crowd. At Spring's side in the hospital is the ghost of her sister, Tempe, Edward's birth mother. Spring is telling Edward the story of his family as the lived through the final years of slavery on a farm in Maryland, under the brutal Walker family. While fictional (as well as non-fiction narratives) accounts of the lives of enslaved Africans and African Americans are plentiful, this story told from the perspective of Spring, takes us through the years after slavery into the beginning of the 20th century. Spring is a resilient woman, and her sister, Tempe, is so strong, she lingers on as a ghost. This is a story full of strong women's voices, who are remarkable survivors. Post Civil War Philadelphia was a city with a sizable population of "free" African Americans before the abolition of slavery. Pennsylvania borders Maryland and the Mason-Dixon Line along this border, established the boundary between the states the allowed slavery, and those states which prohibited it. Spring and other freed slaves from Maryland and further south flooded Philadelphia after their liberation. The author creates a familiar type of discourse among the longtime residents against the newcomers - "they're making it hard for us to get jobs", "they're pulling down for wages because they'll work for almost nothing". This was eerily parallel to current arguments about immigrants in the United States. I don't know if Battle-Felton invented this discord, or whether there are historical records. As it occurred within the Black Community, it is less likely we'd have the kind of documentation we might find in our times which might show up in political discourse in public speeches or the media. However, it is believable that these kinds of conflicts may have occurred. The 1910 transit strike really happened. I could not find an account of an incident of a trolley driving into a store. However, there was a strikebreaker who drove a speeding trolley into a crowd, while holding a revolver in one hand. The National Guard was brought in to control the strikers, rioting broke out, and then a General Strike paralyzed parts of the East Coast with walkouts, leading the public to sympathize with the transportation workers (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philade...). Dr. Battle-Felton, born in the US, lives in the UK where she is an associate lecturer at Lancaster University. This novel is a nominee on the 2019 Women's Fiction Longlist. She is the recipient of a Northern Writers Award (2017). This is a compelling story and a book that was hard to put down. Simon Savidge's review pushed me to get it. As of April, 2019, it has not been published in the U.S.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Khulud Khamis

    We need more books like this one, telling forgotten, buried, and untold stories of women during slavery. This was heartbreaking. Beautifully written.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Tasnim (Reads.and.Reveries)

    {Gifted by @dialoguebooks} … This book was atmospheric, haunting, brutal and so well-written. I felt pretty smug about the fact that I had added this book to my list just a few days before it was longlisted for the Women’s Prize and I’m happy to say that the excitement I felt was completely justified. … I always find books that depict the realities of slavery difficult to read and this book was no exception, however, I also think that we should continue to read them, regardless. We shouldn’t be allow {Gifted by @dialoguebooks} … This book was atmospheric, haunting, brutal and so well-written. I felt pretty smug about the fact that I had added this book to my list just a few days before it was longlisted for the Women’s Prize and I’m happy to say that the excitement I felt was completely justified. … I always find books that depict the realities of slavery difficult to read and this book was no exception, however, I also think that we should continue to read them, regardless. We shouldn’t be allowed to forget that lives were lived in this way and that whilst slavery may have been abolished, its ghosts continue to haunt us. … Yvonne Battle-Felton doesn’t spare the reader or allow you to get too comfortable, however, her writing transports you to another time and place and allows you to get completely lost in the world of its central characters. At its heart, Remembered is a story about what lies behind our silence, the things we don’t say, the truths that need to be told and the hope for a freedom that might come from telling them. Overall, I’d highly recommend this one and if you’re a fan of Jesmyn Ward or Colson Whitehead this definitely might be one to look into!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Never Without a Book

    Set in Philadelphia, 1910, Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Feldon, tells the story of Spring an emancipated slave who is desperate to bring her dying son, Edward, home from hospital. Edward, drove a streetcar through a shop window and many people are speculating as to how accidental his actions were. Spanning multigenerations we follow Spring’s family from a plantation to her present-day Philadelphia. Filled with historical information on enslavement that continued for Black people long after emanci Set in Philadelphia, 1910, Remembered by Yvonne Battle-Feldon, tells the story of Spring an emancipated slave who is desperate to bring her dying son, Edward, home from hospital. Edward, drove a streetcar through a shop window and many people are speculating as to how accidental his actions were. Spanning multigenerations we follow Spring’s family from a plantation to her present-day Philadelphia. Filled with historical information on enslavement that continued for Black people long after emancipation, this novel was profound & powerful. I did get a hit of Beloved in here as Spring talks to the ghost of her dead sister, Tempe. Unflinching and haunting, this is not an easy read, but I loved it. Thank you, Blackstone Publishing for gifting me this DARC via Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review. Overall this was a 4/5 star read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Remembered is the story of Spring and her sister Tempe, girls born into slavery on a farm in Maryland just before the end of the Civil War. But more than just a slave narrative, Yvonne Battle-Felton asks us to examine the lives of Black Americans once slavery is ended, and what possibilities exist when, despite abolishment, there still exists deep and blatant racism, even in the North. It's a fresh and thought-provoking story that I think every American should read. I give it all the stars! This Remembered is the story of Spring and her sister Tempe, girls born into slavery on a farm in Maryland just before the end of the Civil War. But more than just a slave narrative, Yvonne Battle-Felton asks us to examine the lives of Black Americans once slavery is ended, and what possibilities exist when, despite abolishment, there still exists deep and blatant racism, even in the North. It's a fresh and thought-provoking story that I think every American should read. I give it all the stars! This novel was long listed for the Women's Prize for Fiction and has not been published in the U.S. yet, but I have been told it will be released here next year.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Naty

    Enchanting, beautiful and powerful. I wish some foreshadowing of what happens wasn't so clear so I'd been more surprised about twists. But a great, great book with ghosts and the importance of history and remembering. See full review at http://natysbookshelf.wordpress.com Enchanting, beautiful and powerful. I wish some foreshadowing of what happens wasn't so clear so I'd been more surprised about twists. But a great, great book with ghosts and the importance of history and remembering. See full review at http://natysbookshelf.wordpress.com

  28. 4 out of 5

    Naomi Krüger

    A beautiful and harrowing book. I fell in love with the characters and was especially drawn into the complex relationship between sisters Spring and Tempe. This is a book that explores the weight and importance of connecting with the past in a nuanced and engaging way. If doesn’t flinch from the brutal reality of slavery and family separation (and this feels sadly resonant even now) but what remains with me now is the hope of human connection. Highly recommended!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Linsey

    DNF. Very disappointed by this one. I’ve been reading mostly library books, but I bought this one because it seemed so interesting. Unfortunately, this novel is very clumsy. Both the writing and structure needed more work. If I’m going to read explicit sexual violence and other tough topics, I need the writing to be strong and I need to trust the author. I’m realizing that a lot of books are published before they are “finished.” This is one of them. This needed to go through more drafts.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kristel Greer

    1910 and Philadelphia are on the brink of destruction. Tension among the white and black citizens is reaching fever pitch as racial discrimination is rife leaving the city burning in the fallout. When Spring learns that her loving and well-mannered son Edward drove a Streetcar into a shop window injuring white people she just can't believe he is capable of doing it and that there must be some mistake. But now she is trapped inside the worse possible place, the coloured section of the hospital wh 1910 and Philadelphia are on the brink of destruction. Tension among the white and black citizens is reaching fever pitch as racial discrimination is rife leaving the city burning in the fallout. When Spring learns that her loving and well-mannered son Edward drove a Streetcar into a shop window injuring white people she just can't believe he is capable of doing it and that there must be some mistake. But now she is trapped inside the worse possible place, the coloured section of the hospital where the patients are barely cared for and she is surrounded by despair. Edward was badly beaten and broken by the mob outside the shop and by police brutality on his arrest and he lies in a coma in his hospital bed. Spring wonders where she went wrong and realises it's time to tell him the story of his life. Spring is forced to relive her past and how Edward came into her life. She must explain and reveal shocking secrets she has been keeping from him his whole life to reach him and draw his almost lifeless body back to her. While the police wait to question him on the events that happened, a crowd has gathered outside the hospital causing mayhem both from those baying for his blood and from those who believe he is innocent. As Edward's life and liberty hang in the balance, Spring is hounded by the ghost of her dead sister who demands that the truth should finally be free. 🌟🌟🌟🌟. Through the use of newspaper clippings, flashbacks and conversations with the ghost of her dead sister, the story of Spring and her son Edward is uncovered. It is a touching but sad tale that is beautifully written which conveys the feelings, the mood and the sensations of a past that Spring wished to forget. I liked how the author used the presence of Spring's dead sister and their conversations as almost a manifestation of her conscience and shame about the decisions she has made. An intriguing story that spans decades and explores the complex concepts of racism, family, shame and the destructive nature of secrets. TW: violence and racist comments

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