Whenever people are first trying to expand the authors that they are reading, it can be overwhelming. In the next few days I’ll be spotlighting authors who I’ve been reading a lot lately in a variety of genres.
Tananarive Due has written many books in many genres herself. The first of her books that I read was My Soul to Keep.
When Jessica marries David, he is everything she wants in a family man: brilliant, attentive, ever youthful. Yet she still feels something about him is just out of reach. Soon, as people close to Jessica begin to meet violent, mysterious deaths, David makes an unimaginable confession: More than 400 years ago, he and other members of an Ethiopian sect traded their humanity so they would never die, a secret he must protect at any cost. Now, his immortal brethren have decided David must return and leave his family in Miami. Instead, David vows to invoke a forbidden ritual to keep Jessica and his daughter with him forever.
I’d describe this one as psychological thriller/horror. Stephen King wrote the blurb for the cover and it reminds me of a story that he might have written with the combination of a normal setting that devolves into something scary.
This is the second in her four book African Immortals series that started with My Soul to Keep. SPOILERS IN DESCRIPTION
Jessica Jacobs-Wolde worked hard to rebuild her life in Miami after the disappearance of her husband, David, and the death of her daughter Kira at his hand. Four years later, she is still coming to terms with a shocking truth: David, who is part of an ancient group of immortals — a hidden African clan that has survived for more than a thousand years — gave Jessica and their second daughter, Fana, the gift of his healing blood.
Now Jessica is running an isolated clinic in Botswana — one that has swiftly earned a reputation for its astounding success rate in curing desperately ill children — and she hopes to find the tribe of souls with whom Fana truly belongs. Just three and a half years old, the girl is displaying signs of tremendous power — conjuring storms, editing her mother’s memories, and striking people down with a thought. Her growing abilities need to be tamed — and soon. Already Fana’s dreams are haunted by a shadowy entity, someone — or something — she can only call the Bee Lady.
Unaware that they are being tracked by Lucas Shepard, a doctor from Florida who hopes to save his dying son, and by a group of fortune hunters who will stop at nothing to exploit the power coursing through her veins, Jessica journeys to Ethiopia in search of the Life Brothers.
Each book in this series is a bit different than the others. I can’t decide if I like the first or second better. I love them both for different reasons. I spent the third book wanting to smack the main character but then she would kill me with the power of her brain. I haven’t read the last one yet but I’m looking forward to it.
Like short stories? This collection was just published.
Whether weaving family life and history into dark fiction or writing speculative Afrofuturism, American Book Award winner and Essence bestselling author Tananarive Due’s work is both riveting and enlightening.
In her debut collection of short fiction, Due takes us to Gracetown, a small Florida town that has both literal and figurative ghost; into future scenarios that seem all too real; and provides empathetic portraits of those whose lives are touched by Otherness.
I think this is the next book of hers that I’m going to read.
Patricia Stephens Due fought for justice during the height of the Civil Rights era. Her daughter, Tananarive, grew up deeply enmeshed in the values of a family committed to making right whatever they saw as wrong. Together, in alternating chapters, they have written a paean to the movement—its hardships, its nameless foot soldiers, and its achievements—and an incisive examination of the future of justice in this country. Their mother-daughter journey spanning two generations of struggles is an unforgettable story.
Where to Start?
- It depends on your mood. She has written in many styles. Check out her Goodreads page for her other books.
- She is very active on Twitter (@TananariveDue). She writes often about civil rights and Afrofuturism in fiction.