Here is my list of books I’ve read in the Americas since the last readathon with a few exceptions:
- These are all adult fiction because YA and nonfiction get their own day.
- I’m not including all the books set in the U.S. because I live here so they don’t count.
In Avening, a tiny town on the Pacific coast, it’s hard not to believe in magic. This is a town where the shoes in the window always fit, where you can buy a love potion at the corner shop, and where the woods at the outskirts of town just might be the door to another world. And, of course, there’s Autumn, Avening’s beloved resident witch. From what’s known of its mythical founding, Avening has always been a haven for people who are a little bit different, a place where they can come to discover what makes them so special.
Once Jenny Casey was somebody’s daughter. Once she was somebody’s enemy. Now the former Canadian special forces warrior lives on the hellish streets of Hartford, Connecticut, in the year 2062. Racked with pain, hiding from the government she served, running with a crime lord so she can save a life or two, Jenny is a month shy of fifty, and her artificially reconstructed body has started to unravel. But she is far from forgotten. A government scientist needs the perfect subject for a high-stakes project and has Jenny in his sights.
Yeah, I know the summary says Connecticut but as the series goes on (I read all three books) it takes place in Toronto, Vancouver, and on a spaceship.
Ana and her son, Philippe, are grieving the loss of Philippe’s father when Ana’s hairstylist Kimi dies in an apparent suicide. Driven by a force she doesn’t understand, Ana starts digging into Kimi’s past in Guyana in 1978, which leads to nested tales of north and south, past and present, and to the Jonestown Massacre.
This book was a liar. I read this just to get a Guyana book but it took place entirely in Quebec.
Jamaica, Quebec, and Massachusetts
The year is 1729, and Resolute Talbot and her siblings are captured by pirates, taken from their family in Jamaica, and brought to the New World. Resolute and her sister are sold into slavery in colonial New England and taught the trade of spinning and weaving. When Resolute finds herself alone in Lexington, Massachusetts, she struggles to find her way in a society that is quick to judge a young woman without a family. As the seeds of rebellion against England grow, Resolute is torn between following the rules and breaking free.
The Birth House is the story of Dora Rare, the first daughter to be born in five generations of the Rare family. As a child in an isolated village in Nova Scotia, she is drawn to Miss Babineau, an outspoken Acadian midwife with a gift for healing and a kitchen filled with herbs and folk remedies. During the turbulent years of World War I, Dora becomes the midwife’s apprentice. Together, they help the women of Scots Bay through infertility, difficult labors, breech births, unwanted pregnancies and even unfulfilling sex lives.
I didn’t realize that I had read that many books set in Canada this year.
South America and Caribbean
Elisabeth Samson, a free black Surinamese woman who lived in 18th-century Dutch Guyana, is the central character in this compelling novel. Challenging the prevailing racial stereotypes by demonstrating her intelligence and business acumen, she is determined to marry a white man in defiance of all established norms and conventions. Set amidst the rich backdrop of the Golden Age of Suriname, this biographical account depicts the complex social and racial stratifications which were features of slave colonies of the era as well as this remarkable woman who overcame institutionalized discrimination and prejudice to become one of the wealthiest individuals in the slave colony of Dutch Guyana.
Maryse Condé’s personal journey of discovery and revelation becomes ours as we learn of Victoire, her white-skinned mestiza grandmother who worked as a cook for the Walbergs, a family of white Creoles, in the French Antilles.
Armed with fake papers, a handful of gold nuggets, and a snazzy custom-made suit, an unemployed schoolteacher with a singular passion for detective fiction sets out from small-town Bolivia on a desperate quest for an American visa, his best hope for escaping his painful past and reuniting with his grown son in Miami.
I’ve read more in South America but they fall into the YA and nonfiction categories so stay tuned for them.
Where to Start
My Name is Resolute was amazing. The Free Negress Elisabeth is incredibly detailed and sometimes reads more like a textbook. The author published her research first as nonfiction and then turned it into this historical fiction version. It is a very interesting story.