Author: Sadeqa Johnson
Published by: Simon & Schuster on Feb. 7, 2023
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: ARC, Paperback
Source: Simon & Schuster
Book Rating: 10/10
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.
Insightful, thought-provoking, and memorable!
The House of Eve is a compelling tale that sweeps you away to Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., during the early 1950s and into the lives of two Black women; Ruby Pearsall, a high school junior who dreams of winning one of only two scholarships so she can attend university and become an ophthalmologist until her love for a local Jewish boy puts a little wrench in her plans, and Eleanor Quarles, a Howard University sophomore whose love for a wealthy medical student and an unexpected pregnancy opens her eyes to a world she never knew existed and a social hierarchy she’s not sure she’ll ever be able to climb.
The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are genuine, multilayered, and vulnerable. And the plot is a beautifully written, poignant tale about life, loss, courage, hope, dreams, motherhood, poverty, racial discrimination, inequality, forbidden love, adoption, familial drama, and the heartbreak and struggles of infertility.
In 2021, Johnson’s previous novel, The Yellow Wife, was one of my favourite novels of the year, and it’s safe to say The House of Eve will be on that list for 2023. It’s a powerful, emotional, masterfully woven tale that transports you to another time and place and immerses you so thoroughly into the personalities, feelings, and lives of the characters you can’t help but be completely absorbed and fully invested.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to Simon & Schuster for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.