Hearts aflutter, February is here – the month of love and romance. And in this same heartwarming month, we also celebrate Black History, embracing it with understanding, an open mind, and an empathetic heart.
What better way to honor this significant time than diving into love-infused literature penned by black authors? From romantic tales to stories of platonic and familial affection, let’s dive into a journey to explore the diverse narratives this month has to offer.
The House on Blueberry Lane: A Novel - Brenda Jackson
If you are a fan of second chance love, The House on Blueberry Lane: A Novel and Brenda Jackson’s literary collections are written for you.
Jay Colfax and Velvet Spencer’s relationship was ideal. The couple entered the conflict until love grew out of the mutual vision. Despite being in an exclusive relationship for three years, Jay and Velvet soon realized the mismatching intention of their partner. While Velvet wanted to proceed this relationship to the next level of marriage, Jay held on to his disbelief in marriage and everlasting love. Turns out, even real love could not wait – Velvet’s goodbye erupted. Only it was too late; Jay finally overcame his ego to realize his immense love for Velvet. Although he would not let their relationship end in regret, he decided to win her back. Will a trip to Catalina Cove win her back? Brenda Jackson’s evocative tone will not fail your imagination.
“Whatever. For us, it will always be blueberries.”
An Extraordinary Union - Alyssa Cole
In honoring Black History Month, it is hard to skip the legacy of slavery, where the intersection of history and romance takes place simultaneously. An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole is for you, history lovers.
After escaping from slavery in Massachusetts, Elle Burns found herself re-entering this life as a spy for the Union Army in the South during the American Civil War. Meanwhile, Malcolm McCall, a Pinkerton’s Secret Service detective, took on the deadliest mission in Virginia. Their side-quest love built up a suspenseful and sensual romantic scene as they both attempted to change the tide of the Civil War. Risking their lives for peace, would Elle and Malcolm also sacrifice themselves for the call from their hearts? Alyssa Cole’s emotional and touching writings exploring this complex relationship in the midst of warfare will take you on an adventure away from conventional love.
“He’d once told her that the perfection of a beautiful lie was that it contained more truth than reality.”
The Vanishing Half - Brit Bennett
If you are taking a break from romantic relationships, why not celebrate Galentine with a book featuring sisterhood? If you are looking for a book to trigger your tear gland or prove the twins’ inseparable theory, give The Vanishing Half a try.
The story tracks the lives of identical twin sisters, Desiree and Stella Vignes. The Louisiana twins were born and raised in a dominantly black neighborhood, but until adulthood, they parted to pursue two contrasting lives. After years of leaving home, Desiree moved back to Mallard with her black daughter due to the hardship of her marriage, but Stella, whose life segued into a white family, built herself a new life. This bildungsroman masterpiece traced the twins’ two distinguished outcomes of their lifetime decisions regarding racial identity, creating nuances in perspectives. Brit Bennett’s enriched character building created layers of family conflict and climax for readers to uncover gradually.
“But she couldn’t go without Stella. She’d never been without her sister, and part of her wondered if she could even survive the separation.”
Beloved - Toni Morrison
On the heavier side of literature, Beloved is a masterpiece of heart-wrenching family and romantic affection. Diving deep into the scars that slavery left, this Nobel Prize-winning masterpiece successfully tells the story of unconventional love.
Set after the American Civil War, Sethe, a woman who escaped slavery, lived in a house with Denver, her daughter. Their house on 124 Bluestone Road, Cincinnati, was haunted by the mingling trauma of sexual abuse and child loss from the Happy Home, the slave house. Sethe’s motherhood was a nuance as she had constantly been living in the nightmares of her deceased daughter, Beloved, hovering all over the house’s atmosphere. With a lover, Paul, and her teenage daughter, Sethe’s life changed significantly when a mysterious young woman, whose name was, coincidentally, Beloved. The presence of Beloved forced Sethe and Denver to experience character development, confronting the harsh reality of slavery. Morrison’s non-linear storytelling narration and the incorporation of magical realism contributed to the literacy exploration of human experience regarding affection and trauma.
“Love is or it ain’t. Thin love isn’t love at all.”