By Love Possessed
By Lorna Goodison
Amistad/HarperCollins, May 2012
$14.99, 262 pp.
In the short story “The Helpweight,” a successful businesswoman encounters an ex-lover who has returned to Jamaica with his new bride yet also wants to rekindle their relationship; in the hilarious tale “Bella Makes a Life,” a reserved Joseph contends with his wife’s newfound Material Girl outlook inspired by her visits to New York City; and in the touching story “Shilling,” a young girl who is desperate for a boy’s attention finally gets it at an unexpected cost. In By Love Possessed, Jamaican-born poet and author Lorna Goodison presents a breathy and impressive collection of stories that explore the intricacies and the dimensions of the soul and the array of human emotions. Drawing from her homeland as the backdrop, what anchors these 22 charming stories is Goodison’s blending of memorable characters, the veracity of her storytelling, the Caribbean patois woven in the dialogue and the rhythmic prose that expresses the complex adventures of the heart.
The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln
By Stephen L. Carter
Knopf, July 2012
$26.95, 512 pp.
In the latest suspense novel by Yale University law professor Stephen L. Carter, the author reimagines an already tragic event in American history. In Carter’s story, President Lincoln has survived the attempt on his life, however, he becomes the target of an impeachment trial led by a group of Managers who charge, among a list of items, his attempts to overthrow Congress and that he has been “insufficiently supportive of the colored race,” now that the Civil War and slavery have ended. As the team of lawyers prepares to build a defense for the president, the firm hires Abigail Canner, an ambitious young, Black woman and recent graduate from Oberlin. Abigail is not content to be a law clerk; she wants to become a lawyer. When one of the lead counsel men is murdered, Abigail becomes involved in the escalating suspense. With his fifth novel, Carter once again proves himself a competent writer who infuses his story with intriguing historical details, intricate plot twists, and a cast of sympathetic and suspicious characters.
The Reverend’s Wife
By Kimberla Lawson Roby
Grand Central Publishing, May 2012
$24.99, 336 pp.
The Reverend Curtis Black, pastor of the Deliverance Outreach church, has not always been the most faithful husband; however, he has been working religiously to change his ways. But after discovering that his third wife, Charlotte, has had two affairs in a matter of months, Curtis has made up his mind to file for divorce. Charlotte begs for another chance. Her desperate attempts to save her marriage, Curtis’ reluctance to the idea, and a woman who is bent on becoming the next wife of the popular reverend are at the center of best-selling author Kimberla Lawson Roby’s latest installment in her Reverend Curtis Black series. Roby slowly draws the reader into her story about the belief of being given second, even third, chances. While the realistic and fast-moving dialogue helps to churn The Reverend’s Wife, Roby’s twists and turns keep the reader absorbed in this story that could easily be the script for a satisfying movie on TV’s Lifetime channel.
Ada’s Rules: A Sexy Skinny Novel
By Alice Randall
Bloomsbury, May 2012
$24, 335 pp.
Ada Howard, the mother of two daughters and the wife of the preacher of the Full Love Baptist Tabernacle, was not sure of her exact weight. All she knew was that her 3X sweats were fitting rather tightly. Ada also suspects her husband of cheating, which fuels her determination to loose weight. And with her 25-year college reunion approaching and the chance of catching up with an old boyfriend, Ada becomes inspired even more to lose weight and return to her sexy, college size. To help her on her journey, Ada formulates a list of “Fifty-three Rules for an Imperfect but Excellent Health and Beauty Revival.” Inspired by her own battle with weight loss, Alice Randall, author of The Wind Done Gone and Pushkin and the Queen of Spades, has created a loveable character and places her at the center of this story about soul-searching and finding something within ourselves to celebrate.