Looking for great adult fiction reads for Black History Month? Our staff recommend these titles.
See our staff picks for adult nonfiction for Black History Month which we published previously. Our staff picks for young adult and children’s reads will follow next week.
Newlyweds Celestial and Roy, the living embodiment of the New South, are settling into the routine of their life together when Roy is sent to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. An insightful look into the lives of people who are bound and separated by forces beyond their control. – recommended by Regina S., Doylestown Branch
The story of two sisters—one a missionary to Africa and the other a child wife living in the South—who remain loyal to one another across time, distance, and silence. Beautifully imagined and deeply compassionate, this classic of American literature is rich with passion, pain, inspiration, and an indomitable love of life. Winner of the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. – recommended by Heather L., Doylestown Branch
As a hit man from the time he was very young, money, women, and danger have always ruled Gideon’s life; but for the first time, it’s taking its toll. Neither Gideon nor the city of Buenos Aires has recovered from the mayhem caused during Gideon’s last job. But before the dust has settled and the bodies have been buried, Gideon calls in backup-including the lovely Hawks, with whom Gideon has heated memories-to launch his biggest act of revenge yet . . . one he believes will destroy his adversary, Midnight, once and for all. – recommended by Regina S., Doylestown Branch
“This novel takes you on a journey through the era of slavery from Haiti to New Orleans during the 18th century. Valmurain, the new master of the sugar plantation (previously owned by his father), purchases a young girl, Zarit (Tete) as a maid for his first wife. He frequently exploits her for his own pleasures and is the father of one of her children. Valmurain and Zarit’s lives intertwine through slave revolts and the hardships of his possessive and malicious second wife. Enjoy this fascinating story detailing the challenges Zarit overcomes as she seeks independence.” – recommended by Cheryl G., Yardley-Makefield Branch
The collective elder mothers of Upper Room Chapel open with a Greek chorus-esque recitation about happenings affecting their congregation. At the center of the chatter is Nadia, 17, who had “earned a wild reputation” since her mother committed suicide six months earlier; the Upper Room elders know that Nadia is pregnant by the pastor’s son Luke. Desperate to be somewhere else, Nadia chooses the promises of a prestigious college-degreed future, has an abortion, and leaves. The repercussions will continue for years. Relationships crumble, reignite, repair, and disappear among family, friends, and lovers, but the inescapable reach of the mothers – even the missing and lost mothers – looms. – recommended by Regina S., Doylestown Branch
“The story of two men – vastly separate, but so very similar – who come home to the Mississippi Delta from war in 1946.” – recommended by Tracey R., Warminster Township Free Library
Jesmyn Ward brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, the novel journeys through Mississippi’s past and present, examining the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power – and limitations – of family bonds. – recommended by Regina S., Doylestown Branch
Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years’ experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she’s been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don’t want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene? – recommended by Melva J., Township Library of Lower Southampton and Regina S., Doylestown Branch
Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala
A revelation shared between two privileged teenagers from very different backgrounds sets off a chain of events with devastating consequences. As the two friends struggle to reconcile their desires against the expectations and institutions that seek to define them, they find themselves speeding toward a future more violent and senseless than they can imagine. Neither will escape unscathed. – recommended by Regina S., Doylestown Branch
Underground Airlines by Ben Winters
Ralph Ellison’s “The Invisible Man” meets Blade Runner in this outstanding alternate history thriller from Edgar-winner Winters (The Last Policeman). Victor, an African-American bounty hunter for the U.S. Marshals Service, possesses a supreme talent for tracking down runaway slaves in a world in which there was no Civil War and slavery still exists in four Southern states. – recommended by Heather L., Warminster Township Free Library
Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood – where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted. In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor – engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. – recommended by Regina S., Doylestown Branch