Monday, August 21, 2017

Let Us Dream by Alyssa Cole

Women helped each other in ways small and large every day, without thinking, and that was what kept them going even when the world came up with new and exciting ways to crush them (164).

Reading this book made me so happy. I'm so glad I "buddy read" it with Korey, even though I was way too slow and she finished it a week before I did. As she said in her review, this is a satisfying read in Mango Mussolini's America. Two people of color, finding love and their dreams? YES to the please, TYVM.

Bertha is an ex-prostitute who is now madam of her own club for black people. Amir is a Bengali Muslim who she recently hired as a chef. The attraction between them is instant, but also fraught with difficulty because Amir has responsibilities to his family back home and Bertha has trust issues when it comes to men (for good reason). She's also a suffragette (yay!) and doesn't want to be with a man who sees her as a second class citizen.

The writing in this book is very good, and I thought the characterization was incredibly well-done. Cole in this book reminds me of Courtney Milan at her best, particularly with how Cole takes the narratives of people of color and historical feminists and weaves them into the story. We need more of that perspective in historical romances, in my opinion.

This is the third Alyssa Cole book I've read. The first, one of her short stories, didn't really wow me, but the writing was good enough that I thought a full-length novel might be better. The second, AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION, is about a black woman spying for the North while posing as a slave, and it was amazing. LET US DREAM is just as good, although length-wise it falls between the two aforementioned books, as it's not quite a short story, not quite a novel.

As of my writing this review (8/21), it's currently only 99-cents on Amazon. Go check it out!

4 out of 5 stars

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