Like most independent booksellers, I've got my complaints about Amazon.com. But their Amazon Encores program is doing at least one thing right - bringing new attention to Zetta Elliott's A Wish After Midnight.
I know I'm late to the party on this one, but wow.
Short version: You'd think Gemma had enough to deal with in contemporary Brooklyn, but no, she timeslips back to 1863, when Brooklyn was its own city and the Civil War was well underway. And then she's stuck for a while. See all the other reviews I linked to for a more comprehensive plot summary; I'm more in the mood to talk about specifics.
- There's an obvious Kindred parallel here - modern black female ends up back in pre-Emancipation America and all that entails, Gemma manages to bring her boyfriend back and that throws all sorts of snags into their relationship - but AWAM stands alone. Not the same story, not the same conclusions, and absolutely nothing wrong with taking inspiration from Octavia E. Butler.
- The Latin Americanist in me is intrigued by the choice to make Gemma half-Panamanian. It's not one of the countries I'm best informed on, but I do know it has a considerable Afro-Latino population. (And that part of me also cringed when Gemma's mother said her daughter was black, not Latina. Would love to know if that side of Gemma's ancestry is going to figure in the sequel.)
- You want to read a book with a sense of place? AWAM's got it. This isn't overdone hipster Brooklyn; it's a vividly drawn world that we tend to ignore when we think about that borough.
- So much about women's roles here, both in the contemporary and historical sections. Still trying to organize my thoughts about the space between conforming for survival and selling out, Gemma and Judah's relationship, and women who are left alone.
- Love, love all the allusions and name-dropping. Five Points, Henry Ward Beecher's "mock auctions" - and if you're at all familiar with Glory, you can't help but cringe when Paul decides to join up with a Massachusetts regiment. *That* I want to see more of in the sequel, but only if he doesn't end up on that beach in South Carolina.