Why You'll Like it: Well-Developed Characters. Historical. Romantic.
Beverly Jenkins has been writing historical romances for years. One of my favorite aspects about how she writes is how she layers her writing. She weaves a candid history with a passionate love story. This particular tale has an unusual storyline, but her characters and their comical interactions make for a delightful read.
Stories surrounding the history of passing have been making their way around literature. Kristin Levine's Lions of Little Rock was about a girl finding out that her best friend had been passing for white. Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi dealt with a woman finding out that her marriage was a "sham" through the birth of their child. NPR's blog: Code Switch has done a great job writing about the history of passing and what that looks like today.
The main characters had great chemistry. Their interactions were hilarious and their banter sweet. Eddy and Rhine put such a smile on my face. Eddy has dreams of opening a restaurant out in California and Rhine is doing just fine in town passing as a white man. Their paths cross when he rescues her passed out from the heat. Jenkins did a good job fleshing out Rhine's feelings of isolation and his discomfort with not fitting in with both black and white communities.
Jenkins layered their romance with unpleasant historical truths that just had me hooked. When Rhine was struggling with passing as white, he would remind himself that had he been a black man, he would not have been able to protect Eddy. He needed to stay true to his course, but oh was Eddy tempting! She reminded him that there was more than getting one over on the white man that had done him wrong. ALSO! I loved the fact that his brother (from another mother) was all about being his enabler. He was down for the cause. It was such a powerful book.
Eddy was a determined young woman who was going to achieve her dreams come hell or high water. I just loved how she just took life by the horns and it seemed she always had a plan. Even if the odds were stacked against her. I knew that Jenkins was going to give a happy ending, but I was not sure how. The ending is all ribbons and bows, which made some parts seem anti-climatic. I had read other historical romances that had terrible bittersweet endings, so I will take what I can get. If you're wanting a read to keep those warm fuzzy feelings going after Valentine's Day--this one is for you!