Scarlet Carnations by Laila Ibrahim
About the book: In an early twentieth-century America roiling with racial injustice, class divides, and WWI, two women fight for their dreams in a galvanizing novel by the bestselling author of Golden Poppies.
May and Naomi are extended family, their grandmothers’ lives inseparably entwined on a Virginia plantation in the volatile time leading up to the Civil War. For both women, the twentieth century promises social transformation and equal opportunity.
May, a young white woman, is on the brink of achieving the independent life she’s dreamed of since childhood. Naomi, a nurse, mother, and leader of the NAACP, has fulfilled her own dearest desire: buying a home for her family. But they both are about to learn that dreams can be destroyed in an instant. May’s future is upended, and she is forced to rely once again on her mother. Meanwhile, the white-majority neighborhood into which Naomi has moved is organizing against her while her sons are away fighting for their country.
In the tumult of a changing nation, these two women―whose grandmothers survived the Civil War―support each other’s quest for liberation and dignity. Both find the strength to confront injustice and the faith to thrive on their chosen paths.
My Thoughts: A book about civil rights, racial divide, and WWI is so intriguing for me. I was excited when I picked up the book and I am still excited for this story now that I have finished the book. I loved the characters, all of them, as I learned about their unique upbringings, their challenges in life, and the way they work to over come all that has been thrown at them.
There were so many emotions within this book for me. I was in awe of May and Naomi. The strength of these women was phenomenal. I cried at what May and Naomi had to live through. The WWI part of the book had me in fear of what would happen to the young men sent to fight not only against the foreign enemies but also those who were US citizens.
I loved the writing style of alternate chapters told by May and Naomi that were labeled and easy to follow. There were times that the story seemed to be more of a history lesson then a fictional story but the lessons I learned helped me understand what was to come. I cannot imagine the amount of research that must have been done to get it all correct.
**Thank you Julia Romero at Wunderkind PR for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
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Author information: Laila Ibrahim is the bestselling author of Golden Poppies, Paper Wife, Mustard Seed, and Yellow Crocus. She spent much of her career as a preschool director, a birth doula, and a religious educator. That work, coupled with her education in developmental psychology and attachment theory, provided ample fodder for her novels.
She’s a devout Unitarian Universalist, determined to do her part to add a little more love and justice to our beautiful and painful world. She lives with her wonderful wife, Rinda, and two other families in a small cohousing community in Berkeley, California. Her young adult children are her pride and joy.
Laila is blessed to be working full-time as a novelist. When she isn’t writing, she likes to take walks with friends, do jigsaw puzzles, play games, work in the garden, travel, cook, and eat all kinds of delicious food. Visit the author at www.lailaibrahim.com.