When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage. From TEE FRANKLIN (NAILBITER’s “THE OUTFIT,” Love is Love) and JENN ST-ONGE (Jem & The Misfits), BINGO LOVE is a touching story of love, family, and resiliency that spans over 60 years.
This gentle sweetheart story begins in 1963, when Hazel Johnson first sees Mari McCray at their church's bingo hall in Paterson, N.J. The two black teens go to high school together and quickly become best friends. Hazel falls in love with Mari, but hides her feelings for years. But nearing graduation, when Mari gets into a fight with her grandmother, and Hazel comforts her, they kiss for the first time. Their brief happiness is ended, as their families separate them after discovering their romance. Thinking they will never see each other again, both marry young. Hazel goes on to raise three children with James Downing, an Air Force pilot, and becomes a grandmother before she sees Mari again. Their serendipitous reunion takes place in another bingo hall, in an uplifting second-chance turn to the tale (complicated, still, by family). Mari and Hazel's period-appropriate outfits and hairstyles are lovingly rendered by St-Onge, and their tender moments are accompanied by flights of doves and showers of rose petals. With the buzz around this release (Franklin was awarded the Prism Queer Press Grant in 2017) and the hunger for inclusive, positive love stories, this should find a large, \nwelcoming audience.
Beautiful love story
Beautiful love story and easy read. I couldn’t put it down
Such a beautiful book. I read about 50 times and would recommend to anyone
A story about love found,denied, and discovered again. Well realized characters that feel real. It makes me want more stories revolving around the lives of Mari and Hazel before they met, the years they were together, apart, and together again. Highly recommended.