"Stunning. ... Family is at the core of Remembrance, the breathtaking debut novel by Rita Woods." -- The Boston Globe. This breakout historical debut with modern resonance is perfect for the many fans of The Underground Railroad and Orphan Train.
Remembrance…It’s a rumor, a whisper passed in the fields and veiled behind sheets of laundry. A hidden stop on the underground road to freedom, a safe haven protected by more than secrecy…if you can make it there.
Ohio, present day. An elderly woman who is more than she seems warns against rising racism as a young nurse grapples with her life.
Haiti, 1791, on the brink of revolution. When the slave Abigail is forced from her children to take her mistress to safety, she discovers New Orleans has its own powers.
1857 New Orleans—a city of unrest: Following tragedy, house girl Margot is sold just before her promised freedom. Desperate, she escapes and chases a whisper.... Remembrance.
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The trauma of slavery forms the core of Woods's arresting debut, which weaves together tales of four black women from the late 1700s to the present day. Gaelle, originally from Haiti, is a nurse's aide working in a care facility in contemporary Ohio, where a dour resident named Winter abruptly grabs her, transmitting a familiar, hot, seemingly otherworldly energy. Stumbling against the wall, Gaelle falls into a dream state. The narrative then jumps to rural 1857 Louisiana, where Margot, a 17-year-old slave, decides to escape to New Orleans, where a priestess named Abigail is rumored to protect slaves. As the story hopscotches through time, it hits 1852, when teenage Winter lives with Abigail in a magical Ohio sanctuary called Remembrance, and 1791, when Abigail honed her powers. But by the time Margot finds Abigail, her powers are beginning to diminish. The magical abilities manifest differently Gaelle can sense the past through touch, Abigail bends space to create a protected area, Margot can heal with her touch, Winter can break into "spaces between spaces" and helps each fight the racist conventions of their eras. Fine attention to sensory details and brutal honesty concerning the horrors of slavery and racial relations over more than two centuries of American history make this a standout.
A unique and exciting story
I loved the way the author intertwined the four main ladies of the story. The jumping back and forth in time has wanting to jump ahead but you also want to find out what’s next for upcoming character. You feel the pain of the women as they endure various family heartbreak and tragedy.
An amazing debut
This was so amazing! I was expecting a historical fiction about the Underground Railroad, and I got that, as well as so much more! From beginning to end I was completely hooked on this book! What an amazing storyline, as well as amazing characters, and just enough magic to make it mystical. I loved every second!
-the characters were so strong! Winter, Abigail, Margot, and Gayelle were an amazing cast of main characters that I found myself attached to instantly, as well as heartbroken over as their stories continues.
Along with this is the supporting characters. Dix has the best character arch that I wasn’t expecting , Petal is absolutely amazing, and David Henry is a hunky hero that I loved.
-the heartbreak. This does have to do with slavery, and with that there is a lot of torture, as well as death that everyone goes through, and you get to see a firsthand account of it all, it breaks your heart, but those characters reactions are so memorable!
-the storyline. Such a good storyline. I loved the magic in this, as well as the spirits, and I tore through it, and had a hard time putting it down
-Margot. I loved her so much in the beginning, but she had such a weak arch that by the end I didn’t really care where she ended up, she did by far have the best magic, but i feel like I saw it the least.
-I want more Gayelle! As a former cna, I loved her storyline, I felt so bad for her, but I absolutely loved her progression and her ending, just wish we had more of her in the book
-I don’t have much more. There were some graphic parts, that’s my only real disclosure
All in all, I was not ready for this book. It was so different than what I was expecting in honestly the best way! I genuinely hope we get a continuance, even though I doubt we will. I will definitely keep my eyes out for Rita woods, because I loved this so much!