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Longlisted for the Women’s Prize 2019, Yvonne Battle-Felton’s novel Remembered is a book of many stories. In 1910 Philadelphia, central character Spring sits by the hospital bed of her dying son. Edmund is accused of driving a streetcar into a ‘no coloreds’ department store. As Spring watches him, the ghost of her dead sister, Tempe, nearby, she finally finds the voice to weave him the stories of their collective past. ‘Most of what I’m about to tell you ain’t in no history book, no newspaper article, no encyclopedia. There’s a whole heap of stories don’t ever get told.’ And these stories are brutal, shocking, horrific, revealing not just the horrors of slavery, where women do what they must to survive, but a love so deep and powerful in which death is the ultimate freedom.

What emerges is a vivid, poignant and beautifully realised tale of slavery, Battle-Felton evoking the indomitable spirit of women faced daily with impossible choices, in an important, conflicted period of American history, the impact of which still resonates today.

 

Yvonne Battle-Felton | Remembered | Dialogue Books | £14.99 | March 2019

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Acknowledgements: Many thanks to Millie Seaward and the publisher for sending us a review copy. All opinions are our own. All rights reserved.

 

Also of interest: The Revolution Will Not Be Televised‘; ‘By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept’; ‘Permission by Saskia Vogel‘; ‘Stephanie Butland bringing women into focus’; ‘We should all be feminists‘; The not-so-invisible woman: 150 greats in their own words’;Changing the narrative: The Red Word; ‘How Penguin learned to fly – Allen Lane and the Original “Penguin Ten”‘; Dorothy L. Sayer’s Busman’s Holiday – Romek Marber for Penguin Crime (book covers we love).

This review is © 2019 by The Literary Shed. All rights reserved. All opinions are our own. We welcome your feedback and comments. If you wish to reproduce this piece, please do contact us to request permission. Thank you so much.