I loved this. It demonstrates a piece of history that is not well known or celebrated, but should be: Black prosperity in the North post-slavery. The Davenports are a wealthy, socially respected family who are dealing with the life pressures of their skin color and their socio-economic status. We get to follow four young debutante age women who have varying backgrounds but aspire to marry for love and become successful in their own rights. Along with them, we get the stories of the men in their lives, the ones thrust upon them by their families and those to whom they are drawn. The stories intertwine with alternating chapters unraveling their stories. We get to see their romantic aspirations, philanthropic initiatives, entrepreneurship and desire to make equality a reality. This story gives you swoony romance but also real impactful storylines focused on race, gender, socioeconomic pressure and the expectations of class and parentage. As always if the different generations just communicated their experiences more effectively, some of the stressors might have been more easily relieved.
My only bug bear is the cliff-hanger-y ending. Nothing really resolved and we’re left with an indication of what each character is going to do next but it leaves off quite abruptly. We’re all going to read the next book because the story is interesting and the writing is good, there is no need for a cliffhanger.
I also love the author’s note in the end, telling us about the family upon which this story was based.