Leave it to Alyssa Cole to write a historical IR romance that tackles one of our most violent and divisive periods of history. Thank you, Alyssa, for writing Let It Shine and sharing it with us. I loved it from start to finish!
This tightly written novella is a coming of age story for Sofie and Ivan, who’ve known one another since they were children–Sofie’s mother Delia was the housekeeper for Ivan’s family and Sofie and Ivan were childhood playmates whose friendship was cut short by the death of Sofie’s mother. Now years later, they’ve both become activists, getting involved as nonviolent protesters in the civil rights movement while the communities around then advise otherwise. For Sofie, her father only wants her to be respectable and not make waves. He thinks he is keeping her safe in trying to groom her into a docile young woman. For Ivan, now a regional champion boxer, he and his father are at odds over his boxing–his father wanted him to be a scholar–and in how they each deal with their grief over the loss of Ivan’s mother. This would be enough to cause problems for the two–but race and religion separate them. Sofie is black and Christian; Ivan is white and Jewish. And in this point in history, interracial relationships are punishable by law. And segregation is the law in Richmond, Virginia in the 1960s.
What I loved about Let It Shine that it weaves in the politics and history of the time so seamlessly with the love story. Both have equal weight in this story. And really, this is not something we can ignore. It would have been disingenuous to ignore or pretend that the violence directed at the Freedom Riders never took place. And to write a story set during this time period–the early 1960s–and setting and NOT take it up would have led to a boring and not very interesting story. But Alyssa Cole took the challenge and tackled it head on, giving the readers a fantastic sense of the courage and fear Sofie and Ivan have as they embark upon their journey into adulthood and to the reality of what their lives will be in 1960s America.
A five-star read! I look forward to Alyssa Cole’s next release!
Nana Malone scores with another winner with Stunning in Stilettos. If you haven’t read the other books in the Stiletto series, it’s okay–this one is a standalone, but you’ll probably be hooked and want to read the others as well.
Stunning in Stilettos focuses on Kyra & Bryan and their instant attraction. For Kyra, This book was about Myra and Bryan’s story. Both Star Trek fans (he of Deep Space Nine, she of the Next Generation) , they meet when Kyra is on what should be the final interview for her dream job. The person who should interview her is late, but then Bryan arrives and an instant spark ignites between the two. Both have sworn off relationships after a string of bad ones and–when Kyra discovers that Bryan is actually her boss and not the simple colleague she assumed him to be, she tries to put professional distance between them–but it’s not easy for either of them. Especially considering they are both fighting a losing battle with that red-hot attraction that keeps bringing them together.
What I loved about Stunning in Stilettos is that Kyra and Bryan respected one another, even with all the bickering and coming at odds. Their chemistry and the common ground they shared laid a great foundation for their relationship. And, of course, Nana is a master at turning up the heat, so prepare to fan yourself a few times. Two thumbs up to this fast-paced and fun-to-read love story!
**Note: I received this book as an ARC in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.**