Glorious is set against the backdrops of the Jim Crow South, the Harlem Renaissance, and the civil rights era. Blending the truth of American history with the fruits of Bernice L. McFadden’s rich imagination, this is the story of EasterVenetta Bartlett, a fictional Harlem Renaissance writer whose tumultuous path to success, ruin, and revival offers a candid portrait of the American experience in all its beauty and cruelty.
Glorious is ultimately an audacious exploration into the nature of self-hatred, love, possession, ego, betrayal, and, finally, redemption.
Bernice McFadden’s GLORIOUS is the story of the life of one, Easter Bartlett, who starts out in Waycross, Georgia, and winds up all the way in Harlem and the upper class townhouses of New York. From abuse and heartache to love and success during the fabulous Harlem Renaissance, GLORIOUS is the amazing story of a woman who discovers early on that her unfulfilled resolve is what gives her strength to carry on. This inner strength is one that is to be followed so that when she does her best and follows her heart, many great things are possible. The most important thing is that she can always find peace in reading and her ability to write.
From the first chapter of GLORIOUS, I was immediately intrigued by Easter as I read about her starting out in 1910 in Georgia where she witnessed her father and sister put through their own personal tragedies and watched as her mother followed by dying of a broken heart. As she does throughout her life and the story, she left that behind to move on to another encounter where unrequited love is Easter’s torture this time. One experience after another, one love, one heartbreak…all come together to become Easter’s path in life as she makes her way up to New York and finally back to Georgia where it all began. Characters such as Rain, Colin, and Meredith are as heartrending and moving as is Easter as she encounters them because Bernice McFadden has a way with words that make the story and its characters powerful and moving, tragic and beautiful…most of all captivating as you can’t stop turning the pages to see what happens next with these well developed, multi-layered characters’ lives. Throughout all of the story, the one constant you cheer for is the comfort of Easter’s writing until there comes a time when even that is taken from her.
Whether Easter is working for a rich white woman or teaching school, or working in a traveling sideshow or with her beloved writing, the reader is transported by McFadden’s superbly written narrative. Drawn into the characters’ lives as never before, it is easy for me to give this book a high recommendation and to see why Oprah named it one of the top most promising books of this new decade and compared it to our last decade’s phenomenal hit, THE HELP.
THANKS TO BERNICE MCFADDEN
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