Book Review: Queen Sugar by Nathalie Baszile
January 8, 2014 4 Comments
The publisher says: “Why exactly Charley Bordelon’s late father left her eight hundred sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her eleven-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles.
They arrive just in time for growing season but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that’s mired in the past: as her judgmental but big-hearted grandmother tells her, cane farming is always going to be a white man’s business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart.“
Queen Sugar: What I thought
I love “Southern” books and this is no exception. City-woman Charley is full of hope when she moves to rural Louisiana to manage the sugar cane plantation she has inherited. Things are not straightforward and Charley is having a hard time getting the plantation in order. But she’s determined!
She has her grandmother and aunt living nearby and they are helpful. But then her much older half-brother shows up. He’s bad news, although Charley, who doesn’t know him very well, refuses to be prejudiced and decides to give him a chance.
Meanwhile, she finds that the rich (and white) sugar cane farmers don’t want anything to do with her, an Afro-American woman. Luckily, she finds some help in unexpected places. That doesn’t mean things go smoothly, but at least she has some guidance and support.
It was great to read about this strong woman, determined to succeed in the difficult world of sugar farming. The way she dealt with her family is interesting: her grandma on the one hand, who is very old-fashioned, her daughter who doesn’t really want to be there, her strange brother, her aunt who tries to support her as much as she can.
And then there are all the interesting new people she meets. A very enjoyable book.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (good to very good)
Number of pages: 384
First published: 2013
I got this: from the publishers, via Netgalley (ebook)
Genre: contemporary fiction