Best Women's Literary Fiction Reviews From BookViral

"A fully engaging and evocative 5-star read"

Women's Literary Fiction
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  • ASIN: ‎ B0CTHQN69G
  • Publisher: ‎ Black Rose Writing (11 April 2024)
  • Language: ‎ English
  • Print length: ‎ 325 pages
  • Genre:  Women’s Literary Fiction

The BookViral Review:

In a moving multi-generational family saga, Frances-Marie Coke takes us deep into Jamaican culture and tradition. Her story takes her reader far back to a time of surprising but deep-rooted prejudice, not only between races but within communities and families, tearing them apart and resulting in mistreatment and neglect.

The resulting long-standing consequences and beliefs both tarnish and strengthen future lives as they drip down from mother to daughter, where the fear of repeating past mistakes takes on a life of its own, infiltrating natural affection and stilting understanding.

Through the generations between Pearlie, a second-born with the ‘misfortune’ of having been born with a complexion ‘too dark’, and Zarah, who strains against the bonds of her family, Coke fearlessly narrates the inescapable and omnipresent inequality spread by cultural beliefs and brutality, whilst nevertheless capturing the resilience and sense of identity retained through oppression and isolation.

Coke’s characterisation is steadfast and stunning – each woman is flawlessly observed, creating a strong sense of identity despite their familial similarities. She delves inside the psyche of each, as they negotiate life through their own individual lens and the influences of the men around them, leaving her readers willingly carried along on a tide of harrowing and heart-rending emotion.

However, despite the perceived ‘curse of the stain’, the conviction of which doggedly pursues the women throughout their lives and those of their offspring, the pages are far from depressing or lacklustre. Each struggle is unique, yet connected by stubborn faith and endurance as Coke weaves hope and redemption throughout, as each woman expands both their outcomes and sagacity and a fearless hope of resolution and happiness.

This is historical novel writing at its best. The placing is exquisitely executed, immersing its reader in unfamiliar land and cultural practices, imparting an honest and absorbing foray into Jamaican heritage. Coke’s dialogue is no less stunning, with a flawless finesse which supports the storyline effortlessly, complementing its well-written imagery.

A beautifully written, engaging and evocative 5-star read When Banana Stains Fade: A Jamaican Family Saga of Adversity and Redemption is unreservedly recommended.

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