Thursday, April 28, 2016

History Corner / Book Review: Solemn by Kalisha Buckhanon

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook, free of charge,from St Martin's Press, for review and giveaway purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it

This new book comes out on May 3rd!

solemn ave


Solemn Redvine is a precocious Mississippi girl who senses a nearby baby may be her half-sibling: the outcome of her father's mistakes with a married woman who lives in their trailer park. After Solemn witnesses a man throw the baby down a community well, she struggles to understand the event, leaving her forever changed.

As Solemn finds refuge in fantasies of stardom as well as friendships with her brother's wife and a nearby girl, the ill-fated baby's doomed mother disappears without a trace. Solemn remains trapped by connections to the missing other woman and an honest cop who suspects more to the story than others on the small local police force want to see. When her father's next mistake - a robbery - lands Solemn in a group home for troubled girls, she meets a Chicago delinquent who wants to escape. There, Solemn must face the truth of who she really is and what she is really made of.



I put this book under History Corner as it deals with events in rural Mississippi in the 70s and into the 80s. The author exams the class differences in 'the backwoods', when equality was more talked about than really equal. As I know the area when the story is set, it was interesting to see how the author handled different episodes in the story. 

Solemn is an odd child, from page one. The book is divided into 3 sections, that detail her life- before, after and later. Before deals with the events of the baby dying and how the death brought a spotlight to their trailer park and cocooned world. Part two deals with how Solemn handles the after effects of the incident, how she finds a friend and then ultimately looses her, and how her life changes as she suddenly wishes for more out of life, as does her family, through their time spend with the girl and her family. Part three deals with how Solemn's family deals with having more money and success, and what seems like an inevitable downfall. 

The book is interesting in how it deals interpersonal drama amid racial misunderstandings and attempts to explore the wrongs of the system as it was at that time period. There is much left unsaid, but left to the reader to decipher. Including the end, which I have to warn you ends rather abruptly, for how the book evolved. And you know me, I hate hanging endings. I'm not sure if the author plans on picking up where the book ends in another book, or if she leaves it to the reader to imagine what occurs next in Solemn's life. If you are unfamiliar with the South during this time period, you'll find it an interesting read. 

About the Author

Conception and Upstate. Her short stories are widely published in many online and university print literary journals. Her articles and essays appear on several popular women’s blogs and cultural websites. Her writing awards include an American Library Association ALEX Award, Friends of American Writers Award, Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, and Terry McMillan Young Author Award. Kalisha’s work has received attention in major media outlets such as Essence, The Guardian, BBC-London, TV-One, People, Elle, Entertainment Weekly and Marie Claire. She has an M.F.A. from The New School in New York City, and her B.A. and M.A. in English from University of Chicago. She writes at her blog

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One reader will win the hardback of this novel!

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