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Extended Audio Sample Grace: A Novel, by Natashia Deón Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Natashia Deón Narrator: Lisa Reneé Pitt Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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For a runaway slave in the 1840s South, life on the run can be just as dangerous as life under a sadistic master. That’s what fifteen-year-old Naomi learns after she escapes the brutal confines of life on an Alabama plantation. Striking out on her own, she leaves behind her beloved Momma and sister Hazel and takes refuge in a Georgia brothel run by a freewheeling, gun-toting Jewish madam named Cynthia. There, amid a revolving door of gamblers, prostitutes, and drunks, Naomi falls into a star-crossed love affair with a smooth-talking white man named Jeremy who frequents the brothel’s dice tables all too often.

The product of Naomi and Jeremy’s union is Josey, whose white skin and blonde hair mark her as different from the other slave children on the plantation. Having been taken in as an infant by a free slave named Charles, Josey has never known her mother, who was murdered at her birth. Josey soon becomes caught in the tide of history when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reaches the declining estate and a day of supposed freedom quickly turns into a day of unfathomable violence that will define Josey—and her lost mother—for years to come.

Deftly weaving together the stories of Josey and Naomi—who narrates the entire novel, unable to leave her daughter alone in the land of the living—Grace is a sweeping, intergenerational saga featuring a group of outcast women during one of the most compelling eras in American history. It is a universal story of freedom, love, and motherhood, told in a dazzling and original voice and set against a rich and transporting historical backdrop.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Natashia Deon’s superlative, gorgeously written debut grips you by the throat, exploring a teeming, post–Civil War world where the emancipation of slaves can be anything but freedom, violence is as casual as a cough, and love between a mother and a daughter can transcend even death. Scorchingly brilliant, this is one novel that already feels like a classic.”

    Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Natashia Deón has announced herself beautifully and distinctively. Her emotional range spans several octaves. She writes with her nerves, generating terrific suspense. And her style is so visual it plays tricks on the imagination…Slavery decimated families…Deón explores, with psychological acuity and absolutely no mercy, what the institution did to slave women…Justice, mercy, and grace were in dreadfully short supply…Ms. Deón has found haunting ways to explore—and deliver—all three.”

    New York Times

  • “Naomi’s emotional narration of the captivating novel reminds us of the power of motherhood and the idea of freedom.”

    Elite Daily

  • “Deón’s powerful debut is a moving, mystical family saga set over the course of twenty-five years in the deep South…Deón is a writer of great talent, using lyrical language and convincing, unobtrusive dialect to build portraits of each tragic individual as the sprawling story moves to its redemptive end.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred and boxed review)

  • “In her gripping debut novel, Deón, awarded a PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship, among other honors, dramatizes alliances formed by women in a violent place and time with adroit characterizations, a powerful narrative voice, and the propulsive plotting of a suspense novel…Readers will ache for these strong characters and yearn for them to find freedom and peace.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A brave story, necessary and poignant; it is a story that demands to be heard. This is the violent, terrifying world of the antebellum South, where African-American women were prey and their babies sold like livestock. This is the story of mothers and daughters—of violence, absence, love, and legacies. Deón’s vivid imagery, deft characterization, and spellbinding language carry the reader through this suspenseful tale. A haunting, visceral novel that heralds the birth of a powerful new voice in American fiction.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “This tale of horrific happenings spreads across two generations of a slave family, mother and daughter, in Alabama and Georgia…There are moments of love in this harsh, affecting first novel, but the story mostly conveys the taking of personal freedom and human dignity. The presence of the apparition is fanciful, but it works well in bringing resolution to an imbalanced set of happenings.”

    Library Journal

  • Grace is a swirling wild ride into the sheer terror of slavery and the aftermath, a deep travel into the inexhaustible spirit of survival of her characters, and an eye into fields and forests which remain unforgettable. The women and men in this novel transcend all notions of what we’ve read before, and their bravery is tempered with a melancholy so deep it remains long after the last page.”

    Susan Straight, author of Between Heaven and Here

  • “People will compare this book to Twelve Years a Slave, Cold Mountain, and Beloved, and those are fair comparisons for the kind of time and place here, and the evocation of the south 150 years ago. But reading it, I thought of murder ballads, those songs of melancholy and injustice. Natashia Deón’s genius lies, in part, in writing a book that sustains a murder ballad’s intensity for hundreds of pages and gets into your bones like a song.”

    Rebecca Solnit, author of Men Explain Things to Me

  • A HelloGiggles Pick of New Books You Need to Read This Summer
  • A Publishers Weekly Pick of the Week for June 13, 2016
  • A LitHub Pick of Buzz Books of Spring/Summer 2016
  • A People Pick of the Week for June 2016 
  • A Newsday Pick
  • An Elite Daily Pick for Books You'll Regret Not Reading This Summer
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
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