📖Thrilled to be part of this blog tour today on Publication Day 📖
8 February 2021
My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
and the invitation to the blog tour
"I watched in awe as Miz Rosa stopped those men on the bus with her clear, calm “no” and I thought about that word. What if I said no? What if I refused to follow the path these White folks wanted for us? What if I kept this precious baby?
Montgomery, Alabama, 1955
On a cold December evening, Mattie Banks packs a suitcase and leaves her family home. Sixteen years old and pregnant, she has already made the mistake that will ruin her life and disgrace her widowed mother. Boarding the 2857 bus, she sits with her case on her lap, hoping that the driver will take her away from disaster. Instead, Mattie witnesses an act of bravery by a woman named Rosa Parks that changes everything. But as Mattie strives to turn her life around, the dangers that first led her to run are never far away. Forging a new life in a harsh world at constant risk of exposure, Mattie will need to fight to keep her baby safe.
Atlanta, Georgia, present day
Ashlee Turner is going home. Her relationship in ruins, her career held back by prejudice, she is returning to the family who have always been her rock. But Ashlee’s home is not the safe haven she remembers. Her beloved grandmother is dying and is determined to share her story before she leaves…
When Ashlee finds a stack of yellowing letters hidden in her nana’s closet, she can’t help the curiosity that compels her to read, and she uncovers an old secret that could wreak havoc on her already grieving family. As she tries to make sense of what she has learned, Ashlee faces a devastating choice: to protect her loved ones from the revelations, or honor her grandmother’s wishes and follow the path to the truth, no matter where it may lead.
For readers of The Help, Orphan Train and Before We Were Yours comes a beautiful and heartbreaking novel about redemption, family secrets and the spirit of survival found at the hardest time.
📖 My thoughts..
It's 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama and sixteen year old Mattie Banks sits on the bus with her battered suitcase, her head full of troubles and her heart heavy with a momentous decision reached. Then, on the bus, she witnesses something extraordinary which will shape her destiny, and that of her family for generations to come.
In present day Georgia, corporate lawyer, Ashlee Turner is at her own crossroads, both in her career which seems to be stalling, and in her relationship with her boyfriend which seems to have reached an emotional impasse. When she is called home to see her beloved grandmother Ashlee discovers that the emotional bond she shares with her family, and especially her nana, will see her through this troubling time.
Told in alternate voices, that of Mattie and Ashlee, the author certainly knows how to brings a story alive and very quickly I became immersed in Mattie's eventful life in Montgomery and of the trials and prejudices she endured as a young woman of colour growing up in a segregated society. My heart ached with sorrow for her, and her mother, when they were subjected to such disdain by people who should have treated them better.. The author goes on to show that racism has not yet been confined to history, and successful though she is in her professional life Ashlee also finds that she too has to fight for recognition in a world where prejudice and sexism still flourish.
The Girl at the Back of the Bus is beautifully written by an author who has poured so much emotion into the story and paints such a realistic picture I felt as if I too travelled on the 2857 bus alongside Mattie. I laughed with Mattie when she was happy, felt her pain when she was sad, and admired her strength of spirit to succeed in a world which was just so difficult. Ashlee's modern day dilemmas are no less important, and the seamless transition between viewpoints allows both women to have a strong and powerful voice.
The Girl at the Back of the Bus is a multi-generational story which highlights the spirit of survival, the emotion of hidden secrets, and the overwhelming strength of powerful family values.
Suzette D. Harrison, a native Californian and the middle of three daughters, grew up in a home where reading was required, not requested. Her literary "career" began in junior high school with the publishing of her poetry. While Suzette pays homage to Alex Haley, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, Langston Hughes, and Toni Morrison as legends who inspired her creativity, it was Dr. Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings that unleashed her writing. The award-winning author of Taffy is a wife and mother of two teens, and she holds a culinary degree in pastry and baking. Mrs. Harrison is currently cooking up her next novel...in between batches of cupcakes.