Jam on the Vine by LaShonda Katrice Barnett
Incensed at the iniquities inflicted on African-Americans in the Jim Crow era, Sapphic scribe Ivoe Williams decides that the only way to right these wrongs is to write about them.
In the late nineteenth century, African-Americans may have been emancipated, but they could hardly proclaim their freedom―and segregation was not something to Jim Crow about.
Young Ivoe Williams, who is at once idealistic, realistic, and journalistic, is determined to subjugate this oppression. Once she typesets her sights on a career as a reporter, there’s no stopping the presses.
Ivoe is incensed at the iniquities inflicted on African-Americans, and as indignation Ida B. Wells up inside her, she decides that the only way to right these wrongs is to write about them.
Ivoe becomes a humdinger of an ink-slinger. She also becomes a Sapphic scribe, penning love letters to Ona, her Printing professor, with whom she develops a personal and professional relationship that she hopes will never be out-of-print.
Like Ivoe, I have good news and bad news. The bad news is too many characters’ stories obfuscate the byline that belongs to Ivoe―this is not an op-ed page; it is a novel.
The good news is you’d be hard-pressed to find a novel that’s more impressive. Ivoe epitomizes valor and validity, and the history that elucidates her story has a texture that’s far from paper-thin.
As an author of historical fiction, LaShonda Katrice Barnett is an audacious and voracious investigative reporter. She constructs her novel with vim and rigor and plates her prose with illustrious imagery.
So get your facts straight: Jam on the Vine is worth the paper it’s printed on.