Spring finds herself talking to her dead sister’s ghost while waiting at the bedside of her dying son Edward. However, talking to Tempe, her dead sister, has never been a problem for Spring, she has been doing it ever since her death. Spring is not the only one waiting on Edward. The Police want to talk to him as well. It seems Edward has driven a trolley or streetcar into a store window. This is Philadelphia, 1910. Edward is in the hospital in a coma, not from the crashing of the streetcar, but from the severe beating he has received from the “white” onlookers who witnessed the crash. Segregation still exists, and the city seems ready to explode like a powder keg at the slightest provocation. Were Edward’s actions intentional? Was he trying to kill and maim innocent people? Or was he doing the very opposite, and trying to prevent the streetcar from crashing into the store? While the sisters maintain a vigil at Edward’s bedside, we are taken back to 1843. Walker’s Farm is cursed. None of the newborn babies survive to grow up and provide a stable workforce for the farm. The Walker family are forced to kidnap a young “free”, coloured girl, to hopefully “breed” new babies for the farm. It is this world that Spring must return to for answers. Spring must use a book she has kept through the years, that contains a collection of newspaper articles, along with her memory and Tempe’s otherworldly connection with the past; to tell Edward the truth about his birth and history which he does not know. I loved this book. I immediately fell in love with the rich cast of characters and the relationships that are formed between them. Particularly the relationship between the two sisters, which extends throughout the whole narrative, even death cannot separate them. The inclusion of the newspaper articles gives the book a strong historical feel, and the book as well as having a brilliant fictional narrative, feels like a documentation of the horrible atrocities which plagued the lives of these slaves. Superb! 5 Stars.
Yvonne Battle-Felton was born in Pennsylvania and raised in New Jersey. She holds an MA in Writing from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, UK where she is an associate lecturer.
There is a great interview with Yvonne talking about Remembered at NEW WRITING NORTH,