“It’s high time they stop killing our people,” says a reverend in the opening of Remembered. “If we don’t stop them now, it won’t ever stop.”
Edward Freeman has died, publicly, tragically, and too young, and a tempest is brewing on the streets, with a crowd gathering to protest another black life lost. This is where Yvonne Battle-Felton begins her tale, with a scene that feels devastatingly familiar. There will be no hashtag for Edward Freeman, however. The year is 1910, and only the community and his mother say his name—and the names of all who came before him.
Edward’s mother, Spring, and the ghost of her sister Tempe spend the next twenty-four hours at the hospital. As they bear witness to Edward’s transition out of the world of the living, they tell him the story of his family. With a book of newspaper clippings as their guide, they begin two generations back, with his grandmother, a free black woman, who’s stolen into slavery at age twelve. What follows is a legacy of resilience, told through the history of Edward’s formidable foremothers.
Remembered is stay-up-later-than-intended fiction. Its women are enthralling in their three-dimensionality, inspiring and flawed in equal measure. They demand investment from their first appearances, leaving no chance of turning away from their stories. As the tale unfolds, it becomes clear this is Spring’s story more than any other, and that all of the women live in her—even, through the power of magical realism, after their death.
Full of subtle magic, steady resilience, and characters you’ll feel like you know, Remembered is a force to be reckoned with. Potently of-the-moment, Yvonne Battle-Felton’s novel is both current and able to stand the test of time.
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