If you loved Yellow Wife, you’ll want to check out The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson. The characters come to life in your mind.
Disclaimer: I got an advance copy of The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
There are a few authors I keep an eye on. Sadeqa Johnson is one of them after her excellent novel Yellow Wife. I didn’t need a lot to check out The House of Eve. The story is set in the past again, but not quite as far back as Yellow Wife. That doesn’t stop it from touching on parts of history that a lot of people would likely want to forget.
This is more than worth the read. I do believing in remembering the darker parts of history so that we don’t repeat it. This is one of those parts of history.
What is The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson about?
The book follows two women in the 1950s. The first is 15-year-old Ruby, who is set to be the first woman in her family to go to college. She needs to prove herself in the We Rise program, as the only way she can go to college is by getting a scholarship. There is everything against her, including the fact that she’s Black in 1950s America.
Things go terribly wrong when she finds out she’s pregnant. Maybe that wouldn’t be too bad if her boy would marry her. However, the man she loves is a white Jewish boy on the other side of the tracks. His mom wants nothing more than Ruby gone, and she has just the plan to do it.
Meanwhile, there’s Eleanor, a Black woman in college who is also working two jobs to be able to afford her tuition. When she falls in love, she finds that she has to balance everything in her life, but that’s not the hardest part. The man she loves is from one of America’s richest Black families.
Of course, Eleanor is from the wrong side of the tracks. William’s mother will try everything to get rid of Eleanor, but William isn’t going to follow through with that. Now Eleanor needs to fit in, and she wants a baby, but that doesn’t seem to be as easy as she’d hoped.
The House of Eve book review
This book touches on a dark part of America’s past. For Ruby, she has to figure out how to still go to college, and that leads to us learning all about the forced adoption centers. They weren’t just for Black women, either. There were plenty of young white girls sent to these birthing places where they had no choice but to give up their babies.
We meet a few young girls from different walks of life during the book. It’s heartbreaking to see what the places were like based on the propaganda that was released to those looking to send their daughters, employees, and more to these places. Of course, they were run by the church. Should that be surprising with the way of North America as a whole right now?
Johnson has a way with writing her characters. They leap out from the page, and I can clearly picture them in my head at all times. The phrasing she uses when the characters are talking put the accents in my head. It was almost like having a TV show or movie playing.
Plus, while a lot of this work is fiction, it’s not hard to believe. There are some very true stories woven into the book. I simply couldn’t put the book down and would have loved to read more. My only complaint was that I want to see more of Ruby and Eleanor with where their lives are at the very end of the book. Can there be a sequel, please?
Stars: 5 out of 5.
What did you think of The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson? Share your thoughts in the comments below.