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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read...
What defines a great book? It is the ability to see, feel, and experience all that the characters are going through. It's reading passages that makes you want to reach into the pages to protect, shake up, or hug characters that are so well drawn, you feel as though you know them. It's a story that doesn't offer a happy ending, but no doubt, a real one. "Glorious" is that...
Published on March 24, 2010 by A reader

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I was looking forward to a realistic depiction of life in this particular time and place, but the character development is very shallow and the story is more of a sex fantasy. Skip it.
Published 18 months ago by NickMom1


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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read..., March 24, 2010
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This review is from: Glorious (Paperback)
What defines a great book? It is the ability to see, feel, and experience all that the characters are going through. It's reading passages that makes you want to reach into the pages to protect, shake up, or hug characters that are so well drawn, you feel as though you know them. It's a story that doesn't offer a happy ending, but no doubt, a real one. "Glorious" is that type of book. Bernice McFadden tells the story of Easter with unflinching and unapologetic honesty. There were so many times when I wanted so much more for Easter, but Ms. McFadden kept it truthful with a realness that was almost heartbreaking. "Glorious" is multi-leveled and an incredible read, full of historical facts and as timely today as when the story took place in the last century. It is surely destined to become a classic in years to come. Congratulations Ms. McFadden. Your star continues to burn brightly, a beacon for us all...

Margaret Johnson-Hodge
Author of "Red Light Green Light"
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glory, Glorious!, March 31, 2010
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This review is from: Glorious (Paperback)
Glorious by Bernice McFadden grabbed me by the throat from the very first page and would not let me go until I was done. I continued to sit the book aside, because I did not want it to end too soon. Ms. McFadden has written a glorious story that is a wonderful juxtaposition of the present and the past, the truth and fiction.

Easter Bartlett's life starts out pretty hard in Waycross, Georgia. In 1910 she sees her sister violated, her father emasculated and her mother dead due to a broken heart. And from that day forward Easter does what she does best, she leave, she moves on. There is restlessness in her spirit that will not allow her to stay anyplace when her heart tells her to move on. The only thing that provides her with peace is reading and writing. We watch Easter as she travels from the South to New York and we get to see the people she fall in love with. There is Rain, a woman who loves women that Easter loves but they are never lovers. There is Colin, the man Easter loves and marries who loses his way after being betrayed. And there is Meredith, the Negrophile, who befriends and betrays Easter in ways unimaginable. Mostly, there is the brief, yet wonderful career Easter had as a wonderful writer in that period known as the Harlem Renaissance.

Glorious is as wonderful literary treat that will have the reader's eyes flying over the pages, envisioning every situation. And it is also a wonderful book filled with history lessons. I recommend Glorious to all readers who love wonderful books.

Angelia Menchan
APOOO BookClub
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious is GLORIOUS!, March 22, 2010
This review is from: Glorious (Paperback)
From the dirt roads of Waycross, Georgia to the busy streets of Harlem, Bernice McFadden once again delivers perfection in her latest novel, Glorious. With actual historical events playing in the background, we are introduced to Easter Bartlett and her family.

The historic "Fight of the Century" between Jack Johnson and James Jeffries sets in motion a series of events that eventually push Easter out of Georgia and eventually land her in Harlem. Much mention is made of Marcus Garvey and his Universal Negro Improvement Association. A story set in Harlem at such a time would be incomplete with referencing the Harlem Renaissance and Ms. McFadden deftly weaves in noted members of the Renaissance, including A'lelia Walker, daughter of Madame CJ Walker and a patron of the arts, and Langston Hughes. Others such as Claude McKay and Carl Van Vechten are also mentioned.

With writing as rich and vivid as only she can do it, Ms. McFadden draws you into the life of Easter Bartlett and doesn't release you easily. Though their stories are not the same, I couldn't help but to compare Easter Barlett to Wallace Thurman's Emma Lou Brown from The Blacker the Berry, with both women seeking refuge in Harlem. I found myself yearning to read this while at the same time putting it down in order to savor it and prolong the inevitable end. While I usually give away books that I've already read, this is one that will have to stay in my library.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Literary Feast!, April 19, 2010
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This review is from: Glorious (Paperback)
There are good books and there are simply books, "Glorious" falls into neither category. Ms. McFadden has taken keyboard to fingers and has presented us with a great book, in the league of Richard Wright, James Baldwin, and Ralph Ellison great.

Unfolding the chapters is like watching a master chef whip up a culinary feast and you sit there salivating over each newly added, exotic ingredient. Her pulse pounding prose left me frustrated as I couldn't flick the pages quickly enough to find out the next fixating moment.

Ms. McFadden has always possessed an immaculate and stellar quality this is obvious in such works as "Sugar" and "This Bitter Earth". She far exceeds herself this time concocting a special magic in this novel that sends my mind many times racing back to the early works of Toni Morrison. Like anything that's delightful you want it to last and linger. I find myself pulling away from the pages, just so I can savor its sweetness another day. Thanks so much Ms. McFadden for this beautiful gift of artistry.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Burning the Embers of Hate Gloriously, May 10, 2010
This review is from: Glorious (Paperback)
I am a huge Bernice McFadden fan. My mother had not read full novel in her life until Sugar, Ms. McFadden's first book. Which was a proud moment for me.

Glorious is a history book. Woven throughout the story are these little nuggets of information that, even though they are tempered with creative license ring true. I had never heard of Ota Benga, the African pygmy, one of the first humans to be exhibited in a zoo and Marcus Garvey was nothing more than a man with a feather in his hat and empirical looking garb that hung on the walls of my elementary school. Against this rich historical backdrop is the story of Easter Bartlett. Easter endures injustice after injustice in the Jim Crow South and Edgar Hoover North, and tries to cope with a forbidden unreciprocated love, but through it all her gifting and talent shines. When her legacy is stolen, she revisits the place of her birth and discovers that her life has truly been glorious and the hatred that seemed to follow her did not win and was defeated by the consuming fire of resiliency.

Ms. McFadden is one of the literary giants of our times and has a voice as clear Alice Walkers and work as allegorical as Morrison's. One day her books will be required reading like the works of Zora Neale Hurston and Edith Wharton. If you like the Secret Life of Bees, then you will love Glorious. The characters stay with and continue to resonate with you even after the last page has turned. Bernice is resurrecting the true art of story telling.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The next Hurston, April 10, 2010
This review is from: Glorious (Paperback)
I've suffered through some 20th Century Novel courses for college. Now don't get me wrong, I loved A Tree Grows In Brooklyn and Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. But in all honesty I couldn't get through most of the other EIGHT books we had to read in the 8 week semester.

Had Bernice McFadden's book been in that course, I would have had a book that I could read in no time at all and would have honestly enjoyed.

When I started this book I will admit that I was a little taken aback by the "20th Century Novelishness" (yes, another made up word...love having my own blog) of it. I said to myself, "Self, I'll read for a minute and then put it down." Well I don't listen well, even to myself.

In about 5 minutes I was forty pages into the book and my fiance looked at me a little odd. (It must have been the look on my face of pure confusion and delight!)

"She didn't waste a word! Not one single word! Every word had meaning and carried this story forward. I didn't have a chance to get bored at all. I honestly thought I'd only read 10 pages!"

In my very humble (correct) opinion Glorious will be read as thoroughly and with as much reverence as Ms. Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God. This book had me running through every gamut of feelings known to man! Love, lust, sadness, despair, hate, desire, fear, happiness, and loneliness. I recommend anyone who enjoys realistic, heart-wrenching, perfectly written fiction stop now and order Glorious TODAY!

I would like to thank Bernice McFadden, in conjunction with BookBlogs, for her kindness in allowing me to review this wonderful book! This book will be donated to the Hepburn Library so that others may share in this wonderful reading experience.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, January 14, 2013
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This review is from: Glorious (Kindle Edition)
I was looking forward to a realistic depiction of life in this particular time and place, but the character development is very shallow and the story is more of a sex fantasy. Skip it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Won't Disappoint, August 28, 2010
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This review is from: Glorious (Paperback)
Hands Down - one of THE best books I've read by one of THE best black female authors of our time. Bernice McFadden's books are truly some of my favorite reads and I believe that she is one of the most gifted artists of contemporary literature. I wish that more people would respect her craft & read her works of art too so that she can deservingly be placed on a higher level of recognition.

As soon as I read the first sentence of Glorious, I knew that I wasn't going to be able to put the book down until I finished it in its entirety. Because that's what Bernice McFadden does - she writes in such a way that not only is the reader completely captivated with the main characters themselves but the reader is also completely entrenched in every scene with all of the senses. The plot / background contains so many authentic elements of our Black American history through the character of Easter - such as the subtle nuances of her resemblence to a specific African tribe (slave trade), and her constant search for a more free life and spirit (Harlem Renaissance). No doubt at all as to how much extensive research went into penning this novel.

I recommend this book along with all of her books because they don't ever disappoint! You will be entertained, enlightened, and moved all at once. And if you decide to do a re-read, you will more than likely find more poignant issues to discuss or ponder about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious - Written in timeless ink..., May 26, 2010
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This review is from: Glorious (Paperback)
I read the synopsis and then I wondered as I anxiously waited for my book to arrive in the mail, how is Bernice L. McFadden going to tie my favorite period in history, one of my favorite poets in history, to Glorious? I imagined many scenarios, mostly taking place in fancy, smoke filled Harlem night spots. Can you tell my interest was piqued before page one?

I became Easter the maid, the teacher, and Harlem Renaissance writer for a day, well more like a kindred spirit. When Easter became angry--I seethed. When Easter found happiness--I cheered out loud. And when she met Langston--I swooned. Okay, so writers are my rock stars and Glorious gave me exactly what I craved. I took Glorious very personally, almost voyeuristic even. I travelled through the wicked south of my ancestors and swallowed my pride covered in disdain. I ran with Easter as I searched within myself, put my emotions in my back pocket and shot like a cannon through the window of history to 1920's Harlem and back home to my cozy couch with a better appreciation for my cozy life. I was disappointed with the ending, only because--it ended and only my tears remained because I needed this book to last forever.

Bernice L. McFadden is "A Tree!"
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glorious, April 28, 2010
This review is from: Glorious (Paperback)
Easter Bartlett has just left her home in the South after a series of devastating events has struck her family. Traveling alone from town to town, Easter goes from working as a sideshow act in a traveling circus to becoming a schoolteacher in a one room school. Though she meets new acquaintances and falls in love, Easter is ever on the move whenever the difficulties of life threaten to trap her. When she meets up with an old friend from her home town, Easter decides to travel to New York and gets caught up in the Harlem Renaissance, becoming a contributor of short stories to various magazines. In New York, Easter runs into an old friend from the circus and meets a very rich white woman who will become her benefactor, never dreaming that one day this woman will betray her in the worst of ways and send her future spinning out of control. Though Easter has risen high, she ultimately falls to earth once again, her dreams and plans thrown by the wayside of her ever-changing life. Filled with heartache and wisdom, Bernice McFadden blends the tale of Easter Bartlett with the tale of the real life heroes of the Jim Crow south and the Harlem Renaissance.

This book was a very quick read for me. The fact that the prose was so fluid, coupled with the fact that the story moved along with such a great clip made this a book that I was easily engrossed in and finished in one afternoon. Easter's story is one filled with frustration, heartbreak and pain. She made for a very likable protagonist and I relished the time spent with her. She had a great innocence about her and she saw the world in such an interesting way that it was impossible not to fall in love with her. Most of her reactions to her fate seemed genuine and well written but there were points that I felt that I would have loved to have read more about her internal thought process.

The story itself was very inspired. McFadden has a lot to say about the marginalization of the black community during the early century, and says it well. She brings to her reader the agonies and atrocities of lynching and the despicable aspects of segregation and prejudice in crystal clear prose, never overdoing it. Instead she paints a picture of the inequalities between the two races with intensity and a level of reality that I was really able to appreciate. Her characters, real and imagined, were truly a product of their times and they really opened my eyes to the vast gulf separating the races during that time period.

I think that one of the most interesting parts of the book revolved around the storyline of Easter's time at the circus. It was there that she met the flamboyantly sexual and intense dancer, Rain. Though the story alludes to the fact that Easter had bisexual leanings, it was never clearly picked as a subject to focus on in the narrative. Rain and Easter's relationship was interesting because it held the hallmarks of a mother/daughter relationship, as well as being a sisterly and lover-like relationship. When Easter flees the circus, it was easy to see that what she was really fleeing was the feelings that she had for Rain, feelings that were, unfortunately for her, not reciprocated. I was saddened that Easter had to leave with such sadness and bitterness in her heart but was very pleased when the two women's paths crossed again in New York. Though their relationship was very different the second time around, it was nice to see that their journey together would continue.

As the story winds towards its conclusion, Easter has been relegated to a sad fate. Many years have passed and due to the scandal that transpired after her betrayal, Easter is left living out her days far from the splendor in which she once lived. I liked the way McFadden chose to reveal those lost days of Easter's past through flashbacks and thought that it was fitting that she eventually was able to put the pain of her past to rest. Easter found a way to live with her lot after all, though the twists of her tale were full of the sadness of dreams left unfulfilled.

This book had an ever-winding and surprising story that I felt was written with genuine feeling and clarity. I think that those readers who have not yet tried any of McFadden's books would probably do well to start here, though I have also heard great things about another book of hers, called Sugar. If you are the type of reader who enjoys character driven dramas that deal with some of the darker parts of American history, I would definitely recommend this book to you. I think that although it's a shorter read, it carries an important message that should be passed down through the generations. A very thoughtful read. Recommended!
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Glorious
Glorious by Bernice L. McFadden (Paperback - May 1, 2010)
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