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Hosanna Paperback – May 7, 2016
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About the Author
Katelyne Parker, the B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree for Literary Fiction, Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Finalist, and 2017 Illumination Book Award Winner, was born in 1972 in Brooklyn, New York, but came of age in south Florida. After she graduated from Barry University, she worked as an educator for over fifteen years. Her award-winning debut novel, HOSANNA, is a captivating story that will confront the mind and inspire the soul. Today, she lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and son. Learn more about Katelyne on her website and follow her on Facebook and Pinterest.
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HosannaSet in a small Georgia town in the mid-twentieth century, Hosanna is a child born to an unwed, white mother and an African-American father. Scandalous as that would have been in that era, the mother, Miss Gracie, is in love with the father, Addison. Miss Margret, the grandmother, is racist. The result is a secret that everyone but Hosanna wants to keep buried.
The themes of the story are multiple. The racial issue is central to the story as the walls of segregation are beginning to fall, albeit very slowly. Hosanna grows up victimized by her white grandmother's racism, her white mother's silent suffering, and her bitterness at the injustices that she suffers. The depiction of racism both personal and systematic is brutally realistic and thought provoking. Beyond these darker elements, there is a message of hope about what happens when one trust in God. Without giving spoilers, the message is one of love and reconciliation.
The writing is first person with the language reflecting the local vernacular. For some that may be a minus, but to my Southern ears, it was poetry. The plot moved forward consistently with a sense of gripping suspense. The characterization was multi-dimensional Few characters were one-dimensional. Hosanna could be an infuriating character, but as a reader, I never lost my sympathy for her and desired to see her reach her goals in the end.
Some readers will find the depiction of racism deeply disturbing. (Shouldn't it be?) The "N" word is used with all of its malice. The author depicts violence but not gratuitously.
In the novel, the local church and its pastor struggle to be either the purveyors of racial injustice or the source of its solution. Hosanna struggles throughout the story to trust God and to let go of her bitterness. The author depicts God as being interested in the oppressed and injustice. There is no complete explanation of the gospel, but faith is an important concept throughout the book, especially in the life of the character named Mother Hill. The importance of family and kindness is seen through Hosanna's love interest, John Irvin.
Read this book. No matter your view of racial issues today, you will find it challenging.
(Full disclosure: I received a free copy for the author in exchange for a review. I was under no obligation to give a positive review.)
This is the story of a young girl, Hosanna, who works in her grandmother’s house from the age of three. She exists only on the periphery of her grandmother’s life. She is of mixed blood and never to be acknowledged by her white grandmother.
Hosanna burns with resentment and anger towards her grandmother who won’t admit she exists, her mother who lies in bed in perpetual mourning and the father who chooses not to acknowledge her out of fear for himself and the woman he loves.
Hosanna is consumed with the injustice of her life to the point where there is no room for happiness. Her one hope is pinned on the dream of a house of her own, with no one to tell her how to sweep or mop or cook.
There were times while I read this book that I felt Hosanna was taking too long to put the anger aside and see the good bits of her life. It was a long trip over many years for Hosanna to finally wake up and reach for what had been waiting for her all those years.
This was a very good book which I enjoyed reading.