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- Title: Renaissance – The Nora White Story
- Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
- Publication Date: July 15, 2017
- Sold By: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
*I was given an advanced reader’s copy of this book by the author for promotional review purposes*
Nora White loves to write. Living on her parent’s farm in rural Mississippi, Nora has her sights set on a different life than the one her parents have. The one thing she desires is to become a writer; quite a tall order for a young black woman in the 1920’s. Nevertheless, Nora has her dreams, and she will not let anything get in her way, not even her close-knit family.
Nora grew up during tough times. African Americans were forced to live under the cruel Jim Crow segregation laws established throughout the South. White vigilante violence against Blacks terrorized families with lynch mobs and other forms of violence. Death rates were high. As life in the South continued to deteriorate for African Americans, they had little choice but to move north in record numbers.
Image credit: Harlem Renaissance on Pinterest
“This 1920’s movement was named the Harlem Renaissance, which erupted into a cultural, social, and artistic surge of people into Harlem, in New York City. By 1925, the movement was called the “New Negro Movement,” named after the 1925 anthology by Alain Locke.” (Wikipedia)
Nora White heard all the rumors about moving north, yet she did it anyway. Without a second thought, she left her family behind and headed for Jacobsville, New York about 45 minutes from Harlem. Things being the way they were, she took a job as a maid working for Charlotte Crosby, a woman ruled by her prejudices.
Nora is befriended by Lisa, another domestic employee of ‘Godmother’ (Charlotte), who suggested they become roommates to save money. Lisa introduces Nora to the Sugar Cane Club, one of the hottest jazz clubs in Jacobsville, where the admission is free for women. Nora enters the world of Duke Ellington, Jelly Roll, Fats Waller, Billie Holiday, and many others.
Nora never loses her desire to be a writer. Eventually, through her visits to the Sugar Cane Club, she is hanging out with the likes of the poet, Langston Hughes, and writer, Zora Hurston. As if that wasn’t exciting enough, Nora is thrust between Langston and Zora in a feud of massive proportions!
The author did a fabulous job of inserting the fictional Nora White into the historical time period. The story flips between Nora’s family back home and her experiences in New York. It was a great storytelling technique because the reader was able to grasp the stark differences in life between the two geographical locations while realizing the specter of racism existed everywhere.
I also liked the fact that the characters spoke with the typical speech patterns of the time. From a historical perspective, it was like experiencing time travel to another era. I love jazz and swear I heard the sounds of Billie Holiday singing, “Strange Fruit,” one of the first anti-racism songs.
The story is filled with a few twists, and it does end with a cliffhanger. For me as a white woman, to slip within the pages of Nora’s life was a humbling experience. I saw through Nora’s eyes, and my heart ached. Despite her hardships, I respected and loved her spunk! Go, Nora!
I loved Nora’s story and can’t wait to find out what happens next! I understand the second book in the series will be released in December 2017. That’s going to be a long wait…
ARE YOU CURIOUS AS TO WHY I SHARED SO MUCH OF THE HISTORY OF THE HARLEM RENAISSANCE?
Yecheilyah Ysrayl has created her first Annual Poetry Contest as a way to introduce you to Renaissance: The Nora White Story. Make sure you clink on the links to learn about this time frame in American history. It will help you write your poetry.
“I have wanted to do this for a long time and Renaissance: The Nora White Story is the perfect excuse. In my upcoming release poetry plays a significant role. Nora meets such famous poets as Langston Hughes and even gets to recite a poem of her own. For this, to celebrate the release of book one in the series, I am hosting my very first poetry contest with some amazing prizes!”
Since Renaissance follows the theme of The Harlem Renaissance and Black life in the South, poems should have something to do with these themes and can be as long or as short as you would like. The contest is open to all poets. Even if you don’t write poetry, why not try it? It will be fun.
How to Enter
Read the post announcing the contest on colleenchesebro.com. Follow the instructions and submit your poem. You have until July 19th to submit a poem.
PSSST… That’s why I gave you some links to learn more about the Harlem Renaissance.
Now get busy and write some poetry!
Author, Yecheilyah Ysrayl
About the Author
Yecheilyah Ysrayl is an Author, Poet, Blogger, and a Book Reviewer at Literary Korner Publishing. Yecheilyah is an author of African American Literature, poetry, and anything else her mind thinks up. Originally from Chicago, Yecheilyah writes full time and currently lives in Shreveport, LA with her husband. The author of nine books, she is also the founder of Literary Korner Publishing, The PBS Blog, and LK. Pub. Writers Workshop. Her 9th book, Renaissance: The Nora White Story is due for release July 15, 2017, and will be available for pre-order soon.
Yecheilyah is sponsoring her first Annual Poetry Contest on my blog, colleenchesebro.com. Please read the instructions, so you know how to submit your “Renaissance” themed poetry. Stretch your wings and write some poetry!
Here’s where you can find Yecheilyah:
Author Website: yecheilyahysrayl.com
Twitter: @ahouseofpoetry https://twitter.com/ahouseofpoetry
Thanks for stopping by to hear about Renaissance: The Nora White Story! ❤
Categories: Book Reviews