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Afia Atakora Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Afia Atakora
Afia Atakora is an author of historical fiction best known for her debut novel Conjure Women. She was born in the UK, but she later moved to New Jersey, where she lives. The talented author is a New York University graduate, and she also holds an MFA from Colombia University. Thanks to her writing, Atakora received the De Alba Fellowship in addition to being nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She also featured among the finalists in the Hurston/Wright Award given to College Writer.

Conjure Women
Conjure Women tells the story of three women, Missy May Belle, Rue, and Varina. Missy is a wise slave woman with healing hands, a conjurer of curses, and a midwife. Everyone in the plantation respects Missy, and throughout the wartimes, she remains the last person her people go to whenever their health is threatened. Missy loves her job, and her passion sees her delivering many healthy babies, nurturing many back to health, and bringing comfort where it was needed. As her daughter Rue and Varina grow into young women, Missy’s position in the plantation she calls home begins to change.

Rue grow up shielded from the horrors the white people inflict on her people, mostly because of her mother’s position in the plantation. She also turns a blind eye to the few instances she witnesses, and this comes with conspicuous repercussions for her and her mother. Against her wish, Rue takes over her mother’s role as the midwife and plantation healer once she becomes of age. However, the young woman doesn’t have her mother’s warmth, making it hard for her people to trust her. Rue is regarded with fear and suspicion, and when a mysterious plague afflicts the children, leading to many deaths, her respect in the community dwindles. Abel, the preacher with his biblical teachings and talks on salvation, only makes things worse for Rue.

Lastly, there is Varina, the last mistress in the house, Verita. For Varina, life has always been smooth, but the war brings a dramatic change that she would never have anticipated. Once the war is over, the slaves stay in the plantation, but without their master, they have to make decisions and embrace the new norm. Freedom comes with its fair share of challenges, and there are secrets the people are struggling with, not to mentions the hurts that have been kept hidden for decades. What becomes of Varina now that slave owners are no more? Will the people whose lives she had touched treat her any different now that the former slaves could stand up for themselves? If you are curious about Varina and Rue’s fate, keep reading the book for this and much more.

This story is divided into two parts. The first part covers the war and the horrors associated with it, and it is told in Missy’s point of view. The effects of slavery are vividly described, as well as the fear that characterized this time in history. The second part narrates what happens after the war. This is not an easy to read the book as it highlights the atrocities, awful injustice, and the inhuman treatment of the slaves. Imagine a man being lynched while another one is forced to whip his lover. This book stands out because it draws you in, so you feel like you are part of whatever is happening in the plantation. The ending will catch you by surprise but in a good way.

The author has done an excellent job of bringing out the best and worst in all her characters. You will be amazed by the complexity and depth of the characters, especially Missy and Rue. These two healing women do a lot of good for the community, but they also engage in horribly cruel things out of their selfishness and desire to survive. The book’s simplicity and brutality stand out, as the author clearly outlines the effects of slavery and the Civil war. Towards the end, the story gets harder to read as the author covers rape and torture issues. Even if the details are not as graphic, it is easy to imagine how life was for those involved through the descriptions provided.

This is a sweeping story that brings to life experiences in the South during and after the Civil war. Spanning generations, this story introduces three women and the experiences that define their lives and affect their loved ones. The friendships and passions between these women are outstanding, and it is amazing what lengths they would go to for themselves and those they love. With a solid plot, well-developed characters, and a refreshing tone, the author takes you through life in a slave-run plantation. The descriptions are outstanding, the pacing just right, and the diverse characters turn this into a compulsive read.
This book will make you reflect on today’s society and the inequalities that are still evident in different races. While slavery is long gone, its effects are being felt to date, not to mention that there is still much that people do not know about it. What can we do to make things right for those who still struggle as a result of past injustices? Whatever your race, you will identify with the message this book is trying to put across and get some information on what actions to take in the future.

If you are looking for a well- nuanced book covering the Civil War period in the South, Conjure Women is a perfect choice. Get to read about healing, love, slavery, and legacies through the people who lived before and after the war. The author will transport you back in time to an era where slavery was the norm, and white plantation owners treated those working for them in the most inhumane way. The author doesn’t just concentrate on the evils of slavery, but these instances are hard to ignore. At the heart of this story are two women entrusted with the wellbeing of their people. While they do their best to keep the people healthy, they also must look after themselves and ensure the continuity of their generation amidst all that is happening around them.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Afia Atakora

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