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Mary Monroe Books In Order

Publication Order of Mama Ruby Books

The Upper Room (1985) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Mama Ruby (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lost Daughters (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of God Don’t Like Ugly Books

God Don't Like Ugly (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
God Still Don't Like Ugly (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
God Don't Play (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
God Ain't Blind (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
God Ain't Through Yet (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
God Don't Make No Mistakes (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Lonely Heart, Deadly Heart Books

Every Woman's Dream (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Can You Keep a Secret? (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Chronological Order of Lonely Heart, Deadly Heart Books

Can You Keep a Secret? is a prequel to the Lonely Heart, Deadly Heart series.

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Gonna Lay Down My Burdens (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Red Light Wives (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
In Sheep's Clothing (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Deliver Me From Evil (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
She Had It Coming (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Company We Keep (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Family of Lies (2014) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Bad Blood (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

Borrow Trouble (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Mary Monroe is a historical fiction author from Alabama who has made a name for herself with the “God Don’t Like Ugly” series of novels. She is famously the daughter of Alabama sharecroppers and has the distinction of being the only and first member of her family ever to finish high school. Unlike many authors, Monroe never did go to college or attend any writing classes as everything she knows about writing is self-taught. However, she got an early start in writing as she had started writing short stories aged four and has written ever since. Her debut novel was the 1985 published “The Upper Room”, which received much critical acclaim in the United States and Great Britain. Terry McMillan incorporated an excerpt of the novel into the “Breaking Ice anthology”. Over the years, she has won several awards including the 2001 Best Fiction of the Year Oakland Pen Award for the novel “God Don’t Like Ugly”. In 2004, “Gonna Lay Down My Burdens” was the winner of the Best Southern Author Award. The ultimate feather in her cap was when she won the 2016 AAMBC Maya Angelou Lifetime Achievement Award. Mary Monroe is divorced and spends a lot of her time reading the likes of James Patterson, Alice Walker, Stephen King, and Ernest Gaines. For the most part she writes every day of the week getting most of her ideas from the people around her and current events, though most of her work is autobiographical.

Mary Monroe was born in a small rural town in Alabama where she spent much of her time working in the fields with her family. During periods of downtime, she would make up stories to entertain other kids and her family, which she started doing at only four years old. Just like in her adult hood, many of her stories during this period were either autobiographical or from observation of other people around her. As a teen, she shifted focus to writing lurid narratives for a variety of women’s confession magazines and sold quite a few. While she tried to sell her nonfiction to the likes of “Readers Digest”, she did not find anyone willing to publish any of her works. She found early success with her debut novel “The Upper Room”, which was published in the same year that she finished writing it. However, while that would have been the kick-start to her career, it turned out to be a false down as it would take another fifteen years before she published her second novel “God Don’t Like Ugly”. It was a depressing time for the author though she never gave up even as she collected five to six rejection letters a week for fifteen years straight. What kept her going through this time was the fact that she hated her job and knew writing was the only way out of it. After many years of trying, she finally got her second novel “God Don’t Like Ugly” published in 2000, and from then on her career exploded.

The lead character in the God Don’t Like Ugly series of novels is Annette Goode. Annette starts out as an overweight, shy, and awkward child with a terrible secret who moves on to become a married woman haunted by her past. Mr. Boatwright the boarder that her mother had taken in when she was thirteen had molested the girl almost daily, which had made her ashamed and frightened. Unable to escape from her predicament, she found solace and escape in food and books. Over the course of the novels in which she becomes a married woman, her self-esteem never recovers and she is always looking to find fault in herself. Thankfully, she has her friends and family to lean on though her marriage ultimately crumbles, as she can never get her husband to love her. The novels offer an interesting perspective about the black community in the post and pre-civil war era, which makes for some interesting reading. While the times are not the focus of the narratives the effects of racism on the community of the time is a major motif in the novels. The God Don’t Like Ugly series provide much insight into the black community relations among themselves and with the white community, and offers a very interesting time line of the changes wrought over time.

“God Don’t Like Ugly”, the first novel in the God Don’t Like Ugly series is a poignant and witty coming to age narrative going back to the parlors, porches, and streets of civil rights era Ohio. It opens to the friendship between two girls Rhoda and Annette Goode that could not be any different. The overweight, awkward, and shy Annette Goode has a terrible secret that has been gnawing on her mind for years. Lonely and friendless, she is surprised when the popular Rhoda Nelson wants her as a friend. Rhoda is everything she is not, being worldly, slim, gorgeous, generous, and dazzling. She welcomes Annette into the bosom of her eccentric family with a range of colorful characters that include the surly and scary Granny Rose, the sultry Aunt Lola, the half-insane Uncle Johnny, and her dangerous and broody brother Jock. With Rhoda as her best friend, she has an easier time with her teenage years and becomes a woman. But her world is flipped upside down when her friend admits to committing a horrific childhood crime.

“God Still Don’t Like Ugly” the sequel to the debut opens to Annette as a grown up woman. Her father that had left the family to go marry another woman had always informed her attitude to men. Men such as Mr. Boatwright had abused her while other men paid to sleep with her after she ran away from her miserable life. No man had painted the picture of chivalry she had in her mind, until she decided to make up with her father after years of heartache and soul-searching. She has also stopped seeing Rhoda the dangerously unstable best friend who has been by her side for years. But just as she thinks her life is finally coming together, a guest at her wedding brings it all crushing down. He reveals that the bride to be had once worked as a prostitute, a revelation that sends the groom scampering. She reunites with her childhood sweetheart though it is clear that her heart is not in it. Moreover, she is still struggling with Rhoda’s big secret that just will not stop haunting her days. Suddenly Rhoda is back in her life, making it even more complicated.

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