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I'm Kellie, an avid reader and school librarian who loves sharing and talking about books.As a middle school librarian I get to spend my days doing just that, while also enjoy discovering the perfect books to share with my friends. Ms. Burke's Books is a continuation of that, a place where I can offer my honest opinions on the books I read and hopefully help match you to your new favorite book!

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Review: The Davenports by Krystal Marquis

A fascinating historical fiction novel with touches of romance,
The Davenports combines the universal themes of teenagers making their own futures with the important examination of life for Black Americans at the turn of the century. 


“The Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in a changing United States, their fortune made through the entrepreneurship of William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who founded the Davenport Carriage Company years ago. Now it’s 1910, and the Davenports live surrounded by servants, crystal chandeliers, and endless parties, finding their way and finding love—even where they’re not supposed to…Inspired by the real-life story of the Patterson family, The Davenports is the tale of four determined and passionate young Black women discovering the courage to steer their own path in life—and love.” - Penguin Random House

Ms.Burke's Review

While there is romance and love triangles, The Davenports is really about a changing America and the tensions between generations, specifically within the Black community. The younger characters feel constrained by the expectations put on them, whether it’s in who they marry or their careers. The Davenport son and youngest daughter Helen want to transform their father’s carriage business into automobiles; their father pushes back, especially with Helen who is expected to conform to gender roles. Oldest daughter Olivia is happy to find a suitable husband until her eyes are opened by an activist who teaches her about the growing threat of Jim Crow laws. Industrialization, segregation, trauma of slavery: Krystal Marquis effortlessly weaves these important themes of U.S. history into her story.

For Librarians

As a former U.S. history teacher, The Davenports offers a portrait of a group of people often skimmed over in class: wealthy, successful African Americans in post-Reconstruction America. There are clear connections to be made with U.S. history classes but beyond that students will enjoy the novel and the more universal coming-of-age struggles of the characters. 

Strongly recommended for middle and high school libraries; the romance aspect is appropriate for younger teens. 

Book Information

Author: Krystal Marquis
Publisher: Dial Books
Publish Date: January 31, 2023
Genre(s): Historical Fiction


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