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TLC Review: The House of Eve by Sadeqa Johnson

Title: House of Eve
Author: Sadeqa Johnson
Year published: 2023
Category: Adult fiction
Pages: 384 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location: (my 2023 Google Reading map)USA (PA; Washington, DC)

Summary1950s Philadelphia: fifteen-year-old Ruby Pearsall is on track to becoming the first in her family to attend college, in spite of having a mother more interested in keeping a man than raising a daughter. But a taboo love affair threatens to pull her back down into the poverty and desperation that has been passed on to her like a birthright.

Eleanor Quarles arrives in Washington, DC, with ambition and secrets. When she meets the handsome William Pride at Howard University, they fall madly in love. But William hails from one of DC’s elite wealthy Black families, and his par­ents don’t let just anyone into their fold. Eleanor hopes that a baby will make her finally feel at home in William’s family and grant her the life she’s been searching for. But having a baby—and fitting in—is easier said than done.

With their stories colliding in the most unexpected of ways, Ruby and Eleanor will both make decisions that shape the trajectory of their lives.

Review: I thought this novel sounded good when it was offered to me by TLC Tours and then, just days before I started the book, I heard the author speak in a virtual author talk. She was super interesting and I loved hearing about the research she did, how she came up with the character, where the story came from, etc and it got me really excited to read the book.

In chapters alternating from Ruby and Eleanor's points of view (I love alternating points of view), we read of parallel lives lived out on themes: expectations for oneself, for others, and the pull of love and motherhood. Ruby and Eleanor's lives have similar issues but play out very differently from one another, which makes this novel so rich.

The times (1950s) also make for an interesting period with women's roles just on the cusp of changing, of women starting to realize they can have a life outside the home, and that college can be a real goal.

I liked the characters, the setting, the history, and the story.

Challenges for which this counts: 
  • Popsugar--On a celebrity booklist and My best friend would like it

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