Welcome to Imprint Friday and today's featured imprint: Amy Einhorn Books.
Stop by most weeks to be introduced to a must-read title from one
of my favorite imprints. I know you'll be adding many of these books
to your wish list.
Deborah Johnson addresses a number of sensitive issues in her new novel, The Secret of Magic, the most obvious being race relations in the Deep South during the postwar years, just before the civil rights movement took on a powerful life of its own. I was initially attracted to Johnson's novel because it is loosely based on real events.
Here's the publisher's summary:
In 1946, a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible: attaining justice for a black man in the Deep South.Although Regina's initial interest in the murdered veteran is based on her fond memories of Calhoun's children's book, she soon becomes determined to learn the truth of Joe Wilson's death. Thus, against Marshall's advice, she travels to Mississippi to begin an investigation. Once there, she discovers the darker side of the South and the seemingly unbridgeable gap between black and white.
Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country.
As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun’s The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest.
Once down in Mississippi, Regina finds that nothing in the South is as it seems. She must navigate the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past. The Secret of Magic brilliantly explores the power of stories and those who tell them.
Johnson's strength is in creating an interwoven, multilayered story that connects complex characters and deals with difficult truths. She perfectly captures an era, a season, a people, and a town, telling it as it was, for better or worse. It is clear that The Secret of Magic is personal story for Deborah Johnson, whose grandfather fought in World War II and held Thurgood Marshall in high esteem. That passion shines in her writing.
I love books that evoke strong emotions, and The Secret of Magic fills the bill. Because of this, it would make a fantastic book club pick. The major discussion topics are prejudice, social change, cultural norms, the power of stories, and the courage it takes to stand up for one's beliefs. The Penguin website includes eleven questions, in case you need more ideas.
To learn more about Deborah Johnson, visit her website, where you can learn about her writing and where she'll be touring this spring. You can also find Johnson on Facebook. For more on the background of The Secret of Magic, see Johnson's interview with Chatelaine.
Amy Einhorn Books is a featured imprint on Beth Fish Reads. For more information about the imprint, please read Amy Einhorn's open letter posted here on January 25, 2010, or click the Amy Einhorn tab below my banner photo. To join the Amy Einhorn Books Reading Challenge, click the link.
Published by Putnam / Amy Einhorn Books, 2014
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