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  • Writer's pictureKirsten

REVIEW: The House of Eve

Special thanks to the publisher, Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for a review copy to read and review! Sadeqa Johnson’s newest novel, The House of Eve, published on February 7, 2023. This book was one of my most anticipated reads this year (see the full list here!), and I am thrilled to have been given the opportunity to read it! I spent the last half of a certain super bowl game finishing this book (yes, I realize this review is long overdue!), and I'm so glad I did. It's an amazing book, with characters you can easily connect to, a heart wrenching story line, and phenomenal writing. Not to mention the amount of research that went into it. If you like historical fiction, this is a book for you!

Ruby is part of the special We Rise program hoping for a scholarship to be the first in her family to attend college. Eleanor is studying at Howard University where she falls in love with one of DC’s elite, William. Both women are searching for a place to belong, and their stories collide in a way that will forever change and forge them together.

Let me name the things I loved about this book. First off, Sadeqa’s writing immediately draws you in and makes you connect with her characters. I love books that transport you to another time and place. The House of Eve was drew me in immediately. The opening scene with Ruby lets you know right off the bat Sadeqa is out to break your heart. I especially connected with Eleanor's storyline as we share some similar struggles. It was interesting to me that Sadeqa connects more with Ruby's story as some of it is inspired by her own family history (per interview with the author). Both characters have their time in the spotlight, and both were written beautifully. I loved how up close and personal Ruby's story felt, which was reflective of her personality. Eleanor felt a bit more reserved and distant, which matched her own personality throughout the novel. The mastery in which Sadeqa wrote both character comes through from the beginning and sticks with you even after you turn the last page.

Next, the story has significant historical implications, but it may also be an unfamiliar story. I love learning about untold history. Most of the time, I am amazed at whatever occurred (keep in mind, amazement can be for something good or bad). This history broke my heart. So many things have been done in the name of "good" yet are done so poorly. This is one of those times where greed and status trumped human decency.

Finally, you will be so satisfied with the ending, and the epilogue will take it to the next level. I've seen some people critique the ending saying it's not plausible or realistic. I don't want to spoil the ending, but I believe it is something that could happen. I have one major reason why. Let's chat when you finish reading, and I'll let you know my reason for thinking it's believable.

This is historical fiction. Read it. Now I have to go read Yellow Wife (and her other backlist books!), which is sitting in my self just waiting to be read! Have you read any of Sadeqa’s books? Are they on your TBR?

And shoutout to Kelly and Ivana for hosting a book club and author chat about this novel! I was so sad it didn't work out for me to join live, but I greatly appreciated the ability to listen to the recording at a later more time. Thanks, ladies!

CW: sexual abuse, infertility, infant loss, pregnancy, labor, racism


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