Reviews

Publishers Weekly
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

The historical Caribbean and Africa come to life in this cleverly constructed but somewhat overwritten tale. And so do contemporary Chicago, London, Montreal, rural North Carolina and Illinois as Jackson-Opoku invents a lineage of African daughters who scatter like seeds in the wind, spanning the Old and New Worlds and almost three centuries. Even afterlife in the Great Beyond is rendered, as ancestors worry over their earthly daughters and try, sometimes in vain, to guide their loved ones toward the correct path. Strange twists of fate and spooky coincidences tie twigs and branches of the family tree together in a decidedly nonlinear fashion, while heavily symbolic leitmotifs tend to weigh down the narrative. Each woman is inexplicably drawn to water, in one or another form: rivers, oceans, mother's milk; and blood, sweat and tears. Textiles (Kente cloth, needlepoint, crazy quilts and beadwork) are another source of narrative coherence. Overseeing all, like the novelist herself, is Ananse the spider, master storyteller of African lore. It is through his observations as "the world's greatest watcher, the one overlooked in corners" that we learn the fates of generations of women. BOMC alternate and QPB featured selections; author tour. (Sept.) FYI: Inspired by a trip to Africa in 1975, Jackson-Opoku spent the next two decades working on this novel. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

First novelist Jackson-Opoku "focuses on strong female characters as they journey through poverty and family conflicts to seek love, fulfillment, justice, and, ultimately, peace" in this part folktale/spiritual/modern romance. (LJ 8/97) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Book list
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.

Jackson-Opoku's first novel is an expansive tale that exquisitely melds mythical realms together with a historical family saga spanning centuries and continents. At one point, the wise African spider, Ananse, speaks to the Queen Mother of chronicling the journey of a traveler--a daughter whose name is Diaspora. However, there are many daughters to reckon with in Jackson-Opoku's story, one that reverberates with the voices of women heard through two centuries, with serpentine sources springing from Africa, the Caribbean, and North America. Jackson-Opoku interweaves events that take place in recent decades and familiar cities with ancient voyages and the struggles of ancestors. Rendering a richly lyrical panoply of lives, she comes to focus on a woman named Alma--both the author's search and her ultimate fate. --Alice Joyce


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Jackson-Opoku's first novel weaves together the stories of several generations of women to form a magical family saga. Beginning in Africa with the First Wife 300 years ago, the author portrays the lives of daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter and the sometimes brutal hardships they endure. Encountering slavery and rape in Barbados and the United States, they occasionally get aid and guidance from their ancestral mothers in the form of dreams and magical intervention. A prophecy points to the ninth daughter, whose sense of unfulfillment in America combined with the messages in her dreams prompts a return to Africa. She will bear a "guardian" whose destiny is left unexplained. Part folktale, part spiritual, part modern romance, the novel focuses on strong female characters as they journey through poverty and family conflicts to seek love, fulfillment, justice, and, ultimately, peace. Jackson-Opoku molds many diverse voices into a powerful chorus in this excellent debut. Highly recommended for most libraries.‘Ellen Flexman, Brown Branch, Indianapolis‘Marion Cty. P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.