This feature originally appeared in the May 2017 Issue of ESSENCE Magazine.
Victoria Christopher Murray gives antiheroine Jasmine Larson Bush a rest. With Lust (Touchstone, $15), she kicks off a new series based on the seven vices. Under the strict guidance of her pastor grandfather and grandmother, Tiffanie has lived a sheltered life. But when she meets Damon, an entertainment mogul with a drug-dealing past, she falls for him. And, people, this is only the beginning of a topsy-turvy tale of passion on steroids.
Readers of The New Yorker will recognize Lesley Nneka Arimah’s name, as “Who Will Greet You at Home,” one of her pieces, was nominated for a National Magazine Award. Now, in her first book of short stories, What It Means When a Man Falls From the Sky (Riverhead, $26), the talented author will deservedly reach a wider audience. Prepare yourself for one of the best collections so far.
Marita Golden’s latest, The Wide Circumference of Love (Arcade Publishing, $24.99), introduces us to Diane Tate, who watches her husband, Gregory, fade away as Alzheimer’s disease steals his abilities, his memory and the very spirit of who he is. After his diagnosis, Gregory’s family, pals and colleagues support him in moving ways that feel achingly real, although this is a work of fiction.
In At Mama’s Knee (Rowman & Littlefield, $24.95), veteran White House correspondent April Ryan looks at race and race relations through the lessons that moms pass along to their children. With each news story on the subject, Ryan, an African-American single parent in Baltimore, has struggled to find the words to impart the right teaching to her daughters. To better understand how mothers convey their wisdom on race, she reached out to others like Hillary Clinton and Valerie Jarrett.
Stephanie Powell Watts makes an arresting debut with her novel, No One Is Coming to Save Us (Ecco, $26.99). In this multigenerational saga, JJ Ferguson comes back to his hometown, Pinewood, North Carolina, where factories lie abandoned and Jim Crow lingers. He aims to build a mansion and regain the affections of his high school sweetheart, Ava, but he’s surprised at the changes he finds.