by Kianna Alexander
Publication Date February 22, 2022
Published by Simon and Schuster
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Genres: Fiction / African American & Black / Historical, Fiction / Biographical, Fiction / Historical / Civil War Era, Fiction / Historical / General
A vivid and moving novel based on the incredible life of real estate magnate Josephine N. Leary—a previously untold story of passion, perseverance, and building a legacy after emancipation in North Carolina.
Josephine N. Leary is determined to build a life of her own and a future for her family. When she moves to Edenton, North Carolina from the plantation where she was born, she is free, newly married, and ready to follow her dreams.
As the demands of life pull Josephine’s attention—deepening her marriage, mothering her daughters, supporting her grandmother—she struggles to balance her real estate aspirations with the realities of keeping life going every day. She teaches herself to be a business woman, to manage her finances, and to make smart investments in the local real estate market. But with each passing year, it grows more and more difficult to focus on building her legacy from the ground up.
Moving and inspiring, Josephine Leary’s untold story speaks to the part of us that dares to dream bigger, tear down whatever stands in our way, and build something better for the loved ones we leave behind.
Carolina Built by Kianna Alexander is a fictionalized story of the real-life story of Josephine N. Leary an inspirational woman who was far ahead of her time. This fast-paced, sweeping historical drama is packed with historical details and a strong, independent heroine.
The book starts with Josephine, as she moves to a new town from a plantation where she was raised as a slave and is now freed. She meets and marries Archer, who she calls Sweety and they start their lives together. Both Josephine and Archer are ambitious and want to improve their lives, but it’s Josephine who starts to buy property as Archer runs his barbershop. This story follows Josephine and Archer as they become parents to two daughters, and experience the ups and downs of their lives.
The book is told from various points of view, mostly from Josephine’s point of view. The book is dialogue-heavy and is written in a very matter-of-fact way. The trials and tribulations of Josephine and her family were interspersed with historical details of the time period. The book was fast-paced and easy to read, however, I would have liked a bit more character development for these characters. I found the prologue and author notes are extremely interesting, as are the photos of the storefront, that still stands today.
I recommend this book to anyone who loves historical fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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