By Jennifer Latham
My Rating 4 out of 5 stars
Present day Tulsa. Rowan wants to savor the last day of her summer vacation before she begins her summer internship. When the workers renovating the pool house suddenly leave, she discovers a buried body they uncovered. Readers are then flashed back to 1921, to Will and his story of navigating the racial tensions of Tulsa as the KKK moves into town and after the Osage Allotment Act was passed by Congress, mandating any person of half or more descendant Osage required a white guardian. Will's mother is full Osage. The weaving together of the dual timelines and dual perspectives leads readers (and listeners) to discovering who’s body Rowan finds buried under the floorboards. It is the story of blatant racism both present day and in 1921 leading up and the night of the Tulsa Race Riot. This is the story about learning who you are, what’s important, and standing up for those beliefs.
This book is harsh as Latham uses violence, horrendous terms no decent human should use and more to be as authentic as possible to the time period, which she addresses the decision to do this in her author’s note. There are many times throughout that I did not believe Will's treatment or lack of blatant racism that was not directed at him because of him being half Osage. I wish we could say that we have moved forward in the United States to where something like this could not happen and I truly hope that what happened in Tulsa would not be possible now however we know that Black Americans are dying a disproportional rate and victims of wrongly incarcerations or unfair sentencing terms at a much higher rate than white Americans.
I do recommend this book to anyone wishing to open up dialogue with the caveat of knowing that there is violence and harsh language as I stated above. It is a great read to begin difficult conversations on what you are doing to add or combat to being an anti-racist.