Author: Bernice L. McFadden
Publication Date: January 2, 2001
Paperback: 240 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
The novel opens when a young prostitute comes to Bigelow, Arkansas, to start over, far from her haunting past. Sugar moves next door to Pearl, who is still grieving for the daughter who was murdered fifteen years before. Over sweet-potato pie, an unlikely friendship begins, transforming both women’s lives–and the life of an entire town.
Sugar brings a Southern African-American town vividly to life, with its flowering magnolia trees, lingering scents of jasmine and honeysuckle, and white picket fences that keep strangers out–but ignorance and superstition in. To read this novel is to take a journey through loss and suffering to a place of forgiveness, understanding, and grace.
Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden is a shining example of how literary fiction should be written; with warmth, depth, vivid imagery, and beautiful prose. Sugar is a novel about two women; one born in brothels and looking for a new life, the other an ideal wife and upstanding community member grieving the loss of her son. When Sugar moves in next door to Pearl their lives are destined to become intertwined and McFadden weaves their lives together so delicately and lovingly, it is indeed work of beauty. Throughout the novel, the reader is drawn into the extraordinary lives of Sugar and Pearl; two women who could not be more different yet through their compassion, wisdom, and humor help to change each other’s lives. While the small town of Bigelow does not approve of this new friendship, McFadden does a superb job writing about all the chin waging that occurs in the very much segregated south of 1955. Pearl and Sugar are each delightfully vibrant characters and one cannot help but become attached to these two women. McFadden’s vivid imagery as well as her ability to make the characters and surrounds real keeps the reader thoroughly engaged in this novel. Sugar is an astonishingly beautiful novel, at times heart-breaking, yet shows the reader the healing side of forgiveness. Sugar will touch the heart of the reader and stay with the reader long after the cover has been closed on this incredible work. Sugar is a remarkable tale of love, loss, friendship and forgiveness. I am thankful this beautiful work was brought to my attention and truly am grateful for the chance to introduce Sugar to my readers.
Bernice L. McFadden is the author of three novels—the national bestsellers, Sugar, The Warmest December, and the sequel to Sugar, entitled This Bitter Earth (all available in trade paperback from Plume) . Her fourth novel, Loving Donovan, will be available from Dutton in February 2003. Bernice was recently awarded the Zora Neale Hurston Society Award. For more information, please visit the author’s website.
I received a complimentary copy of Sugar by Bernice L. McFadden from the author. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned novel.