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What better way to celebrate Black History Month than by reading stories by some of today’s best African American authors? Below are 11 of our favorite novels released in the past few years. A few are humorous; some offer brilliant cultural commentary; all are smart and thought-provoking. Dive in and enjoy.
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The House of Eve
by Sadeqa Johnson
In this absorbing new novel (a Reese’s Book Club Pick for February), the author of 2021’s award-winning The Yellow Wife focuses on the challenges of two young Black women in 1950s Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. Working-class Eleanor from Ohio falls in love with a wealthy Howard University student and struggles to be accepted into his elite world; and Ruby, from Philly, hopes to be the first in her family to go to college but a taboo affair jeopardizes that dream (2023).
Every Man a King
by Walter Mosley
This sequel to 2018’s Down the River Unto the Sea, from the Edgar Award–winning author known for his Easy Rawlins mystery series, again features unflappable investigator Joe King Oliver. Accepting a dangerous assignment from billionaire Roger Ferris to determine the guilt of a white nationalist jailed for murder (Ferris thinks the guy’s been set up), King looks for answers from the alleged perpetrator’s friends and enemies, each with an ax to grind (Feb. 21, 2023).
by Charmaine Wilkerson
A family’s complicated history begins to emerge after the death of matriarch Eleanor Bennett. When her two adult children, Byron and his sister Benny, who’ve been estranged for years, travel to California upon her passing, Eleanor’s lawyer hands them an audio recording in which their Caribbean-born mother spins a remarkable story about a young swimmer named Covey and a tragic incident that changed the course of her life and the lives of others. She also tells her children she has baked a traditional Caribbean black cake, now in the freezer, and “I want you to sit down together and share the cake when the time is right. You’ll know when.” And, eventually, after receiving the shock of their lives, they do. Hulu is already working on a TV series based on the book. (2022)