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HelenGeek

Books are like Air ...

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Time Between Us
Tamara Ireland Stone
The Sleeping Night - Barbara Samuel 5 StarsI wavered between 4 and 5 stars, but in the end, the slice of history we glimpse with this story sold me. The absolute courage demonstrated through the love of the two primary characters is sheer brilliance. The simple message ... Love one another."Isaiah to Angel:"He didn't do you any favors, Angel. Your Daddy". She pulled mugs out of the cupboard. "Maybe not. But maybe that's how the world changes, Isaiah. One father, one child, at a time." "Mmm-hmm."“Love one another. Love one another. He wasn’t a man for religious visions, but at that moment he came as close as he ever had – or ever would again. Love would halt the evils and angers and horrors. Enough love would heal all. Might take hundreds of years. Thousands.”This is a story of love when love isn’t easy. When loving the "wrong person" could get you killed. Love comes in all forms and we see many of them throughout this work. We see the love between a father and his child. We see the deep love between friends. We see the love between two children, and then their love as adults. It is a beautiful story.Angel is a white girl in Texas in the late 1930’s early 1940’s. She works in her father’s general store her whole life alongside him until he dies. Her mother died when she was born. Her father store serves their black neighbors many of whom he has strong friendships with. He serves them right along with the local white farmer. This balance is not easy, but he is a strong man who has very strong convictions. He raises Angel side by side with his best friend’s son, Isaiah. Isaiah is black. Now, both Isaiah's father and Angel’s father fought in the first world war and they come home aiming to change the culture in their own Texas town; Gideon. They want to bring the message home; equality among men. This fight eventually gets one of them killed.Isaiah at 17 is an angry man. To save him, Angel’s father convinces him to join the Army right before the world explodes with the second world war. The relationship between Angel and Isaiah builds further through the letters of support she writes him while he serves in the war. He writes back sharing his experiences with her and they begin to feel even more connected. At the end of the war, Isaiah returns, but plans it to be only for a brief time, to Texas. He plans to say good-bye to his mother, Angle and others, go away and never return. Back in Gideon, he is expected to behave as if he never experienced the freedom his war experiences allowed him. While in the military and visiting England and other European locales, he was viewed as a man. Not a black man, but a man. He finally goes to visit Angel and is drawn to her like a moth to a flame. And, we all know what happens if the moth gets too close…I so appreciated this glimpse of history. It hasn’t been so long ago, here in the Mid-South that segregation was the norm. Things were separate. As children, we didn’t know why, but we didn’t question either. It was just the way of things. If we were very fortunate, we were raised to believe differently. Experiencing the courage these two had to love one another in fear of the ultimate price their love may wring from them, just phenomenal. You just feel it. A very powerful story bringing tears to my eyes and an anxious knot in my stomach many times while reading.When you read about the author’s dilemma about this book and how it might have never reached the stage for publication. What a shame that would have been. She put it down for many years before a friend encouraged her to dust it off and finish it. I can personally say, I’m very glad she was able to go back to it after years, finish it and we have the chance to experience it. I can see why she may have feared this book would not have an audience. A simple view tells us it deals with an inter-racial relationship. But, the less than simple view, this book tells us the story about a love so strong it can survive anything. And, the participants will pay everything they have for their chance. If they can't have their love, they really can't live, so it is their only path.Why was I wavering my rating? At places in the middle, the story dragged a bit. Seems very petty, but have to mention.I think this book should be read by everyone.Happy Reading!My sincere appreciation for this ARC provided to me via Netgalley from Belle Bridge Books.++++++++++++++++++++++ARC 06/08/2012