If you love a story about friendship, privilege, and choices, you have to read The Davenports. This is for fans of stories like Little Women, historical fiction, and questions of sacrifice and the future. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.
In 1910, the Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in a changing United States, their fortune made through the entrepreneurship of William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who founded the Davenport Carriage Company years ago. Now the Davenports live surrounded by servants, crystal chandeliers, and endless parties, finding their way and finding love—even where they’re not supposed to.
There is Olivia, the beautiful elder Davenport daughter, ready to do her duty by getting married. . . until she meets the charismatic civil rights leader Washington DeWight and sparks fly. The younger daughter, Helen, is more interested in fixing cars than falling in love—unless it’s with her sister’s suitor. Amy-Rose, the childhood friend turned maid to the Davenport sisters, dreams of opening her own business—and marrying the one man she could never be with, Olivia and Helen’s brother, John. But Olivia’s best friend, Ruby, also has her sights set on John Davenport, though she can’t seem to keep his interest . . . until family pressure has her scheming to win his heart, just as someone else wins hers.
The Davenports is a book which delivers an excellent historical fiction setting with charismatic characters just trying to figure out how to find their happiness. The world, the family, the ones we love will always have opinions about what we should do. What they expect of us. But what do we really want? Rich in a historical fiction setting which not only balances the racism present, but also the achievement of the Black families within their community.
It not only features the sisters of the Davenports, but also their friends and their maids. The Davenports gives an expansive view of the choices afforded to us. Whether it be the ones we inherit, or the ones we fight for, The Davenports is a fabulous and compelling book about choice and the future. What we decide we are willing to fight for at the end of the day. Marquis presents a world where the intersections of wealth and privilege, expectations and the future.
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It’s a book about the pressure of their glares and glances all the time. How our actions reflect on our entire ethnicity. The pressure we feel to be perfect, to know that our actions reflect back on everyone else. The Davenports examines the ways we are trying to be different than who we are, who we are forced to be. This debut is also a story about what we can do with our voices. It’s a delightful and captivating story and I’m already waiting for the next one! Find The Davenports on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon, Bookshop.org, & Blackwells.