Title: The Sleeping Night by Barbara Samuel
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Genre: Historical, Romance
Length: 268 pages
Book Rating: B
Review Copy Obtained from Publisher Through NetGalley
An unforgettable romance in an unforgiving time.
They’ll need love and courage to see the dawn.
He’s a hometown native, returning from the war, determined to change the world he’d fought to protect. She’s the girl who’s been his secret friend since childhood, now a beautiful woman. Her war-time letters kept him alive. But he’s black, and she’s white.
In 1946 in Gideon, Texas, their undeniable love might get them both killed.
Set in the racially charged and deeply segregated South in the mid 1940s, Barbara Samuel’s The Sleeping Night is a beautifully written story of forbidden love. Close childhood friends, Angel Corey and Isaiah High feelings for one another turn to love as they enter their teen years. In an attempt to protect the children he so dearly loves, Angel’s father Parker convinces Isaiah to enlist in the army as America enters World War II. With Isaiah’s return to Texas following the end of the war, he and Angel cannot escape the powerful emotions or the strong desire that draws them together.
Angel Corey is a strong and courageous young woman who has a stubborn streak a mile wide. She is independent and fights for what she believes in despite the overwhelming odds against her. She has a deep and abiding faith in God that is unshakeable. Angel is incredibly wise and despite the troubles facing her, she is unfailingly hopeful that one person can make a difference.
Having seen the possibilities that exist for a black man outside of the South, Isaiah High never intended to return to Texas. But being the kind-hearted and compassionate man he is, he cannot resist helping a friend in need. With his faith tested by the things he saw during the war, Isaiah is struggling not only with his feelings for Angel, but his very belief in God’s existence.
Although beginning and ending in 2005, the majority of The Sleeping Night is set in the 1940s. Current events are interspersed with the letters exchanged during the war between Isaiah and Angel. Through their letters, we gain invaluable insight into both characters. We see the atrocities of World War II that Isaiah experienced as well as the harsh reality of his homecoming. And through Angel, we see the toll the war takes on those left behind.
The Sleeping Night is a heartbreakingly stark but realistic portrayal of the racial inequalities and injustices that existed far too long in Southern culture. Although the story is sometimes slow moving, Barbara Samuel keeps the tension high with the reader wondering how this poignant romance will ultimately end. A moving and heartfelt story that everyone should read.