Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile is about Charley, a woman who unexpectedly inherits an 800-acre sugarcane plantation when her father dies and moves with her daughter from L.A. to Louisiana for a fresh start. The story alternates between Charley and her half-brother, Ralph Angel, who is a single parent to a young son and who seems to self-destruct at every turn. I really enjoyed reading this book, the writing was very natural and the characters were so vivid. Queen Sugar is set in the American South and Baszile does a fine job of addressing the theme of race/racism, which is not the main focus of the story but is bound to affect Charley, a Black woman, and her family. This is a great title to recommend to readers who are looking for books with Black characters, but who don’t necessarily want heavy themes like slavery, racial terror, poverty, violence, etc.
Hot tip: watch out for a television series in the works, produced by Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey!