Reviews: Red Clay and Roses

A FEW REVIEWS:

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Life and love, November 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
I found this book both interesting and heart wrenching. Filled with the love of a woman, for a man, regardless of the color of his skin.
The freedom to choose life for her child, was a selfless act that brought joy tenfold in her golden years.
I recommend the book highly.
Five stars!!!!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Historical Story, November 7, 2014
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
Once I started reading S.K. Nicholls’ roman à clef Red Clay and Roses, I had to be pried away from the book for work and sleep. Her masterful storytelling is ideal for this southern story that, like Faulkner’s, covers generations of customs and politics and changes. She explores the tragedies of racism and gender inequality with a firm hand and a warm heart.

We hear the story through different voices. The nurse who learns the secrets and mysteries of the past tells us the story of the present—what’s “become” of the past. Then the love story of Nathan and Sybil is told in 3rd person. And it’s an enthralling story of transracial love in a time and place where such love could only be destroyed.

My fascination with American local and regional history was only fueled by this book. The details, down to specifics about Sybil’s business, lend authenticity to the story and demonstrate the research that went into the writing of the book.

Once you enter the world of this book, no matter how difficult that world can seem, you won’t want to leave.

Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Look at the South in the ‘Fifties and ‘Sixties, October 15, 2014
By
Kate Loveton (Glen Rock, Pa. United States) – See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
‘Red Clay and Roses’ is a fascinating look at the social and cultural mores of the South during the 1950s and 1960s. A well-written novel, the story begins with a ledger that is discovered and takes the story’s action back to the ‘fifties where the protagonist, Sybil, decides she wants to forge a life for herself that isn’t dependent upon a man. Smart and savvy, she quickly decides to open a beauty salon and makes a success of it. She was a maverick in that era, willing to take chances for success and filled with a desire to make it in a man’s world on her own terms.

The novel is set in the days of Jim Crowe, and the reader gets a realistic view of what life was like for African Americans and Caucasians during that era. Sybil, fair-haired and white, falls in love with a young Civil Rights worker, an African American named Nathan. Their love affair is fraught with danger due to the South’s deep abhorrence of interracial love. There are plenty of beautiful, sweet moments in this story. My heart ached for Sybil and Nathan, for the love they had for each other but were unable to admit to in public.

There’s so much going on in this book! Besides the love affair of Nathan and Sybil, we are confronted with the cruelty and prejudice of the times. Vividly portrayed is the sad story of Nathan’s sister, a happy and talented young singer who is gang raped by a group of good old boys; and – later, the pre Roe v Wade days when women went seeking abortions at the hands of not very competent or clean doctors and midwives.

If you’re looking for an interesting story about the stratified society that was the South of the fifties and sixties, you can’t go wrong with Susan K. Nicholls ‘Red Clay and Roses.’ Give it a try; I think you’ll like it.

Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star, September 18, 2014
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
Story was too segmented and I felt a little confusing.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

5.0 out of 5 stars “It just ain’t right…”, August 27, 2014
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Paperback)
At first glance you might be forgiven for thinking this a ‘woman’s book’. Its characters revolve around women and some of the issues raised are certainly primarily feminine; though even there the writer challenges preconceptions for these issues should be primarily human. It is not the literary equivalent of a chic flick… it is a book that makes you think. It is not always a comfortable read, but it is well written, well told and engrossing.

I saw a post by S.K. Nicolls on her website. Susan tells a good story, even within the limited scope of a blog post, and the details of her personal journey of discovery intrigued me. I bought the book.

Without giving the story away Red Clay and Roses explores the culture of the Southern States at a time in history when the various strata of society were as distinctly separate as oil and water and, as a rule, mixed less readily. Yet human emotions, both the good and the tragic, transcend these artificial barriers and you are not left with man and woman, black and white, but simply with people. That these people acted in ways we today might condemn raises the spectre of preconception and mirrors the changes in society; they were the creations of an era, acting from their accepted position, their ideas deeply ingrained. Do we, you wonder, do exactly the same and will future generations look back at us and wonder how we could behave as we do? This is a book that raises such questions.

Drawing on her own life experience, the author paints her characters in authentic colours. There are no saints or angels, no idealisations. Just real people… real lives, taken from history and cast in fiction, making one of those books that, once begun, you will find yourself continuing to read, engrossed in the individual stories that weave a tapestry of human experience.

There is an obvious reality to the description of place; the writer is familiar with her landscape and its people. That reality is also tangible in the way the characters are handled in many instances and you hear in the written word the veracity of the nurse who has handled these situations and the resulting emotional upheavals of those concerned throughout her career. It is this melding of personal experience and imagination that gives the book its credibility.
Reading in England there is the perspective of the outsider; our culture did not admit so readily to prejudice and division, though it was undeniably as prevalent and is arguably just as bad today, though less overtly so. It raises questions about racial and gender perceptions and, above all, about personal freedom… the freedom to choose.
Susan Nicolls addresses some difficult issues with this book and yet manages to maintain a position of
non-judgemental neutrality as its writer. For this, and for the articulate, imaginative story that is Red Clay and Roses, I applaud her.

Highly recommended.

Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

3.0 out of 5 stars Had great expectations from the early part of the book, August 7, 2014
Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
Had great expectations from the early part of the book, but it didn’t really deliver over all. Still, interesting insights.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

3.0 out of 5 stars A smart woman ahead of her time, July 29, 2014
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
Red Clay and Roses A rushed visit to a small town in Georgia, family stories and times revisited, a hidden ledger and secrets abound.

Sybil, a smart woman ahead of her time, has gumption, is open-minded and knows about secrets. During the racial upheaval in the 50s to 70s, she remains open-minded and true to herself. Nobody tells her how to live unlike other women of the time. She owns a beauty salon, her husband is jailed and a colored lover waits. She juggles her life and experiences loses she wishes she’d avoided. Who has secrets? Sybil, the good doctor, her husband, and Nathan’s family.

With probing, secrets are revealed. Are resolutions likely?

At the start, the transition from a necessary trip to the deep south to the unfolding of the fictionalized story occurred smoothly. The conclusion, however, felt disruptive in that the author inserted herself into the story and interrupted my reading enjoyment. I wish another approach had been taken to tie up the last loose end. Still, that revelation when it was exposed, satisfied.

Although this historical period is a painful reminder of the past, I enjoyed S.K. Nicholls’s novel.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com or Amazon.ca (Kindle only)

It’s worth a mention all proceeds from this novel will be awarded to The Russell Home for Atypical Children.

Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

4.0 out of 5 stars There is incredible immediacy to this author’s writing, July 14, 2014
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
Nicholls’ novel is a story of real life events overlaid with a façade of fiction. Knowing this gives the stories an emotional impact that might not otherwise be present if one thought the author had simply ‘made it all up’. There is immediacy to the writing – as if one were turning the pages of someone’s diary.

A book, written in the way Nicholls has written Red Clay and Roses, breaks many of the conventions that readers expect when reading a novel – not necessarily a bad thing. We can all do with a shake-up now and then.

The story weaves together the life events of a small town doctor and his wife, a black family who work for them and a young woman determined to break through some barriers of oppression (opening her own business) but not others (being involved with a coloured man) – all of these stories come, in one way or another, through the voice or intervention of nurse Hannah.
The stories are overwhelmingly ones of unfilled dreams or dreams snuffed out only as they are about to be fully realized. The reader has a sense of pulling over to the side of the road to peer into a car wreck – the tragedy is quite real.

The Southern location leaps off the pages with artfully done descriptions of places and settings. Small details, like the way in which Hannah stops to wipe the red clay from her shoes onto the grass, sparkle with realism. The author has done an excellent job of conveying the type of racism that is ingrained in people’s thoughts and behaviours to such a degree that their actions appear, to them at least, to be the natural order of things.

This book does present challenges. The author admits to not taking a stand on a controversial topic that is central to the work. The result seems to be that none of the characters take a stand either and that makes the retelling less believable than it could have been.

Take the ‘good’ doctor, as he is constantly called. The man is a pivotal character in the story, yet he remains a shadow figure – the reader rarely hears his name. His actions are at times saintly, underhanded, criminal, racist, or down-right cruel. Women emerge from his at-home clinic either laughing in relief or suffering a botched procedure. Yet, Sybil, a character who has many personal experiences with the man, never expresses an opinion. Moses, the black man who has spent years in servitude to the ‘good’ doctor might come closest to actually taking a stand, though his is one of a forbearance born of oppression. Perhaps the author is hoping to convey the fact that people simply have no choice so what would be the use of getting all worked up. If so, I salute her efforts. And maybe the ‘good’ doctor must remain a shadowy figure as he operates in a world where there are no easy answers – right or wrong.

The writing of a local dialect, be it geographical or time-based (always hard to do) works in some cases – when the old black man, Moses, tells his story the atmosphere is palpable. It runs out of steam in other cases. The way in which colloquial expressions of the ‘50’s, ‘60’s and ‘70’s are used to the point of being somewhat comic and at times indecipherable to an audience unfamiliar with the times or place.

The book begins with the nurse Hannah, the character who will bring the stories to the reader. But we lose sight of her as the book progresses and it becomes almost jarring when she pops back in to make a cameo appearance. When she re-emerges at the end of the book for a longish section of tying all the story threads together, the reader does not know her well enough to enter fully into the details provided about her work life.

Overall, a worthwhile read for the immediacy and powerful sense the book conveys of the racial oppression of black people in the South through a defining period of American history. A lesser but just as important theme is the way in which control of women was exercised through the denial of birth control and appropriate access to safe and affordable abortion services. These themes come together in the extreme suffering of the black women in the story.

Help other customers find the most helpful reviews
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

 

5.0 out of 5 stars and love, and particularly how race and gender relations intermingled …, July 9, 2014
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
“Red Clay and Roses” by S. K. Nicholls is an honest look into the joys and ruthless realities of life in the Deep South during the 1950s and 1960s. The novel predominantly delves straightforward into lust, rape, murder, criminal abortion, lies, adoption, denial, and love, and particularly how race and gender relations intermingled within those ruthless realities of life.The author presents this story as roman à clef; that is, as a novel based on a real life overlapped with fiction. She skillfully wrote to give the reader an interesting, eyes-wide-open view into the foul side of human attitudes and behavior, mirrored with the sweeter side that life can bring. Not only does she present to the reader the ugliness of lust, rape, abortion, et al, she also lays out the misery of mental illness, financial chicanery, and the protracted goals for women’s rights and civil rights in general.

It is obvious that the author researched well, as not only were the historical events correct, but also were the everyday things of life: Hair styles, clothing, language, place names, popular singers, and product names, for example. She is meticulous is describing things, sometimes to the minute detail. The reader, if familiar with places in the South, will recognize such places as Rexall Drugs, Kay Bee Jewelers, the Chattahoochee River, and Merritt Pecan Company. Even the late Freddie Hubbard, an American jazz trumpeter, was spun into the story early on.

What also makes this novel real is the author’s expert use of medical terms and medicine in general. As she is in real life a registered nurse, her knowledge becomes an excellent asset to the descriptions of the characters’ experiences with hospitals and their nefarious involvements. She uses medical terms and medicine in such a way that the reader is at ease; the descriptions do not come across at all as dry nursing class lectures, but almost as a matter-of-fact professional descriptions that the reader accepts.

S. K. Nicholls writes with ease and clarity and gives the reader rich, full scenes to imagine with the simplest of words, such as in the telling of ” . . . my first kiss in the midst of the rain of swirling pink crabapple petals . . .” She proves that simplicity paints a masterpiece.

She also effortlessly shows the soul of a building where it “reeked of chemicals and pain.” With just those five words, the reader feels and smells the repulsion of what once existed in one room. Even the real, but imaginary, “fairy babies” with their stinging “insect-like tails” that Ms. Bea fears almost materialize within the novel’s pages.

The author is adept at using dialect to give her characters a real life to their voices. Though a different dialect than those utilized by Mark Twain and Charles W. Chestnut, S. K. Nicholls nonetheless hears dialect well. She also employs the use of early twentieth century and mid-century slang to a T. “Slap me some skin!” was my thought as her characters, particularly Moses, spoke easily with words and phrases common decades ago.

“The word from the bird” is this: S. K. Nicholls’ “Red Clay and Roses” is a well-written, factual fictional novel that will grasp the reader’s attention from start to finish. I would place it among other well-known historical fictional novels (such as, for example, those written in the vein of Anthony Trollope and Margaret Mitchell) to be used as, perhaps, required reading in both high school and college English and American history, and social studies courses.

I highly recommend this fabulous novel.

5.0 out of 5 stars Deep Truth in the Deep South, March 2, 2014
By
Amazon Verified Purchase()
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
This book explores the many facets of Americana so wonderfully. It does a marvelous job of exposing the darker side of the deep south while still maintaining the air of nostalgia and romanticism with the lead characters.For a new writer the books has a natural flow that I find refreshing and easy to read, even though the story material can be hard at time, but such is the history of America.Overall a great read worthy of both my time, and my money. I highly recommend giving it a read.

Red Clay and Roses by S.K. NichollsBy Rosie AmberMy rating: 4 of 5 starsRed Clay and Roses steps back in history to Georgia and the deep south at a time where people struggled to survive and where changes to segregation and inequality faced fierce resistance.

The stories within are written around an old accounting ledger, found many years later, after it was hidden away. Hannah Schmidt pieces together the events and lives of the characters who were associated with The Good Doctor. She interviews relatives and follows leads from which she tells the reader of the everyday lives of a group of people whose destinies became entangled. There is passion, love, fear and survival written over several decades during which the American nation was forced to change laws and move into a new direction.

We meet the Good Doctor who ran a double accounting system and provided a much needed, but illegal, abortion service. Mrs Bea, his wife, who was left alone after he died to face her own guilt about what the doctor did. Moses and his family are the black help who live in a shack on the Good Doctors land. The Good Doctor goes on to sponsor Nathan, Moses’ son, through school and sets him up to train as a doctor. Then there is Sybil, a young, independent white women who wants to start her own business running a salon in town.

The lives of the characters show some great hardships. There was such prejudice and fear of stepping over the acceptable line. This book is like a window in time which lets us peek at history in the making.

This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
3 Star”Think for yourself. Don’t think too much of yourself.”Red Clay and Roses takes you on a journey through time, as one woman learns secrets about the people from her hometown. Brings to light what living in a small town in Southern Georgia was like back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Back when the prohibition was going strong, Vietnam war, the Great Depression. I do have to warn that their is a lot of racism in this book that keeps with the time period during which the story is placed. (This book is by no means racist, but is in line with the time period being written about.)The only thing I didn’t like about the book was the Journal style writing.
 

5.0 out of 5 stars Red Clay and Roses, by S.K. Nicholls – a fictional epic about important issues of the 1960s, January 31, 2014

This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
S.K. Nicholls skillfully weaves a fascinating, historically-based epic in her novel, “Red Clay and Roses”. She shares a tale of Southern life during the 60’s based on personal and researched experiences. These stories are spellbinding and enthrall the reader to learn and understand these event in a new light. Each reader will experience individual responses but will surely be inspired by the experience! I feel it is definitely a worthwhile and informative book that will enhance historical perspectives and lead to effective internal introspection of racial, feminine and equality issues.Susan M. Stone, MSN, RN, retired Professor of nursing
 
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy and Enjoyable Read, January 22, 2014
By
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
The author’s clarity of vision and depth of research recreate for the reader a troubled time in America’s recent past when racial bigotry and suppression of women’s rights led to heart-rending loss, difficult decisions, and touching relationships. The author uses actual events and experiences of real people to inspire her characters, whose lives are torn apart or brought together by a changing world. A book to be read slowly and savored for the richness of the language and imagery, and the intensity of the experience of another time and place. Highly recommended.
 
5.0 out of 5 stars Epic and yet beautifully intimate novel!, January 18, 2014
By
HelenKid – 
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Paperback)
Where do I begin to review this beautiful, and I believe, important book? In Red Clay and Roses the author, S.K Nicholls, has provided an intimate and yet comprehensive overview of a period in history that was characterised by great social and political transformation. She does this through the journals and memories of people who lived in these times and who struggled with racial tension, gender politics, political upheaval and a rapidly changing environment.The characters in this novel are so brilliantly described and with such gentleness that you feel that you know them and that you are listening to their stories directly. As a reader who was but a child in the period of time primarily covered by this book it makes me reflect on how much change was occurring when I was too young to understand its full import. The way that these changes are described in the lives of these very human, believable characters will haunt you long after you finish the novel.For me this novel will stand as one of the more beautiful and moving pieces of literature that I have read in many years. I was moved to tears at the end of the story where all the strands of the various lives were brought together in such a miraculous and yet believable manner. I believe that S.K Nicholls writes with a true literary voice and one that is both accessible and meaningful. I certainly hope to see more from this writer in the future and can only congratulate her on this epic and yet beautifully intimate novel.
 
5.0 out of 5 stars If all politics are local, all history is personal, January 18, 2014
By
Barb Taub – 
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
They say all politics are local, and that history is written by the victors. But there is a genre of fiction (such as One Hundred Years of Solitude) that tells more truth than the official version. [book:Red Clay and Roses|20451856] makes politics micro-local, and makes history personal.This isn’t a genre I would usually pick up. But I raced through S.K. Nicholls’ incredible book and then went back for a slower read. Red Clay and Roses tells the beautiful, bittersweet story of a generation through an unforgettable cast. Characters’ strengths and flaws change and develop in ways that are completely true to their own history. At the same time, they are actors in early twentieth century issues of racism, civil rights, gender issues, reproductive rights, and far more.But it’s the author’s compassion and love for the people on her stage that raises Red Clay and Roses to rank with some of the best books I’ve ever read. I have no idea how she’ll follow up, but I can’t wait to see what’s next for Ms. Nicholls.
 

5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!, January 14, 2014
By
Amazon Verified Purchase
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
I was captured by this story from the very beginning. Very well written and believable. I wanted it to be true. I highly recommend it especially to people born in and before 1950.
 

5.0 out of 5 stars This story becomes a part of you!, January 11, 2014
By
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
I so enjoyed this book! It is the kind of story that finds a place in your heart and mind and stays there for quite some time. I think about Red Clay and Roses as I go about my day. The characters seem to grow on you and feel as if they are part of your family. A lot of history – a lot of mystery – a lot of great story telling. It was one of those books I did not want to end, but I also wanted to know the outcome. Can’t have it all can we?! Susan did such a phenomenal job of creating the setting and mood for this story. Wish you luck Susan in all your other publications!
 

4.0 out of 5 stars Praise for Red Clay And Roses by S. K. Nicholls, January 7, 2014
By
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)
Well done S. K. Nicolls! I enjoyed Red Clay And Roses. The story takes place near my home town and I learned some history I was not familiar with. I found I didn’t want to put this book down and didn’t want the story to end. I hope S. K. Nicholls will write a sequel to Red Clay And Roses and look forward to other books by this author!

5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful blend of fiction and history, December 31, 2013
By
Carrie Rubin (Ohio) –
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)

This book weaves a fictional tale into the setting of the tense race relationships in the South in the 50s and 60s. A nurse finds an old ledger used by a doctor of chiropractic medicine who performed abortions on the side. Through that book she uncovers the stories of the people surrounding the “Good Doctor,” including an African-American family who works for him as well as a young white woman who has an affair with the family’s son. The amount of research behind this book is impressive, yet it doesn’t bog down the story. I found myself invested in Nathan and Sybil’s relationship and was anxious to see how it would all come together in the end. I was not disappointed. I also enjoyed the smooth writing style. Overall a wonderful read.

5.0 out of 5 stars POWERFUL AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING., December 5, 2013
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)

This is a powerful novel of time and place and cultural change, well worth exploring. S.K. Nicholls knows how to blend well-modeled characters into a seamless whole. The pacing reflects both the social tensions of the mid-20th-century Southeastern United States as well as a lifestyle leisurely for some and painfully demanding for others, integrating both aspects into a satisfying read. The author does her research and it shows, but never allows historical accuracy and geographical precision to override the flow of the story. In fact, they inspire a true sense of place as the reader moves about with the characters. A fine blend of fact and fiction, thought-provoking as well as very satisfying.

5.0 out of 5 stars Divine, November 27, 2013

By

Hilda Cotto

Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)

This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)

Personality I know Miss. Susan, we meet at job like RN’s. Very professional, nice friend, wonderful mom. About Red Clay and Roses strong story.

5.0 out of 5 stars A Book That Must Be Read, October 6, 2013

By
Papi Z –
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)

Historical fiction. This is my first reading of a book in this category. A serious book based on real events. This will be a serious, technical review… ha ha ha. Got you, didn’t I? Anyhow, let’s get to the meat of the matter.

Trying to write this review without spoilers is difficult. Such is my burden to bear. I enjoyed this book a lot, I found it to be technically sound and well paced. It is a book with a good deal of dialogue, personally I thought it worked well and was properly placed within the framework of the story.

Action is timed well in the story, overall placement of each aspect of the story is executed very well. There is no preaching on one side or the other, a book that slices a line right down the middle. Presents the facts and permits the reader to make up their own mind. S.K. handles sensitive topics and issues with the right amount of care, and goodness I have more to say but it pertains to spoilers.

There you have it my friends, this is a book you must experience.

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Example of Faction

, August 28, 2013

Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)

I read the revised and edited edition, so I can’t speak to how well the first edition was prepared. This edition seems to be very well written and well edited. I wanted to read it because it is a faction novel based on a true story. The introduction and conclusion wrapped the story up neatly, like brown paper around a surprise package. The first six chapters and the conclusion are written in the first person by the narrator, and Sybil and Nathan’s Story is written in the third person. The conclusion adds a sweet note to an otherwise poignant story. I appreciated that the author clearly marked the dates and title sections of the story. I did not feel lost at all and felt the story moved fluidly. I liked the way the different sections of the book were clearly defined, it made for a fast but deeply thought provoking read. It was not at all distracting the way they led into each other. The plot was interesting. The characters were colorful and well developed, and the descriptions were thorough, but succinct, and not overly verbose or long-winded. Although Sybil and Nathan had strong lead roles, my favorite character was Moses. I could see a clear picture of him retelling his stories, and he seemed very real. My least likable character was Trent, because I saw him as chauvinistic and racist, but he was a believable character. There is a most important message in the novel. I would recommend this read to anyone wanting to know what life was like during this era, about Civil Rights or women’s issues, as the history provided was nicely woven into the story line.

5.0 out of 5 stars Delightful Southern Gothic Tale, August 23, 2013
By
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)

A beautifully told southern gothic story with quaint and strange characters, mystery and love, set in the deep south not so long ago. The vivid detail of people and places invited me right into the middle of the story, as though I was in the room of each and every page of the book and I had a deep connection with all of the people in this sad and sweet story.

Red Clay and Roses is a historical fiction based on true stories, by S.K. Nicholls, majorly dating back to the period between 50’s and early 70’s.It is a story based on the lives of people of a small town and the circumstances that they deal with everyday, with the racism prevalent against the African-American citizens in Georgia, similar to the situation in other Southern states, even when there was being seen a radical change in the rest of the country.However, the story starts in the year of 2012 and ends in the same year as well, but the entire basis of the story lies during the time when equality did not prevail and some relations could not succeed because of the racist notions of the society.This is a tale, of love, loss, family, friends and the entire society and how concrete certain believes were etched in the mind of the people, because of what was familiar to them and what was made known to them by the previous generations.Thoughts regarding the book:-1.The plot line is good which focuses on the lives of both fractions of the society during the period the book is set.2.The writing style is unique and it contributes towards the plot of the book, giving it an extra nudge.3.The characters are likable and they keep you interested throughout the book. Once you get into the flow of the story, it is as if you want to know more and more and you would not be able to stop reading unless you have reached to a point where another segment of story starts.4.The structure is quite confusing towards the beginning. It takes time for the reader to understand the significance of the events happening in the story. But every thing which would seem apart comes out to form a complete circle finally.5.The emotional factor of the novel is good, you would feel a little sad at certain stances, and you would sympathize with the characters.6.The division of the story is done quite cleverly and it is easy to jump from one part to another.7.It is a sort of drama of the lives of the common folks. There are certain issues like abortion, woman empowerment and taboo relationships, raised in the book and the writing is quite successful in putting forth the information regarding what the things were like back then.8.The editing and grammar is such that you would have a nice reading experience.9.The title of the novel is quite apt, creating an image in mind, which recurs in the story.
I would highly recommend this book to those who like reading about the lives of people and those who enjoy historical fiction for its facts and practicalities.
Pamela Beckford‘s review

Jul 18, 13

I loved this book. The word pictures were so well done that I felt like I not only knew the characters, but I have mental images of them. Historical fiction can be ho hum or it can be as if you are living it. The author did a great job of inviting the reader to live it with her. I thought the book started a bit slow…maybe not so much slow, but it seemed much of the very beginning was unnecessary. Of course, once I finished the book, I saw it all tie together.

I highly recommend this book. It was an easy read…and engaging read. I can’t wait to read more by this author.

.

Patti Hall‘s review

Jul 25, 13
Read from July 22 to 24, 2013, read count: once

Debut author, S.K. Nicholls, has hit a home run with this American drama that is so much more. The evidence of the detailed, historically correct research that Nicholls must have done, is smoothly blended into the narrative and dialogue without a hitch.Red Clay & Roses sinks right into the middle of the most inflammatory issues in the deep south of fifty years ago; women’s rights, abortion, adoption, racism, rape and murder. The reader has a clear view from many perspectives, including: different cultures, young/old, and male/female. This alone, makes this a book for a variety of readers and their interests. It held my interest because it was based on a true story.We care about the characters immediately, as they try to balance the complicated and emotional political times that greatly affect each of their personal lives. Nicholls’s Hannah is a solid character who uses a strong, but gentle hand with all of those she interacts with. She backs off just when you want her to, and forges ahead when it is needed.Make time before you open this book, because you won’t want to stop turning to the next page, and the next. You’re going to get involved; you’re going to root for a forbidden love, when you thought you never would. You are going to get angry, and you’ll even laugh out loud. Nicholls deftly writes a story we all need to know. Her writing makes us care and makes us think. I strongly recommend this book for discussion among family, friends and book clubs.

4.0 out of 5 stars great read by a new author, August 14, 2013
By
bry – 
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)

A great blend of fiction with cultural fact! A romance with a twist, rooted in racial turmoil and historical conflict. Beyond learning about Hannah’s own journey, I greatly appreciated the supporting characters in this book. The attention to detail and genuine southern influence add great intrigue and sincerity.

As a new author, Nicholls shows great promise. There are a few points in the book that could improve with flow and experience, but the story line is solid. Overall, it is a great read and I am looking forward to more from this upcoming and talented new author.

 

4.0 out of 5 stars A Compelling Story of Racial Injustice and Forbidden Love, August 10, 2013
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)

I strongly recommend this book for those who are interested in the history of race relations and women’s reproductive rights, particularly in the Southeastern US during the early part of the 20th century. The story embedded in this book, particularly of the four major characters, Moses, Althea, Sybil, and Nathan, is compelling. Ms. Nicholls’ writing style evokes some of the great writers of natural realism such as Theodore Dreiser. She weaves a sense of place and culture with details and dialogue that make the story come alive and reveal the complexity and humanity of each person in the story.

This book is a diamond in the rough. Although I loved the story, some parts of the book I didn’t like as much as others. I do think the Introduction and Conclusion were long and distracting. I know the book is based on real people and true events. I appreciated going along on the author’s discovery in the Introduction and learning about how she brought events to closure in the Conclusion. But I was distracted by some of the side trips, such as in the Conclusion when the author wrote about her nursing experience at length. And yet the Conclusion did provide me a sense of closure that I needed, for the inner story is indeed tragic.

The heart of the book, the story she tells of Moses, Althea, Sybil, and Nathan, will now always be with me. And despite my complaint about the Introduction and Conclusion, through those parts of the book, I learned that this author is not only an excellent storyteller, but also a kind and generous person.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Wow…really., July 16, 2013

This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)

So, I began reading this book just as a sample of what the author was discussing on her blog and ended up not being able to put it down until I finished it. This is the sign of an excellent book.

What did I like about it, you may ask, or you may not, but I will tell you regardless. There is so much to like. First of all, this book is based on reality and although it is a harsh reality, this is beautifully written and researched. The amount of information the author uncovered during her research and how she molded it into this story sets Red Clay and Roses apart from many other historical books I have read. I thoroughly enjoyed that this book was different from what I have come to expect from the genre. Reading this book is like visiting the memories of someone you love and seeing the world through their unique perspective, without leaving the comfort of your home.

There were no obvious errors in this book in regards to time periods or appropriate language, which kept me enjoying the story without distraction. I was also appreciative of the author’s ability to affect a southern drawl and make it sound believable in text. That can be a difficult thing to do without it sounding silly or contrived.

S.K. Nicholls has a way of making you feel what her characters are feeling. This book is overflowing with tension, civil unrest and keeps you reading even when you would have given up on lesser books. One of my favourite things about this story, is the way the characters communicate their desires to the reader. There is not an overabundance of information given through dialogue. You are able to get to know the individual personalities of the characters and see how they react–emotionally and physically to the things they are faced with. I do not see this often enough in the books I read.

Although this book does deal with very serious subject matter and is an intensely thoughtful book, it is not depressing and gives you the opportunity to become so involved in the story that you nearly forget everything else. There were times during reading this where I wanted to shout, times where I wanted to laugh and hug a character and times where I had tears fill my eyes.
If you have not read this book yet, it is my firm opinion that you are missing out on something that you will likely never forget. Pick up a copy soon, and see for yourself.

5.0 out of 5 stars Green Embers’ Recommended, July 12, 2013
By
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)

I highly recommend this book. This was probably the most important book I have read this year. This is not normally a book that I would pick up to read for myself but picked it up from a few other strong reviews. I would also say this book is one of the hardest books I have read, not difficult to read but hard to grasp that society can be so backwards and that hate and fear really hurt. S.K. Nicholls writes such a very well thought out book that really made me analyze myself and the world around me, are we living in a better world than 50 years ago? I would like to think so. She has an incredible use of diction and from the first few paragraphs I could hear the narrator reading out loud in a southern drawl. It was almost like watching a movie in book form. There are parts of the book that are sweet but other parts that made me so sad. The ending was bittersweet. The only thing that seemed a trifle odd was some parts of the book feel disjointed but eventually it all ties together to a complete picture. I feel like this book helped me think more about issues still prevalent today and really that helps me be a better person.

5.0 out of 5 stars Nicholls brings the harsh reality of history to life., June 30, 2013
By
This review is from: Red Clay and Roses (Kindle Edition)

Red Clay and Roses takes the reader into the history of the south. With characters so interesting and believable, the reader effortlessly connects with those who make the story.

As I read, I felt that I was following Hannah in her journey of meeting individuals, learning their histories, and discovering, in some cases, unspeakable truths. Author, Nicholls, raises subjects that were, and in some cases still are, those that society wants to try and overlook. But Red Clay and Roses presents a story about life, and life is seldom untouched by truths, both good and bad. This honesty is evident in Hannah’s observations and experiences.

I am impressed by Nicholls’ ability to present the south so believably. As a reader, I was taken there. Rich descriptions without being too long-winded and dialect that was both fitting and readable added authenticity to the story.

The only struggle I encountered was mild confusion in the first chapter. I knew the speaker was Hannah, but sometimes the dates of her history were unclear to me; it took me a few pages to register that her story was finally in the present. By the second chapter, this was fully resolved and I did not revisit any form of confusion there on out.

This book was a welcome and attractive read. The presentation of women’s rights, civil liberties, and free will against the bacdrop of the deep south was fascinating to me, having not lived it, myself. I was taken to another place.

When I would set the book down, between readings, I would find myself thinking of the characteres – their experiences, the secrets they kept, the silences they chose. These characters became very real to me, and I often found myself feeling their grief, joy, or frustration. Nicholls is masterful in bringing her characters to life, and Red Clay and Roses contains an honest look at history, as well as the rights we have as individuals.

5.0 out of 5 stars Good Discussion Book June 12, 2013

Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase

What a powerful voice! A well written, engaging story of women’s history, civil rights, and the dilemmas of an interracial romance in the 1950′s. I want my daughter to read this. I was captured on the very first page. This new author handles sensitive issues with dignity and respect. Nicholl’s demonstrates the sacrifices real people made to assure us our freedom and rights under the law in a very realistic drama. Red Clay and Roses is definitely going on my student’s fiction reading list. I can see this novel opening up some good discussion. Good Job You!

5.0 out of 5 stars Could Not Put It Down May 30, 2013

By Barbara C Martin

Format:Kindle Edition|Amazon Verified Purchase

I don’t have a lot of spare time to read. When I picked up this book, I suddenly found the time. I could not put it down. I would recommend this book to anyone. You will be pleasantly surprised. Enjoy. I look forward to Mrs. Nicholls next book, can’t wait!!

5.0 out of 5 stars Red Clay and Roses May 22, 2013

By nan sief

Format:Kindle Edition

Red Clay and Roses is a memorable account of the dramatic triumph and tragedy of a woman and a man,- of love and life in the South, couldn’t put it down. A MUST READ!! This new book has appeal for men and women of all ages.

 5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Book! May 21, 2013

By Linda Weese

Format:Kindle Edition

This story is a mix of mystery, murder, drama and forbidden love. Each chapter makes you want to read the next. I read many books. This one evoked deep feelings within me as women face these same challenges today.

5 out of 5 stars  Historical Fiction from the American South

By justanothersoul-Apr 9, 2013

ITunes:

An interracial romance with murder and racial tension galore!  Add to this an illegal abortionist and you have quite a story!

 

2 thoughts on “Reviews: Red Clay and Roses

  1. Sounds good. I have a book giveaway on at the moment if you would be interested in it? I was given the book to review by a publishing company and I loved it so much that I want others to read it. However, I only have 1 entry so far so I’m worried in case the giveaway is a failure. If you are interested, you can find the giveaway on my blog – it’s for Half A King by Joe Abercrombie

Share your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s