Monday, September 26, 2022

Cora's Kitchen by Kimberly Garrett Brown

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book: (summary from Goodreads)

It is 1928 and Cora James, a 35-year-old Black librarian who works at the 135th Street library in Harlem, writes Langston Hughes a letter after identifying with one of his poems. She even reveals her secret desire to write. Langston responds, encouraging Cora to enter a writing contest sponsored by the National Urban League, and ignites her dream of being a writer. Cora is frustrated with the writing process, and her willingness to help her cousin Agnes keep her job after she is brutally beaten by her husband lands Cora in a white woman's kitchen working as a cook.

In the Fitzgerald home, Cora discovers she has time to write and brings her notebook to work. When she comforts Mrs. Fitzgerald after an argument with Mr. Fitzgerald, a friendship forms. Mrs. Fitzgerald insists Cora call her Eleanor and gives her The Awakening by Kate Chopin to read. Cora is inspired by the conversation to write a story and sends it to Langston. Eventually she begins to question her life and marriage and starts to write another story about a woman's sense of self. Through a series of letters, and startling developments in her dealings with the white family, Cora's journey to becoming a writer takes her to the brink of losing everything, including her life.

my thoughts:

Wow! What a powerful story! Cora's Kitchen by Kimberly Garrett Brown is a must-read for anyone and everyone. It is just too damn good to miss out on. The story is unputdownable - I read it in one sitting! How could I not?! The writing captivated me and I found myself emotionally invested right from the start. I fell in too deep to put this book down for anything. I just loved this book so much!

It's 1928 and Cora James is living in Harlem. She'a a librarian and her biggest desire is to be a writer. She sends a letter to Langston Hughes and he encourages her to write. However, time is limited as she must work and take care of her family. And then, Cora finds herself working at the Fitzgerald home when her cousin Agnes desperately needs her help. It is at the Fitzgerald home that Cora finds the time to pursue her writing. She even forms a friendship with Mrs. Fitzgerald, or Eleanor, as she tells Cora to call her. The more she writes and communicates with her friends about books and writing, the more Cora begins to wonder about her own life.  

Talk about a thought-provoking book! Not only do we get to read about books, but we read about passion for writing. We also read about race, racism, identity, gender, and so much more in this smart and engaging story. The author explores these issues via the letters that Cora and Langston write to each other, and through the books she reads and learns from - it's just so eye-opening and thoughtful. I loved this story to bits! 

I would happily recommend Cora's Kitchen to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - you are going to LOVE this book! Make sure to check it out!

Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

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