2016 Book 205: STEPPING TO A NEW DAY by Beverly Jenkins

Stepping to a New Day by Beverly Jenkins 
ISBN: 9780062412638 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062412645 (ebook)
ASIN: B015MOJ95A (Kindle version)
Publication Date: June 28, 2016 
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks

NAACP nominee and USA Today bestselling author Beverly Jenkins returns to the town of Henry Adams with a story of family, friendship, love, and second chances.

In Henry Adams, Kansas, you can’t start over without stirring things up . . .

Many a good woman has had to leave a no-good man, but how many of them took a back-seat to his 600-lb. hog? On her own for the first time, Genevieve Gibbs is ecstatic, even if certain people preferred the doormat version of Ms. Gibbs. Finding someone who appreciates the “new” her has only just hit Gen’s to-do list when T.C. Barbour appears in her life. 

A tiny Kansas town is a far cry from his native Oakland, California, but it’s just the change T. C. needs. While helping his divorced nephew acclimate to single fatherhood, T. C. lands a gig driving a limo for the most powerful woman in Henry Adams. It’s a great way to meet people—and one in particular has already made the job worthwhile. All it takes is a short trip from the airport for Genevieve to snag T.C.’s attention for good. 

But it wouldn’t be Henry Adams without adding more drama to the mix. When Gen’s ex Riley returns with his hog in tow, it sets off a chain of events that can ruin everything—unless the residents pull together once again to save the day.

Imagine a small town established by freed Blacks in the 1800s. Imagine that same town in the 21st century, struggling to survive. Now imagine the town is posted on eBay and sold. The buyer is a wealthy Black American female and she’s willing to put her money up to bring this poor rural midwestern town into the 21st century. The population is growing once again, there’s a school, a recreation center, a church, a grocery store, a beauty salon, a recording studio, and more. Return to Henry Adams, Kansas in Stepping to a New Day, the latest addition in the Blessings series by acclaimed author Beverly Jenkins.

Genevieve Gibbs is a sixty-something-year-old woman finding her niche in life. She divorced her husband after he chose his hog Cletus over his wife and embezzled thousands of dollars from the monies left to her by her father. Adding insult to injury, her home had to be demolished due to the destruction wrought by her ex-husband’s favored hog. Genevieve had begun to rekindle her romance with her high-school love, but he can’t accept her new found spirit and free will. Enter the newest addition to the Henry Adams family, T.C. Barbour. T.C. had moved to Henry Adams on a temporary basis to help out his nephew. Within days he’s obtained a part-time job as a chauffeur and found that small town life isn’t as bad as he thought. T.C. has also finally decided to follow through on a promise he made to his dying wife, he’s going to learn to read. Both T.C. and Genevieve struggle with their new lives, but one area that is struggle-free is their romantic interest in one another.

Stepping to a New Day is the seventh book in the Blessings series by Ms. Jenkins. I found it to be a fast-paced and engaging read. Just in case you couldn’t tell, I really like the Blessings series and was greatly looking forward to this new addition and it did not disappoint me. Ms. Jenkins has provided a story about second chances in family, love, and life for a variety of ongoing characters, including Genevieve and T.C. We also see the ongoing struggles with the children of Henry Adams and other residents. These characters struggle with the normal day-to-day routines and more. It’s been fascinating to watch the development of this town grow from an isolated small rural community to one that is basically an extended-family scenario. It’s always a delight to read about the interactions of the Henry Adams natives, transplants, and visits from out-of-state friends and relatives. Ms. Jenkins has created a diverse, multicultural town that I’d be proud to call home. If you’ve never read any of the books in this series, then I strongly encourage you to begin reading it. Seriously, start with Bring on the Blessings and continue all the way through to Stepping to a New Day. This series provides tons of romance, family angst and drama, and highlights small town life as well as midwestern Black American history…a little bit of something for everyone to enjoy. Go, read, and enjoy! I look forward to returning to Henry Adams in the future. 

Disclaimer: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Beverly JenkinsAbout Beverly Jenkins

Beverly Jenkins has received numerous awards, including five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers Awards, two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times Magazine, and a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer’s Guild. Ms. Jenkins was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th century by AABLC, the nation’s largest on-line African-American book club. She was recently nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature.

Find out more about Beverly at her website and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter

This review is part of a TLC Book Tour.

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2015 Book 162: FOR YOUR LOVE Review

For Your Love (Blessings #6) by Beverly Jenkins
ISBN: 9780062207999 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780062208002 (ebook)
ASIN: B00QQMNINM (Kindle edition)
Publication date: April 28, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow & Company

Return to Henry Adams, Kansas–an unforgettable place anyone would want to call home. . . .

Mayor Trent July and his wife, Lily, are enjoying life as newlyweds and embracing the challenges and joys that come with being adoptive parents to two wonderful boys. But fatherhood has inevitably forced Trent to think about his own birth mother.

Raised by his grandmother Tamar–and, in many ways, the good people of Henry Adams–Trent was blessed with a childhood full of love. But he can’t help wondering what happened to the scared teenage girl who gave birth to him. And questions that he’s never voiced are now begging to be answered: Who was she? Is she still alive? Why didn’t she want him?

Trent has always believed that no good comes from dwelling on the past, especially when you have a loving family, a strong community, and folks who depend on you. But when the past comes to Henry Adams, Trent has no choice but to face it–and the woman who left him behind. The truth will shake his very being and everything he thought he knew about life, love, and the bonds that hold families together . . . but can also tear them apart. 

Imagine a contemporary small, rural town filled with loving, caring people. Imagine a town with little, if any, unemployment. Imagine a town where everyone works together for the betterment of that town and its inhabitants. Now imagine this town was founded by Black Americans in the mid-1800s and that multiple generations of descendants of the founding families have continued to reside there and raise their families. This mythic town is the town of Henry Adams, Kansas and is the setting for the Blessings series of stories by Beverly Jenkins. For Your Love isn’t just the story of this town or one family, but multiple families and their search for more.

The first person we’re introduced to is Rita Lynn Babcock in California and the only thing we know is that she’s received a letter from her deceased mother revealing a shocking secret from her past. Next we’re introduced to Trent July. His family is one of the founding families of Henry Adams. Trent is on his third marriage and has two adopted sons, Amari, and Devon. Trent’s father, Malachi July, is a trained veterinarian and owner/operator of the Dog and Cow restaurant in town. Trent is a trained architectural engineer and is currently working as the mayor of Henry Adams. Trent’s only regret in life is that he doesn’t know his birth mother. Just when you think you know where this story is going, the reader is whisked to Dallas, Texas and introduced to nineteen-year-old Bobby Douglas, his nineteen-year-old girlfriend Kelly “Kiki” Page, and their eleven-month-old twins, Tiara and Bobby Jr. Bobby and Kelley are struggling to provide for their young family when they are asked to relocate to Henry Adams, Kansas. What follows is a story of a town offering a foundation to a young family, affording them respite from abject poverty and the chance to be a part of something bigger.

Over the course of this story, Trent reconnects with his birth-mother, Rita. And Bobby and Kelly realize that there are good people willing to offer a helping hand to those in need. Needless to say, there is a lot more going on than just the story of Trent, Rita, Bobby, and Kelly. The reader is introduced to the older generation of Henry Adams, as well as the youngsters (trust me when I say you’ll want to read about Devon and his swagalicious wardrobe). Are there problems to be faced in Henry Adams? Of course there are, and one of the bigger problems is dealing with a loss of support services from a neighboring town. Throughout all the ups-and-downs, this tiny community bands together to ensure that no one is fighting a battle alone.

For Your Love is actually the first story I’ve read by Ms. Jenkins. At first I was a little lost since there was obviously quite a bit of backstory to this town and its residents that I didn’t know. However, once I got into the story it didn’t really seem to matter about what came before (although I’m adding all of the previous titles in this series to my TBR list just so I can catch up). Ms. Jenkins has crafted a wonderful story about a town and community anyone would want to live in. Not all of the people in this town are wealthy financially, but they have a wealth of friendship, love, and support that can’t be measured. There’s family drama, old jealousies and hurts, greed and avarice, and more. If you enjoy stories featuring families and communities dealing with realistic problems, then you’ll want to add this HEA (happy/hopeful-ever-after) story to your TBR list. I look forward to catching up on the Blessings series and reading more from Ms. Jenkins in the future.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes via TLC Book Tours. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

About the Author

Beverly Jenkins is the author of thirty historical and contemporary novels, including five previous books in her beloved Blessings series. She has been featured in many national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, People, the Dallas Morning News, Vibe, and many other publications.

Find out more about Beverly at her website and connect with her on Facebook.

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