I Am Ayah: The Way Home by Donna Hill
ISBN: 9781649371461 (Paperback)
ISBN: 9781649371683 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781250893338 (digital audiobook)
ASIN: B0BH9BBTZM (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B099QHBM7G (Kindle edition)
Page Count: 368
Publication date: May 23, 2023
Publisher: Sideways Books
Genre: Fiction | Romance | Multi-Cultural
Set amid Sag Harbor’s vibrant African American history, bestselling author Donna Hill weaves a stunningly rich story about finding the way home…no matter how long the journey takes.
Alessandra Fleming has spent most of her life running from her past. Her budding photography career, her life in Manhattan, all serve to distract from the secrets and guilt she’s never been able to face. Then the call. Her estranged father is in the hospital…and Alessandra must return home to Sag Harbor, crumbling the first wall between her past and her present.
For some, coming home is a relief. For Alessandra, it’s a reminder of the family she’s lost, of the time she’ll never regain. But the answers—the secrets—of her family are hidden in the house, waiting for her. And the only one who may be able to help her uncover them is her father’s neighbor, Zach, who brings with him an attraction that’s intense and instantaneous, yet oddly familiar.
Now Alessandra is being pulled back not only into her own complex family history, but into the richly documented lives of four extraordinary women. Generations touched by tragedy and triumph, despair and hope. And it’s in these aching echoes of the past that Alessandra’s own story—her mistakes and her capacity to love—will take shape, guiding her to the life she’s meant to live…and the extraordinary person she will become.
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There are many sayings about not being able to go home again, for whatever reason, but Alessandra Fleming must return to her hometown after being notified that he has been hospitalized due to a fall. For Alessandra, there’s never a good time to go “home,” especially since she’s preparing for her first art show and must take a leave of absence from her job at the art gallery. But Alessandra does return to her home in Sag Harbor and tries to uncover the secrets of her family’s past, along with her past, in an effort to understand her father and rebuild their relationship. Little does Alessandra know, but her family has deep and dark ties to Sag Harbor, dating back to the 19th century and the slave trade. Throughout Alessandra’s visit home, she experiences flashes of someone else in some other time. Is she going crazy? Will the secrets she uncovers help her understand who she is, where she’s come from, and what’s happening to her? Will Alessandra be able to build a relationship with the new man in her life, Zach Renard?
I Am Ayah: The Way Home is presented with a dual timeline, the contemporary story dealing with Alessandra, and the historical narrative of Ayah, a woman kidnapped from Africa and an escapee from enslavement. One of the big questions seems to be what do these two women have in common even though they’re separated by centuries? The author gradually reveals Ayah’s saga and that of her descendants. It was heartening to see Alessandra make an attempt to reconcile with her father, as well as see the friendship and burgeoning romance develop between her and Zach. The author presents realistic characters that are all too flawed, but she intersperses this with bits of humor to lighten up the story. Zach’s grandmother, Grace Oweku aka Mrs. O, is an amazing elder, dispensing lots of wisdom. I enjoyed all of the characters, the dual timelines, and the action. I Am Ayah: The Way Home is much more than a romance. I found it to be an intriguing and entrancing read about family history and heritage, not just Ayah’s, but Alessandra’s and Zach’s as well. Of course, the romance added just the right amount of spice to the story. If you enjoy stories with a blend of historical and contemporary timelines, stories filled with family angst and drama, or stories with romantic elements, then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of I Am Ayah: The Way Home. I’ve ordered a print copy of this book for my 88-y.o. book diva mother to read. Something tells me she’s going to enjoy this one just as much as I did.
Happy Reading, y’all! ♦
Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy 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.”