Lauren Francis-Sharma’s Book of the Little Axe (Grove Atlantic/Atlantic Monthly Press) was published in May 2020. It is described as “an incredible journey, spanning decades and oceans from Trinidad to the American West during the tumultuous days of warring colonial powers and westward expansion.”
Laura van den Berg (The Third Hotel) writes: “Book of the Little Axe is epic in ambition and scope, a sweeping tale that illuminates pivotal historical periods in Trinidad and North America, and the links between them. This is also the story of a young man’s coming of age and a mother’s secrets and a family’s love in the face of violence. Lauren Francis-Sharma brings her characters and their tangled histories to life with tremendous precision and sensitivity. This is the work of a major voice, a brilliant talent.”
Description: In 1796 Trinidad, young Rosa Rendón quietly but purposefully rebels against the life others expect her to lead. Bright, competitive, and opinionated, Rosa sees no reason she should learn to cook and keep house, for it is obvious her talents lie in running the farm she, alone, views as her birthright. But when her homeland changes from Spanish to British rule, it becomes increasingly unclear whether its free black property owners—Rosa’s family among them—will be allowed to keep their assets, their land, and ultimately, their freedom.
By 1830, Rosa is living among the Crow Nation in Bighorn, Montana with her children and her husband, Edward Rose, a Crow chief. Her son Victor is of the age where he must seek his vision and become a man. But his path forward is blocked by secrets Rosa has kept from him. So Rosa must take him to where his story began and, in turn, retrace her own roots, acknowledging along the way, the painful events that forced her from the middle of an ocean to the rugged terrain of a far-away land.
Lauren Francis-Sharma is also the author of the critically acclaimed novel ’Til the Well Runs Dry. She is the assistant director of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.
Book of the Little Axe
Grove Atlantic/Atlantic Monthly Press, May 2020
For more information, see https://groveatlantic.com/book/book-of-the-little-axe
Book reviews (many thanks to Peter Jordens for these links):
Vanessa Bush, American Libraries Magazine
René Ostberg, U.S. Catholic
https://uscatholic.org/articles/202008/expand-your-literary-imagination-with-these-voices-from-the-margins (see under FICTION)
Gordon Arnold, Winnipeg Free Press