cover image The Davenports

The Davenports

Krystal Marquis. Dial, $19.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-593-46333-8

This stunningly wrought historical fiction debut follows a group of Black teens navigating classism, familial expectations, gender norms, and racism in 1910 Chicago. William Davenport is the formerly enslaved head of one of the city’s few wealthy Black families. As such, his children—Olivia, John, and Helen—and their associates are constantly in the public eye. While Olivia is courted by a proper Black Englishman, she meets a civil rights activist who makes her question her privileged upbringing and encourages her to face ongoing postslavery horrors. Olivia’s best friend, Ruby, is in love with John, though his interest has always been fleeting. But when it becomes clear that marrying John would benefit her family, Ruby starts plotting a scheme to win his heart. Meanwhile, Helen would rather work on vehicles than conform to traditional gender roles, and the siblings’ childhood friend turned maid, Amy Rose, has ambitions to start her own business. Marquis perceptively explores the history and momentous impact of Black achievements and wealth during an underreported period in U.S. history. Employing expert characterization and complex dynamics, the author presents a cast of take-charge women, undeterred by their struggles and pursuing their passions regardless of expectations. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)