cover image Ida, in Love and in Trouble

Ida, in Love and in Trouble

Veronica Chambers. Little, Brown, $18.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-50016-6

Chambers (Finish the Fight) crafts a fictionalized account of the professional and romantic life of civil rights figure Ida B. Wells in this expansive historical novel. As the daughter of formerly enslaved people who died when she was a child, teenage Ida is determined to overcome the adversities she faces as a Black woman in America to make something of herself and her family name (“If fear was insistent on shackling itself to her side, then it better be prepared to go all the places Ida intended to go”). Starting with Ida’s career as a teacher in Memphis, where she also wrote articles about race relations for Black-owned newspapers, Chambers chronicles Ida’s interpersonal developments, such as the years in which she kept up correspondence with several suitors. Selections from protagonist Ida’s columns, letters to and from romantic prospects, and entries from her diary are interspersed throughout the narrative, which reads more like a biography than a youthful imagining of the subject’s life. Still, the creator’s thorough research will allow readers to uncover new insight into the figure’s experience navigating societal standards for women—especially Black women—in the late 19th century. Ages 14–up. Agent: Kim Witherspoon, InkWell Management. (Sept.)