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An American marriage
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Celestial (Female), Artist, Newlywed, Tries to clear Roy's name; loses her love for Roy;
Roy (Male), Executive, Newlywed, Arrested for a crime he didn't commit; released from prison after five years;
Andre (Male), Childhood friend of Celestial; comforts Celestial after Roy's imprisionment
False imprisonment
False accusations
Life changes
Atlanta, Georgia - South (U.S.)
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
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Trade Reviews

  Library Journal Review

Shoved onto the asphalt by police, lying "parallel like burial plots" next to her husband Roy in a motel parking lot, Celestial recalls her wedding proclamation: "What God has brought together, let no man tear asunder." But an American marriage--especially if a black man is involved-can easily be ruptured by institutionalized racism. Ambitious and charming, Roy did every-thing right, getting out of small-town Louisiana, earning a Morehouse College degree, marrying privileged city girl Celestial, and settling into Atlanta society. His upward mobility is violently halted during a visit home when he's unjustly convicted of rape. Cleaved from each other, Roy survives prison with the protection of his cell mate (whose identity is a shocking coincidence), while Celestial relies on her supportive parents and childhood best friend Andre. Eisa Davis is ideally cast as Celestial, moving easily between proud and bowed, determined and desperate. Sean Crisden unfortunately disappoints, voicing both Roy and Andre with limited distinction, too often making the characters sound interchangeable. Ironically, his characterization of minor characters-Roy's father, for example-prove considerably more convincing. VERDICT Oprah's endorsement moves Jones's (Silver Sparrow) fourth novel into the rarified stratosphere; libraries should prepare for considerable demand. ["Jones's writing is engagingly layered with letters between the main characters integrated through the narrative": LJ 9/15/17 starred review of the Algonquin hc.]-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, -Washington, DC © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Publishers Weekly Review

Jones (Silver Sparrow) lays bare the devastating effects of wrongful imprisonment in this piercing tale of an unspooling marriage. Roy, an ambitious corporate executive, and Celestial, a talented artist and the daughter of a self-made millionaire, struggle to maintain their fledgling union when Roy is sentenced to 12 years in prison on a rape charge he is adamant is false. Before Roy's arrest, the narrative toggles between his and Celestial's perspectives; it takes an epistolary form during his imprisonment that affectingly depicts their heartbreaking descent into anger, confusion, and loneliness. When Roy is proven innocent and released seven years early, another narrator is introduced: Andre, Celestial's lifelong best friend who has become very close to her while Roy has been away. Jones maintains a brisk pace that injects real suspense into the principal characters' choices around fidelity, which are all fraught with guilt and suspicion, admirably refraining from tipping her hand toward one character's perspective. The dialogue-especially the letters between Roy and Celestial-are sometimes too heavily weighted by exposition, and the language slides toward melodrama. But the central conflict is masterfully executed: Jones uses her love triangle to explore simmering class tensions and reverberating racial injustice in the contemporary South, while also delivering a satisfying romantic drama. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Feb.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A New York Times BestsellerA New York Times and Washington Post Notable BookA Best of the Year Selection of NPR, Time, and O, The Oprah MagazineAn Oprah's Book Club SelectionLonglisted for the National Book Award for FictionNewlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into their life together, Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn't commit. Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their weeding. As Roy's time in prison passes, she is unable to hold onto the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy's conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
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