Book of the Little Axe
A BOOKLIST EDITOR’S CHOICE BOOK OF THE YEAR
Ambitious and masterfully-wrought, Lauren Francis-Sharma’s Book of the Little Axe is an incredible journey, spanning decades and oceans from Trinidad to the American West during the tumultuous days of warring colonial powers and westward expansion.
In 1796 Trinidad, young Rosa Rendon 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.
Praise for Book of the Little Axe "They say the past is a foreign country but forget to mention that it's also wild. Book of the Little Axe reminds us. Ranging from Trinidad to the mountainous West, Lauren Francis-Sharma has woven an emotional, immediate, ambitious story of love and belonging. Rather than retell a story of first contact between native people and newcomers to the new world, Francis-Sharma has produced a deeply moving novel about the ways in which all of us have always been connected."--David Treuer, author of The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee "From her gripping first sentence, Lauren Francis-Sharma draws her reader into her intoxicating tale of intrigue, love, conflict, and power struggle at a pivotal time in the histories of Trinidad and the western United States. Her research is meticulous, her prose seductive, her characters mesmerizing. Book of the Little Axe shines a bright light on the little-known connections between the Caribbean and the United States. Readers will find it almost impossible to put this book down."--Elizabeth Nunez, author of Prospero's Daughter and Even in Paradise "A shimmering epic that forges new paths into the old territory of the American West. Brilliant and unforgettable. Book of the Little Axe is an astonishing journey."--Debra Magpie Earling, author of Perma Red "Book of the Little Axe is an epic novel that recreates the hybrid history of Native and African peoples during the era of American exploration and expansion. Lauren Francis-Sharma's care for her characters and skill with her subject shine through every page."--Laila Lalami, author of The Other Americans "Lauren Francis-Sharma has written one of those thrilling novels - so valuable and welcome - that adds (or better say restores) another strand to our national narrative. We're all the richer for Book of the Little Axe."--Peter Ho Davies, author of The Fortunes "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."--Laura van den Berg, award winning author of The Third Hotel "[A] persuasively researched account so richly evocative of a relatively obscure corner of history as to make it seem almost phantasmagorical."--Kirkus Reviews "Francis-Sharma's prose shines in this epic and propulsive historical novel that is set in Trinidad and the American West, and follows the life of Rosa Rendon, who is talented, bright, and fierce."--Millions "[A] satisfying and perceptive transnational family saga . . . In this masterly epic, the pleasure lies in piecing everything together."--Publishers Weekly "Francis-Sharma . . . offers fascinating characters across the broad sweep of the American continent at a time of great tumult, warring colonial powers, the spread of slavery, and expansion West. This is a compelling saga of family bonds, ambitions, and desires, all subject to the vagaries of powerful historical forces."--Booklist (starred review) "[A] satisfying and perceptive transnational family saga . . . In this masterly epic, the pleasure lies in piecing everything together."--Publishers Weekly "Francis-Sharma . . . offers fascinating characters across the broad sweep of the American continent at a time of great tumult, warring colonial powers, the spread of slavery, and expansion West. This is a compelling saga of family bonds, ambitions, and desires, all subject to the vagaries of powerful historical forces."--Booklist (starred review) Praise for 'Til the Well Runs Dry The New York Times Sunday Book Review Shortlist Black Caucus of the American Library Association 2015 Honor Book in Fiction "As universally touching as it is original."--New York Times "Lauren Francis-Sharma turns the family drama on its ear with this lush, elegant epic." --ESSENCE Magazine "A saga ripe with heartbreak and joy . . . Francis-Sharma delivers a rich and satisfying debut on the ties of family, love, and culture." Kirkus Reviews
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