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The Sleeping Night by Barbara Samuel

The Sleeping Night (edition 2012)

by Barbara Samuel

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5523214,390 (4.24)7
Title:The Sleeping Night
Authors:Barbara Samuel
Info:Bell Bridge Books (2012), Paperback, 268 pages
Collections:Your library (inactive)
Tags:ARC/ER; Racism; 1946, after the war in Gideon, Texas

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The Sleeping Night by Barbara Samuel



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Stunning writing, compelling plot that made me think (and laugh, and cry). I'm in awe of Barbara Samuel's skills as a story-teller. ( )
  LeahDee | Jan 24, 2016 |
Another powerful work by Barbara Samuel. The backdrop for her romantic story is jaw-dropping to say the least. I’m not sure that most romance novelists would feel comfortable setting such a tale in Jim Crow Deep South America right after WWII and make that romance interracial. It raises a lot of issues and emotions that may not be exactly conducive to a romance; yet, I’ve learned that this author isn’t afraid to explore some dark with her romantic light.

She explores all the horror that such a setting entails: lynchings, belittlement of the African-American population as well as single independent women, and an environment in which simply glancing in the wrong direction can cause death. The author isn’t afraid to show the starkness of such a situation and put her characters smack dab into it.

Yet, I think all that bleakness stands as a sharp contrast to how beautiful love can be in such circumstances. Angel’s and Isaiah’s love for each other starts in childhood and grows into a potent power for good in their lives. There’s a ton of obstacles to overcome to get to the good, no less that attempted rape, murder, and harassment in broad daylight on the town’s main road in public. But the journey there is powerful in all that adversity and the author really knows how to draw her readers into that same journey. Her romance is beautiful and top notch.

I also enjoyed the historical tidbits the author includes with her powerful story. The plight of WWII-ravaged Europe and the Holocaust are explored in the letters exchanged between Angel and Isaiah. The American WWII home front also finds some page time in widowhood and the ever-heartbreaking telegraphs telling a family of a loss.

I liked the look at post-WWII rural Texas, too. The author shows us how even though they sacrificed for our country, the returning African American soldiers were not respected or treated differently at all. Everything was ho-hum regularity back home, and I liked how the author showed that was so jarring for the returning soldiers. Going from respect to condescending attitudes must have been a real eye-opener. There are some powerful lessons in this novel along with the romantic beauty of it.

A powerful love story in such a bleak setting makes this a historical romance to treasure. It moves the emotions strongly and gives the reader a glimpse into a dark part of American history. It’s a historical romance that teaches as well as transports emotions away. This is another homerun from this author for me. I’ve definitely got to look into more of her works. Highly recommended for any historical romance reader who doesn’t mind some dark with their light. ( )
  Sarah_Gruwell | Jan 13, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Barbara Samuel is a talented writer and this story of an interracial couple in post-war Texas is griping, emotional and wonderfully done. Angel Corey grows up in her father's general store just beyond the edge of the white population of Gideon, Texas. Mr. Corey is an unusual man. This is the Jim Crow south, but he caters to the black population. He treats his black customers with respect even befriending one man who brings his son Isaiah with him. Isaiah and Angel become best friends as children. But as they grow older the deep prejudices of the south keep them apart. When WWII comes along Isaiah enlists in the army and ships out to Europe. He and Angel begin to write to each other and their relationship develops. After the war he returns to Gideon and learns that Angel's father died recently and she now runs the store.

Samuel does an amazing job of describing the conditions of the horrible racial problems of the time and it seems these star-crossed lovers cannot possible achieve their HEA but she pulls it off beautifully. It's a very romantic love story that develops slowly over the years. This is an amazingly emotional book and one I'll never forget. I loaned the book to a friend but I can hardly wait to get it back for a re-read. ( )
  reneebooks | Mar 4, 2015 |
A very engrossing story set in 1945 Texas. It was light on romance and heavy on racism and atrocities of WWII. I liked the letters starting chapters format which were oftentimes more interesting then the many details of daily living. An interracial couple struggles to suppress their love during a time when it was forbidden. ( )
  Dawn772 | Jan 29, 2015 |
Originally posted at Romance Around the Corner

I came across this book on NetGalley by mere chance. I was intrigued by the setting and the premise so I requested it. It wasn’t an easy book to read but the story was riveting and very romantic.

The Sleeping Night is set in Texas just after WWII but it goes back in time through the character’s memories and a series of letters that the hero and heroine exchanged during his time in the war.

Isaiah and Angel were best friends while growing up. Angel’s dad was a progressive man who didn’t mind setting up a store that sold goods to the black part of their small town. His quiet nature and his own experiences during WWI, made him open and close to the black men and women in town, Isaiah’s father in particular. So they grew up together and their connection ran deeper than that of a mere childhood friendship. But it’s an impossible relationship so he joins the military. It will take war, tragedy and love for them to reunite, explore what could be and maybe have a second chance.

I thought this book has a lovely romance and an honest, albeit painful, portrayal of the time period. It wasn’t easy to read, not only because of the violence and hatred endured by Isaiah and his family, but also because his memories of the war were terrible. The reason he comes back is because a woman in town writes to him asking if he can help her find her sister’s family. He finds the only survivor, a woman who barely survived the camps but whose entire family and friends, her fiancé included, were murdered. The whole time I kept thinking about all the people who actually lived through this.

The romance develops slowly. These are not your typical star-crossed lovers. Angel never puts a name to her feelings and she even marries one of their friends just after Isaiah goes to war, but her husband dies soon after. Isaiah, on the other hand, has always known how he felt about her. In fact, one of the many times the book made me cry was when he remembers being a kid and announcing that one day he was going to marry Angel, and how his parents were terrified by this and made him promise to never say such a thing again. They remained in touch through letters that kept them sane, but the last year he stopped writing and their relationship suffered from it. When the book starts, he’s only temporarily in town because after living in Europe he can’t go back to the way things are in the South. So starting a relationship with Angel is not in his plans.

Angel isn’t particularly interested in a relationship either, and she has bigger problems to deal with. Her father died and now she’s in charge of the store. But she’s a woman and it isn’t proper to have her own business, especially one that caters to blacks. One of the most powerful men in town is relentlessly pursuing her and won’t take no for an answer. Her house is falling down and money is short. But she also spends time with Isaiah and while they rekindle their friendship they realize that even though life and pain has changed them, they still love each other deeply.

Almost the whole book is about Isaiah and Angel coming to terms with their feelings, and just the last part is about how they actually manage to be together. It’s filled with brutality and sadness, but also hope. I honestly didn’t know if they were going to make it because things get ugly at the end (more like uglier). But this is a romance and the happy ending should be part of it, so I promise there’s one. The ending was the weakest part and the most fantastic. The type of luck they get can only be found in fiction. So I guess it’s a bittersweet ending because, once again, I think of all the people who lived through similar situations and didn’t get a happy ending.

My only complaint with the story is that it felt too preachy. God and Church play an important role in the lives of the main characters, and Isaiah, understandably, suffers a crisis of faith of which he recovers nicely. Angel is relentless in her love for God, and religion is an overall theme in the book -- at times subtle, at times in your face. It rubbed me the wrong way, but this is just my very personal take on it.

Overall it was a great story, it drags a bit in the middle and the ending was rushed and too perfect. But I really enjoyed it and I’m happy I read it. Absolutely recommended to everyone.

Source: we received an e-ARC of the book through NetGalley for review purposes. ( )
  Brie.Clementine | Mar 31, 2013 |
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There is only one person this book could possily be dedicated to, and that is Christopher Robin, aka Neal Barlow, who heard the story of a book I had stashed away, made me dig out the manuscript, paid to have it scanned (when such things were quite difficult), visited the British Imperial War museum and the beaches of Normandy with me, listened to a thousand conversations about al of it. Mainly, it is because he believed and wouldn't let me give up that this book is making its way out into the world. Thank you!
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On the morning that Angel Corey was arriving back in her home town of Gideon, Kim MCCoy buzzed around her bookstore like a mad woman.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 161194127X, Paperback)

An unforgettable romance in an unforgiving time.

They'll need love and courage to see the dawn.

He's a hometown native, returning from the war, determined to change the world he'd fought to protect. She's the girl who's been his secret friend since childhood, now a beautiful woman. Her war-time letters kept him alive. But he's black, and she's white.

In 1946 in Gideon, Texas, their undeniable love might get them both killed.

Barbara Samuel is a multiple award-winning author with more than 38 books to her credit in a variety of genres. Her work has captured a plethora of awards, including six RITAs; the Colorado Center for the Book Award (twice); Favorite Book of the Year from Romance Writers of America, and the Library Journal's list of Best Genre Fiction of the year, among many others.

Visit her at www.barbarasamuel.com.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:00 -0400)

"He's a hometown native, returning from the war, determined to change the world he'd fought to protect. She's the girl who's been his secret friend since childhood, now a beautiful woman. Her war-time letters kept him alive. But he's black, and she's white. In 1946 in Gideon, Texas, their undeniable love might get them both killed" --P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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