Review: In the Face of the Sun
Kensington Books
Brenda Larnell (A+)
REVIEW: Denny Bryce has once again penned an awesome historical fiction story that weaves together two stories from different time periods. The dual time-line technique allows us to witness the parallels between the two time periods. We also discover how the characters are connected across time. The dual timelines cover 1928 and 1968. So, why these two years?

The story begins in 1968, the same year that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Presidential candidate, Robert Kennedy were assassinated. The war in Vietnam was raging, and the violent Chicago Democratic Convention was viewed on our TV screens. The world was “a mess”, as Daisy, one of the female protagonists describes it. We meet a pregnant Frankie who is planning to leave her abusive husband, Jackson. The absolutely last person in the world she expects to help her is her Aunt Daisy, the family member that no one speaks to, but only speaks about, and not in a good way. I love her character. The audacious Miss Daisy drives a “candy-apple-red Ford Mustang fastback”. She is a pivotal character  as Ms. Bryce brilliantly reveals her intriguing life’s story.

That’s where the year 1928, comes into play. Daisy is a young woman residing in sunny California. For African Americans across the nation, times were hard, and racism was rampant. She lives with her over-bearing father, a sickly mother, and a younger sister, Henrietta. Daisy and Henrietta are employed at the newly built Hotel Somerville, the first luxury hotel built for African Americans in Los Angeles. The history of the hotel is fascinating as you will discover. The significance of the dual timeline that the author employs to tell this compelling story is riveting, and full of historical events that serve to enhance the storyline. There will be many questions that you will have as you are introduced to new characters, but let me assure you, those questions will all be answered at the end of the story. It’s a “Wow!” moment.

The historical figures who appear in the story will blow you away, from the Somervilles to Stepin Fetchit, aka Lincoln Perry. I can’t omit the music of the times and the iconic places that give the story a lot of authenticity. Ms. Bryce’s precise references and research are on point in the telling of this engrossing story. I can’t wait until you read this story and follow Frankie, Daisy and Henrietta, women of a multigenerational family. The Epilogue, dated 1990, is epic!

IN THE FACE OF THE SUN is a gripping story that I highly recommend. It’s a great women’s fiction story, and historical fiction that is both entertaining and educational. You will not be disappointed.

18th April 2022 |