Review: Chasing Down A Dream
CHASING DOWN A DREAM - Beverly Jenkins
Harper Collins
BUY
July 2017
Mainstream Fiction
REVIEWER:  Brenda Larnell | RATING: A
REVIEW: CHASING DOWN A DREAM is the eighth book of the Blessings novels. Since the first novel, BRING ON THE BLESSINGS, followers of this series have watched the historical Kansas town of Henry Adams rise from the depths of foreclosure to a vital, growing town offering second chances under the leadership of visionary Bernadine Brown, the “hand that turns the world”.

In this well-penned story, we find a more somber tone hovering over the town and its residents. Tamar, the town’s matriarch, is having vivid death-like dreams that wake her out of a sound sleep. Two orphaned children, Lucas and Jasmine Herman, are caught up in a downward spiral of the foster care system, and dream of a better life with a family who cares. Their only hope lies with one of the town’s residents, Gemma Dahl, who is raising her twelve-year-old grandson after the death of her daughter, who was killed in Afghanistan while serving in the armed forces. Then there is Rochelle ‘Rocky’ Dancer, co-owner of the Dog and Cow, the town’s diner, who is planning her wedding, but she’s also at odds with her partner, Malachi,’Mal’ July who is not on board with Rocky’s plans for expansion, or Bernadine’s plans to bring in a new restaurant. The town and its residents are experiencing growing pains and even with the introduction of new characters, there are even sober undertones that accompany them.

The weird, quirky characters from previous stories who provide chuckles and laughs with their antics are absent in this story. Characters like Wanda Borden, Alma House, and Aretha Krebs whom we meet in this story, are all shady and would never make anyone’s most admired list. Most of the mainstay characters, residents of Henry Adams, seem to be in transition, just as the future of the town. That Mal July…what can I say about him?  No spoilers, but he is on my “Boo- Hiss” list for sure.

The historical gems that noted author, Beverly Jenkins, weaves into her stories are present in
CHASING DOWN A DREAM. The storyline is punctuated with historical references from the explanation of the town’s August 1 celebration, the plight of African Americans and Black Seminoles in the early years of this country, to the young people’s moving rendition of Francis Ellen Watkins Harper’s poem, “Bury Me in a Free Land”.

CHASING DOWN A DREAM is centered around dreams and family, although some of the dreams turn into nightmares. I’ll leave that right there. I enjoyed this story, and I look forward to the next Blessings novel. After all, there are some open-ended situations that need resolutions. You’ll see when you read the book. I highly recommend it!

10th July 2017 | romcol@caribsurf.com