A Sitting in St. James Summary and Reviews

A Sitting in St. James

by Rita Williams-Garcia

A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia X
A Sitting in St. James by Rita Williams-Garcia
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Book Summary

A tour-de-force from three-time National Book Award finalist Rita Williams-Garcia, this story of an antebellum plantation - and the enduring legacies of slavery upon every person who lives there - is essential reading for both teens and adults grappling with the long history of American racism.

1860, Louisiana. After serving as mistress of Le Petit Cottage for more than six decades, Madame Sylvie Guilbert has decided, in spite of her family's objections, to sit for a portrait.

While Madame plots her last hurrah, stories that span generations—from the big house to out in the fields—of routine horrors, secrets buried as deep as the family fortune, and the tangled bonds of descendants and enslaved.

This astonishing novel from award-winning author Rita Williams-Garcia about the interwoven lives of those bound to a plantation in antebellum America is an epic masterwork—empathetic, brutal, and entirely human.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Williams-Garcia's meticulous research processes shout volumes about the importance of taking contemporary inspiration into the archives to unearth sorely needed truths as we continue to navigate questions of equity and justice for the descendants of enslaved people. A marathon masterpiece that shares a holistic portrait of U.S. history that must not be dismissed or forgotten." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Equal parts history and tantalizing, chaotic drama, Williams-Garcia's stunning novel delivers a fresh and nuanced approach to the tale of American slavery... Best-selling, award-winning Williams-Garcia's return to YA, particularly with a book as monumental as this, is definite cause for celebration." - Booklist (starred review)

"This novel is a necessary purchase for conversations about slavery's legacy in the Black Lives Matter era." - School Library Journal (starred review)

"In this sweeping, richly researched, and powerfully delivered tale of privilege and exploitation—often a difficult read—Williams-Garcia's storytelling is magnificent; her voice honest and authentic." - Horn Book (starred review)

"This provoking history unsparingly centers the brutalization of its Black characters, including manifold instances of beatings, sexual assault, and slurs. If the telling dramatizes harmful philosophies and queer pain, it also offers an unvarnished look at a slowly toppling power structure obsessed with artifice and tradition, hinting through a notably long-view lens that new generations may, slowly and not without suffering, move away from antiquated ideology." - Publishers Weekly

"Williams-Garcia is chessmaster of a deviously intricate game; Madame Sylvie may make the boldest moves, but it's her hobbled pawn, the near-silent servant Thisbe, who listens, observes, learns, and amasses the knowledge to strike the queen with a coup de grâce." - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

This information about A Sitting in St. James shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Rita Williams-Garcia

Rita Williams-Garcia's Newbery Honor Book, One Crazy Summer, was a winner of the Coretta Scott King Author Award, a National Book Award finalist, the recipient of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction, and a New York Times bestseller. The two sequels, P.S. Be Eleven and Gone Crazy in Alabama, were both Coretta Scott King Author Award winners and ALA Notable Children's Books. Her novel Clayton Byrd Goes Underground was a National Book Award finalist and winner of the NAACP Image Award for Youth/Teen Literature. Rita is also the author of five other distinguished novels for young adults: Jumped, a National Book Award finalist; No Laughter Here, Every Time a Rainbow Dies (a Publishers Weekly Best Children's Book), Fast Talk on a Slow Track (all ALA Best Books for Young Adults); and Blue Tights. Rita Williams-Garcia lives in Jamaica, New York, with her husband and has two adult daughters.

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