How far would you go to feed your family?
June 12th 2021
Piedmont, North Carolina and single-mum Lacey May is fiercely determined to protect her daughters and give them a life better than her own. She may refuse to see them – half-Latina – as anything other than white but she’s absolutely clear about looking after them, even if it means moving in with a man she detests so there’s food on the table. On the other hand, is Jade: Gee’s steely and ambitious mother who is determined to move on after loss. When the two families lives’ collide, a story of betrayal, love, race and money plays out. At the heart of the book lies this question: what would you do to keep your family together?
Style guide: a sweeping, epic saga with many vibrant characters, time frames and stories. A slow but rich read.
A city in the Piedmont of North Carolina
The street was dark when Ray pulled up behind the bakery. The birds sang wild in the trees, the only things astir so early in the morning, the sky a deep and cloudless blue. His little boy, Gee, was asleep in the backseat, neat in his school clothes and fogging up the window with his breath. Ray lifted him out quietly, the keys to the shop jangling in his free hand. They walked around to the front, and the boy was already drooling on him, on his pressed collared shirt, red-and-pink plaid.
“My good luck charm,” Ray whispered as he unlocked the gate, holding the boy close.
Superfine stood near the corner of Beard Street, about a mile north of the city square. A neon sign hung out front, the window boxes planted with yellow mums. This part of town used to be where people would fuel up before driving out of the city, or if they were passing through downtown. There was a garage at the end of the block and a gas station where you could pay only in cash. Otherwise, the neighborhood was empty lots, one-story houses, a ballfield the minor league used in the summer. Wildflowers and busted tires swelled out of the plots of land where the old factories were boarded up. But in the past year, a brewing company had opened in one of the old buildings. They gave tours and served beer in tiny glasses. A lunch window had opened to serve chopped barbecue and hot dogs for a few hours every day. And there was Superfine, which was open from dawn until dusk. They served biscuits and breakfast pastries, coffee, in the morning. At lunch, they sold sandwiches and fresh-baked bread. In the afternoon, they added cookies and lemon bars, slices of chocolate cake. Customers trickled in on their way to work downtown or stopped by to sober up after drunk tours at the brewery across the street. Superfine was cheaper than the coffee stand downtown, and it was the only place this close to get a fresh ham sandwich, a biscuit and peach jam, coffee that didn’t taste like hot water and tar mixed together.
It had been Ray’s idea to open the shop, although Linette was the one who bankrolled it with the money she got from her husband’s life insurance. They knew each other from a job at a coffeehouse an hour away where she had been the manager and he a barista. He’d worked three jobs then, but now Superfine was his everything.
What's Mine and Yours is a book about parents who try and fail and then try again. An extraordinary cast of characters, nuanced and full of insight. Read this book.' *ANGIE CRUZ, author of Dominicana*
Naima Coster is definitely a writer to watch. Her clear-eyed writing interrogates race, class, and family in a refreshing and thoroughly engaging way. * Jacqueline Woodson, author of Red at the Bone *
Naima Coster's What's Mine and Yours moves from moment to moment of startling grace. This expansive, generous novel tackles big themes - systemic racism, the reverberations of gun violence, class inequity - but it always feels thrillingly personal. Multiple times, it moved me to tears. An exquisite and vital portrait of family, place, and the bonds that transform our lives, What's Mine and Yours is more than a beautiful read - it's an essential one, destined to be talked about for years to come as a book that saw the world and spoke the truth with tenderness, wisdom, and love. * Julie Buntin, author of Marlena *
Naima Coster weaves a beautiful tapestry of voices together in What's Mine and Yours. This is a sprawling, moving narrative about the messiness of love and family, mothering, race, and community. Here we follow two families connected by place and circumstance as they try to free themselves of those bonds. The result? Rich, complex individual stories that merge to form a satisfying, startling end. * Crystal Hana Kim, Author of If You Leave Me *
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Vicki & The LoveMyRead Team x