This is a debut novel for Rebecca Entel, and she provided me with this Advanced Reader Copy so that I might enjoy her work ahead of its release and provide an honest review.
The setting of this book is one that I think many people that travel know well. I can’t count how many times I’ve been to Animal Kingdom at Disney World, only to bemoan the fact that almost exclusively Africans and African Americans work there. I mean, it makes sense, but at the same time something never feels quite right about it.
On this Caribbean island there is a resort where locals are employed and asked to act out what their ancestors must have acted like when settlers came. That alone is insult enough, but when the main character decides to venture inland through the overgrown brush out of curiosity, she discovers the plantation history that everyone only whispers about.
This was an historical and interesting read. It’s not the kind of book I would usually pick up, but I’m glad I had the chance to experience it. Entel presents a journey that natives have to take all too often, that of the discovery of their ancestors’ terrible past at the hands of captors and masters.
Entel’s writing is crafted in a style that was admittedly unsettling. The lack of pronouns was, for me, like riding in a car where the driver was continuously slamming on the breaks. Again, I attribute this to the fact that I have never really read anything in this same style, and not necessarily to any fault of Entel’s creation. I think that the story itself is compelling enough to get past that one issue.
I also truly believe in supporting new writers, new voices, and debut novels that are not in the mainstream. This is a difficult business to break into and I salute Rebecca on her accomplishment. Go try out Fingerprints of Previous Owners and let me know what you think in the comments.