by Bernice McFadden

Part of the The Sugar Lacey series Series

Modern and Contemporary Fiction Historical fiction Books of the Month Star Books Literary Fiction

LoveReading Expert Review of Sugar

An incredibly moving page-turning debut by a masterful storyteller about two broken very different women bonded by pain.

An absolute beaut of a debut which we get to enjoy thanks to Vintage, 21 years after its debut in the US.

The book opens in Spring 1940 with a dead child, raped, killed and abandoned by the roadside in the small town of Bigelow, Arkansas. An event from which the family and the town would never recover. Pearl’s heart broke that day when she lost her Jude, and so did mine.

We fast forward to Spring 1955 as we are introduced to Sugar who arrives in the small southern town like a storm with her red lips, in her red high heels and blond wig. She was labelled right then and there. Abandoned at birth by her mother, and raised in a brothel, Sugar has been to hell and back and comes Bigelow to settle.

In spite of their differences, Sugar bonds with her god-fearing, pious next door neighbour Pearl over sweet potato pie and pain. It’s a beautifully crafted journey of love, of loss, of understanding, of friendship, of rehabilitation. It’s a reawakening, an unforgettable one of two incredible characters who you come to care for deeply and I for one cannot wait for the sequel This Bitter Earth, published in summer 2022.


Sugar Synopsis

Young and confident, with a swagger in her step, Sugar arrives in the southern town of Bigelow hoping to start over. Soon Bigelow is alight with gossip and suspicion, and Sugar fears her past is catching up with her. Then she meets Pearl, a woman trying to forget her own traumas. As these next-door neighbours become unlikely friends, they wonder if their lives could finally be changing for the better. But small towns have long memories...

Perfect for fans of The Vanishing Half and Where the Crawdads Sing, Sugar is a classic waiting to be rediscovered. 

About This Edition

ISBN: 9781784877316
Publication date: 16th September 2021
Author: Bernice McFadden
Publisher: Vintage Classics an imprint of Vintage Publishing
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 304 pages
Primary Genre Historical fiction
Other Genres:
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What To Read After Sugar

A Town Called Solace
The System Of The World
The Foundling
Sisters of Treason

Bernice McFadden Press Reviews

Sugar follows expertly crafted characters as they wade through grief, sexism, and the bitter judgement of the 1950s Deep South with warmth and heart. Sugar is a page-turning novel guaranteed to be looked back on as a timeless classic - Independent

Riveting...searing -- Toni Morrison (on Bernice McFadden)

This book is so engaging and beautiful and intriguing and satisfying that I could not put it down -- Tarana Burke

McFadden works a kind of miracle - not only do her characters retain their appealing humanity; their story eclipses the bonds of history to offer continuous surprises . . . Beautiful and evocative -- Jesymn Ward

Sugar was a masterful debut, an electrifying and profoundly realized addition to African American women's literary fiction. And importantly, Sugar introduced us to the brilliant author, Bernice L. McFadden, who would bring forth The Book of Harlan, Gathering of Waters, Glorious, and Nowhere is a Place. -- Sapphire -

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9781784877316
Publication date: 16/09/2021
Format: Paperback

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