The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

Hi there, this last post for the month is a mystery read that had me captivated at every page. It was also one of the few books I had managed to take out from my library before New Zealand went into lockdown in March so I ended up reading it at least three times!! See what you think…

cover is image of street with shop fronts and blue sky above with clouds. Title letters in different colours and styles. 'The' in smaller size above K in Parker in blue. Parker in red letters. Inheritance in black/blue letters. boy and girl on bicycles on sidewalk. cars on road behind them. buildings on right side of image is in colour but from middle to left buildings and cars in black and white with distinct 1950's feel to it. Varian Johnson in white letters on bottom edge over green grass.
A fascinating read

Title: The Parker Inheritance

Author: Varian Johnson

Genre: Fiction – contemporary

Publication details: Arthur A. Levine Books; NY, 2018

ISBN: 9780545946179  (Hardcover)

What this book is about: When Candice Miller finds a letter in a box in her grandmother’s attic, she isn’t sure she should read it. It’s addressed to her grandmother, after all, who abandoned Lambert in a cloud of shame. But the letter describes a young African American woman named Siobhan Washington and an injustice that happened decades ago. The writer of the letter has left a mysterious puzzle within and clues leading to an unknown future. So with the help of Brandon Jones, the quiet boy across the street, Candice begins to decipher the clues in the letter. The challenge leads them deep into Lambert’s history – full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love – and deeper into their own families, with their own secrets. 

My review: An amazing read!! A celebration of African American history along with a good-old fashioned puzzle-solving adventure!! I really enjoyed getting to know young Candice and Brandon, and felt as if I was riding alongside them as they solved the clues strewn across the small town of Lambert. The descriptions of the town life in both modern day and in the 50’s were exceptionally crafted. This book reads like two stories as we’re thrust into the segregated landscape of South Carolina in the late 50’s in the slightly darker hued pages. The difference of voice there gives us a more mature storyline with some themes of racism tinged with romance and friendship. Our modern day duo also battle racist remarks but in this instance their parents are of a significant status in society where they have more freedom to act on it. There are themes of homosexuality, tolerance and acceptance highlighted in the brighter hued pages of our modern story. I’m really glad I survived through our lockdown with this read!! 

My rating: 5 ⭐

Additional notes: This title has been nominated for the Coretta Scott King Book Award for Author and the Odyssey Award in 2019, and was also nominated for the Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction & Poetry in 2018.

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