Cecelia's Chapter 1 Book Club hits another high note this month with a selection that's just right for captivating discussion!
Author Deborah Johnson, a Nebraska transplant in Columbus, MS, takes readers on a great journey into a special place. The Secret of Magic is a fictional story about seeking racial justice.
It's the 1940s and black, law student, Regina Mary Robichard, of Harlem, works for the Legal Defense Fund under NAACP lawyer Thurgood Marshall.
As she's going through discrimination claims from black servicemen, Regina comes across an envelope full of newspaper clippings about what resembles the racially motivated death of decorated Lt. Joe Wilson Howard, a black soldier whose body was dragged from a Mississippi river.
A photo of Howard with his father painfully hits Regina at the very core. She grew up fatherless as her her father was lynched before she was even born. Another reason this case strikes a chord with Regina is that Mary Pickett Calhoun, who had sent the newspaper clippings of Howard's death, is the author of Regina's favorite childhood book. Calhoun's book The Secret of Magic is about black and white children who explore a magical forest.
So, Regina goes to Revere, MS - also the setting of Johnson's debut novel, The Air Between Us - where she meets Mary Pickett and Willie Willie, the dead soldier's father. They soon discover who the killer is, but they have to prove it.
Regina discovers that in segregated Mississippi, blacks and whites actually coexist better than in New York City. She also senses a connection to the Revere murder in Calhoun's book and that some of the book's characters may just be real.
A great book. A great discussion you don't want to miss! The Chapter 1 Book Club meets Thurs. June 11 at 6 p.m. You don't need a reservation and you don't have to be a member. Just stop on in and chat a while! As always Cecelia will have light refreshments and door prizes for you.
We'll see you there!