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The Sleeping Night (Center Point Large Print Edition) Library Binding – Large Print, Jan 2013


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Product details

  • Library Binding: 415 pages
  • Publisher: Center Point; Lrg edition (Jan 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611736056
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611736052
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 14.7 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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By Clare O'Beara TOP 500 REVIEWER on 2 Nov 2012
Format: Paperback
Night falls in East Texas and a young man home from World War Two smells warm rotting foliage, having learned the scents of heather, lavender and death. This marvellously evocative book skips through time periods to shed light on the issues faced by denizens of America's South in a changing world.

SLEEPING NIGHT tells of Parker Corey and his daughter Angel who run a small country store. Parker and the father of Angel's friend Isaiah High both served in France during WWI and this has cemented their friendship, no matter that the Coreys are white and the Highs coloured. Parker came home deciding to treat everyone as equal and this attitude has not made him or his little girl popular among the townsfolk. Angel and Isaiah both love reading and play in a tree house.

When Isaiah joins up, he and Angel correspond, but he sees a new side of life in Britain and decides that he can no longer live in Texas. He only returns there to bring a Polish Jewish girl back to her family. Angel is now orphaned and a war widow, and cascades of water pour through her patched roof when it rains, so Isaiah recklessly offers to fix it for her. Angel can't afford to pay and does not want to accept the aid of a predatory local bachelor, so she agrees. The townsfolk however disapprove of Angel's living alone and running a store by herself. All would be well if she remarried, but her independence sees her dumped as Sunday school teacher and coldly isolated. Only the coloured women who shop with her, and the local Jewish people, are treating her well. Loneliness drives her to spend time with handsome Isaiah and the pair face breaking the greatest taboo of all - heedless of danger.

This novel squarely presents discrimination of many kinds.
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Format: Kindle Edition
A beautiful, passionate, thought-provoking story about forbidden love; this book will be going on my `favourite romances' shelf.

From the outset, I was drawn into the story by the compelling characters - courageous Angel, a lone white woman fighting to keep her independence after her father's death, and Isaisah, her childhood friend who has seen too much in Europe during the war and can no longer tolerate the racism of the South. I found myself increasingly anxious as I read, seeing their love unfold in such a hostile environment - hoping so much they could find their way to each other but, knowing the reality of the setting and the historical era in which the book is set, fearing the only possible outcome could be tragedy.

Barbara is such a talented writer, conjuring up vivid mental pictures through her imagery that transported me to 1940s Texas and plunged me into the scenes. Here's an example: `Isaiah sank down next to her. Bony knees stuck out from below his cut-off pants. His ankles were streaked, his shoes muddy, and he smelled like sunshine and dust and river water.' I love that so much of the book has an authentic Southern feel in terms of tone and phrasing; and I really enjoyed the interweaving of letters sent during the war, which blend in a feel for war-time England and the two protagonists' differing experiences of war.

In her dedication at the start of the book, Barbara mentions that this novel was `stashed away', and it only saw the light of day thanks to an encouraging friend. Well, I am so very glad that Barbara did believe in the book enough to publish the book, because it was a true pleasure reading it, and I know that the touching story of Angel and Isaisah will remain in my imagination for years to come.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 67 reviews
55 of 55 people found the following review helpful
Beautiful Telling of Forbidden Romance 23 Jun 2012
By Kristin Anders - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
How are the sex scenes?
Meaningful. A few leading up to scenes and some implied,
but nothing that would embarrass you at the next book club meeting.

How are the story lines?
Romantic and beautiful with heart wrenching realism about southern life during the 1940s.

This story is a beautiful telling of forbidden romance.

Angel is a stubborn, resilient character, quickly gaining the reader's respect (and in my case, awe) with her strong will and work ethic. This woman is not your damsel in distress and only relies on herself and God to change her circumstance.

Isiah is a courageous and intelligent man, accepting the things he cannot win and finding ways to help Angel despite the limitations put to him by the color of his skin. Well read, world traveled and utterly devoted, he is a practical hero, one every girl might be lucky enough to bring home to momma. Even with Angel's superwoman toughness, Isiah's bravery refuses to be overshadowed. He uses it, proving his love to Angel over and over again.

The supporting characters have great personalities and back stories of their own. When their names are mentioned, you immediately recall their life, purpose and relevance to the story.

This novel is further enhanced by Angel and Isiah's letters exchanged during the war and its accurate 1940s setting, giving a realistic view of what life was like for African Americans and people who befriended them.

"The Sleeping Night" is a refined, romantic tale. I imagine if Jane Austen wrote novels today, her stories would read a lot like Barbara Samuel's.
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
Poignant story of forbidden love 16 Jun 2012
By Julie Kibler - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Barbara Samuel's latest, The Sleeping Night, is a lovely sideline project, complementing her more recent foodie-themed novels written as Barbara O'Neal. It contains the right measure of Samuel's trademark references to baking, sensual detail, and bittersweet romance.

The Sleeping Night explores the story of a young white woman who sees beyond skin color to fall for her childhood playmate, and a young African-American man who returns from the battlefields of World War II, where decreased racism and letters from his childhood friend sustained him, to the unchanged battlefield of his hometown. You will laugh and cry and root for Angel and Isaiah as they face prejudice and violence in post World War II Texas. I love anything by Samuel (whether written as Samuel or O'Neal), and this was no exception.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
Barbara Samuel at her best 17 Jun 2012
By Judith Arnold - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The splendor of Barbara Samuel's writing--her lush, sensuous prose, her attention to the earthy details of life, her strong-willed, complex characters and their struggles to connect with one another--are all on radiant display in The Sleeping Night. This book adds another element to the mix: the overt racism of small-town Texas in the years before, during and after World War II. Despite that racism, Angel and Isaiah form a childhood friendship that ripens into love as Isaiah joins the allied forces in England and Angel tries, with less than stellar success, to become a proper white lady who fits into the stultifying and bigoted society in which she finds herself. Can Angel and Isaiah overcome the limitations of that society? More important, can they overcome their own deeply embedded fears? Can they allow their love to blossom, knowing that in that place, in that era, their love could cost them their property, their safety, even their lives? This book will make you weep, and it will make you cheer. It will make you believe in the fierce power of love.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Moving and heartfelt 12 July 2012
By K. Branfield - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Set in the racially charged and deeply segregated South in the mid 1940s, Barbara Samuel's The Sleeping Night is a beautifully written story of forbidden love. Close childhood friends, Angel Corey and Isaiah High feelings for one another turn to love as they enter their teen years. In an attempt to protect the children he so dearly loves, Angel's father Parker convinces Isaiah to enlist in the army as America enters World War II. With Isaiah's return to Texas following the end of the war, he and Angel cannot escape the powerful emotions or the strong desire that draws them together.

Angel Corey is a strong and courageous young woman who has a stubborn streak a mile wide. She is independent and fights for what she believes in despite the overwhelming odds against her. She has a deep and abiding faith in God that is unshakeable. Angel is incredibly wise and despite the troubles facing her, she is unfailingly hopeful that one person can make a difference.

Having seen the possibilities that exist for a black man outside of the South, Isaiah High never intended to return to Texas. But being the kind-hearted and compassionate man he is, he cannot resist helping a friend in need. With his faith tested by the things he saw during the war, Isaiah is struggling not only with his feelings for Angel, but his very belief in God's existence.

Although beginning and ending in 2005, the majority of The Sleeping Night is set in the 1940s. Current events are interspersed with the letters exchanged during the war between Isaiah and Angel. Through their letters, we gain invaluable insight into both characters. We see the atrocities of World War II that Isaiah experienced as well as the harsh reality of his homecoming. And through Angel, we see the toll the war takes on those left behind.

The Sleeping Night is a heartbreakingly stark but realistic portrayal of the racial inequalities and injustices that existed far too long in Southern culture. Although the story is sometimes slow moving, Barbara Samuel keeps the tension high with the reader wondering how this poignant romance will ultimately end. A moving and heartfelt story that everyone should read.

Review copy obtained from publisher through NetGalley.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A poignant romance from a lyrical author 20 July 2012
By B. Pattillo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Sleeping Night, like its heroine Angel Corey, is at once fragile and strong, beautiful and plain. With her trademark lyrical style, Samuels peels back the layers of a forbidden relationship to show how the presence of the holy transcends even the worst of human behavior. The relationship between Angel and Isaiah embodies both the tragedy and the hope of all those who struggled to be fully human in the Jim Crow south. I enjoyed this book for both the finely done romance and the poignant depiction of a difficult age.
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