Like most boys, he’d grown up believing girls were emotional and fragile little things. Since moving to Kansas it was obvious the women he’d interacted with didn’t know that.
Stepping to a New Day is the seventh book in Beverly Jenkins’s Blessings series, set in the fictional (and delightful) Henry Adams, Kansas.
I have to confess that I haven’t read the other books in the series, which meant it took me a little while to get into the rhythm of the story and the rules. However, once I figured out that it’s basically a soap opera with rotating frontburner and backburner characters, I was ALL IN.
This book focuses on the following characters:
- Riley Curry, former mayor of Henry Adams who loves his pig more than anything and has decided that the only way to get his life right is to go back to Henry Adams
- TC Barbour, a man who has just moved to Henry Adams to help out his nephew Gary with his two teenage daughters
- Paula Grant, the town reverend who is dealing with a death in her family
- Eli James, a high school senior who is trying to figure out his future
- Genevieve Gibbs, one of Riley Curry’s ex-wives who has decided to start living her life to the fullest and stop playing by other people’s rules
- Marie Jefferson, Genevieve’s roommate who is dealing with the aftermath of her choices in the last book
TC and Gen hit it off and start dating, and it is the cutest and sweetest thing ever, I swear.
There are also a host of other characters, all who move in and out of the focal characters’ lives and stories. So even though I was unaware of the previous six books’ storylines, I got enough information about the town and other characters to understand who was related to whom and what had happened in the town (and previous books) leading up to this particular story. I also appreciated that Jenkins assumed the audience was smart enough to get what was going on without a lot of info dumping.
So, yes, this is very slice of life, which I loved, and I enjoyed the intersection of all the storylines and that I was so, so immersed in the world.
My only complaint about the story is that while Rev. Paula starts out very integrated with the rest of the community, her story seemed very separate from the rest of the action in the novel. That might make more sense to someone who has followed the entire series, but it all felt out of place for me as a newcomer to the series.
This is also a pet peeve of mine, but amends and apologies are not the same thing and the two seem to get conflated here, especially for one character in particular. And…yeah, not the same.
Other than that very minor quibble and not quite understanding how Paula’s story fit into the larger narrative, I quite enjoyed this! In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I’m planning to read the other books in the series, which, really, is the highest praise I can think of.
In conclusion: If you’re into slice of life stories and/or love soap operas and serial storytelling, check this book and series out. Great characters that exist in a fully realized setting.
About Beverly Jenkins
Beverly Jenkins has received numerous awards, including five Waldenbooks/Borders Group Best Sellers Awards, two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times Magazine, and a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer’s Guild. Ms. Jenkins was named one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th century by AABLC, the nation’s largest on-line African-American book club. She was recently nominated for the NAACP Image Award in Literature.
Also, be sure and check out the other stops on the tour. Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours for sending me the book and inviting me to participate!