From Where We Come

Belle City - Penny Mickelbury

Belle City by Penny Mickelbury is a historically rich interracial intergenerational saga of love, loyalty, family dynamics and the vicissitudes of everyday life. I looked forward to reading this book as I am a fan of family sagas and history. The book follows two characters from two different branches of the same family tree, Jonas Thatcher who is white and Ruth Thatcher who is black from when they are twelve-years old in 1917 until their dying many decades later both leaving wills that their relatives in 2005 do not quite understand. I enjoyed how Mickelbury skillfully threw unexpected curveballs into the storyline occasionally that allowed some of the secondary characters, such as Beau, to outshine the main characters. These sections provided the tension and excitement to keep the reader focus and to showcase the author’s mystery writing skills. While the even flowing plot nicely sets the tone of the eras and the character’s motivations, I thought some editing could have avoided the story dragging in places. The value of the story is the feeling that this could have been every family’s story and will have readers thinking how their families fared during times of historical upheavals and change.