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Taffy

Welcome to the sleepy, all-Black southern town of Bledsoe, where Colored residents proudly declare “ain’t nothing white here ‘cept milk and teeth.” It’s 1935. A press-and-curl costs a quarter. Records play on phonographs. And a telephone is a luxury.

Meet twenty-three-year-old Taffy Bledsoe Freeman. She doesn’t need her gift of second sight to know her “mockery of a marriage” to a man twice her age is far from good. After a seven-year exile Up North, Taffy travels down-home to the small town bearing her family’s name, plotting her escape from a marriage not worth the price of a press-and-curl. She only needs to retrieve the son her husband banished to her parents’ care, before boarding a train headed for the Windy City filled with liberty and opportunity. Instead, Taffy stumbles into Roam Ellis: the man Taffy meant to marry.

Twenty-six-year-old Roam Ellis is a “broad-shouldered, hard-bodied” Pullman porter riding the rails coast-to-coast, outrunning the bitter heartbreak Taffy left behind. Now, after a seven-year absence, Roam is face-to-face with his first love. Anger ignites. Old wounds are exposed. But when pain subsides, passion rises, thrusting Taffy and Roam into a hurricane of buried secrets and lies. Reminiscent of the works of Bernice McFadden, Bertice Berry, and Andrea Smith (The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner) this Historical Romance is bathed in southern lore and sweeping imagery. Lyrical and powerful, Taffy is a story of restoration and redemption that you won’t soon forget.

Reviews

“Suzette D. Harrison has written a masterpiece.  In her novel, Taffy, she has written what most novelists aspire to and never do achieve.  Reading it provides an experience most readers incessantly search for and rarely find.  This book is beautifully written, rich, and deeply musical.  Ms. Harrison has a great ear for dialogue and a gift for humor.  Her sense of language is refreshing in its originality, her use of syntax inventive.  But make no mistake about it, this is a deep book, which will take you to the heart of the human stain.  It is a work for the heart as well as the mind. The irresistible urge to turn its pages stems from a sense of both celebration of the language and terror for its inhabitants.  Centered around the small, southern Black town of Bledsoe, in 1935, Taffy takes us into a world and a time few of us still living have ever known, and includes a varied cast of deftly developed characters, but even given those who are despicable, diabolical, and even maniacal, this is a setting even fewer of us will want to leave. Taffy is a book to pass on to the generations. Thank you, Ms. Harrison.”

–David Covin, Blue Nile Press

 

“Suzette Harrison has written a novel rich with Southern charm. Taffy, aptly titled after the protagonist, is a story that will appeal to [readers] ages 20-100. Set in the 1930s, [when visiting the town] where Taffy's family is from, Taffy unearths explosive truths about her husband and herself. At first glance, you might believe this is a story about a beautiful, young woman who lived a tough childhood only to marry an older, womanizing man. Oh, but it is so much more than that!

 

Layered with intricate plots and sub-plots, all of Ms. Harrison's characters are larger than life and leap off the page at you. However, you will easily identify one or more of your own family members. Another superb job by Ms. Harrison in blending the intricacies of personalities and family into characters we can't get enough of!”

–Anna Dennis, author of

“Who Will Hear My Screams”

 

"Taffy is a poignant story of enduring love, hope, despair, and redemption—an intricately-woven portrayal of African-American culture in the 1930s. Vividly realistic characters, colorful dialogue, and rich imagery combined with rare paranormal elements make Taffy a memorable read."

–Shobhan Bantwal, author of

The Dowry Bride and other novels

 

“Experiencing Taffy stirs fond memories of classics like Beloved and The Color Purple. But make no mistake, Suzette D. Harrison’s own unique voice and heartfelt storytelling is in abundant evidence here. Her novel’s compelling imagery celebrates themes like sisterhood, tradition and a woman’s extraordinary resilience when challenged on every side. Taffy is a poignant mix of drama and rich characters—along with a provocative twist to cap it all off. Read it and you’ll quickly come under its spell.”

–Ronn Elmore, Psy.D; author of

How to Love a Black Man


Profile Photo Suzette D. Harrison

About Suzette D. Harrison

Suzette D. Harrison, a west coast native and the middle of three daughters, grew up in a home where reading was required, not requested. Her literary “career” began when her poetry appeared in a volume of creative writing published by her junior high school. While Ms. Harrison pays homage to Gloria Naylor, Dr. Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison for initially inspiring her spirit and creativity, it was Alex Haley’s Roots (which she read at the age of fourteen) that unveiled the tremendous power and importance of African American literary voices. In addition to being the wife of a university professor and mother of gorgeous children, Suzette is a cupcake proprietor who loves singing gospel-with-a-hint-of-jazz. An elementary school librarian, Suzette is currently working on her next novel…in between batches of cupcakes.

All books by Suzette D. Harrison

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