Diane McKinney-Whetstone's nationally best-selling novel, Tumbling, immersed us into Philadelphia's black community during the civil rights era, and she returns to the city in this new historical novel about a cast of 19th-century characters whose colorful lives intersect at the legendary Lazaretto - America's first quarantine hospital.
Isolated on an island where two rivers meet, the Lazaretto quarantine hospital is the first stop for immigrants who wish to begin new lives in Philadelphia. The Lazaretto's black live-in staff forge a strong social community, and when one of them receives permission to get married on the island the mood is one of celebration, particularly since the white staff - save the opium-addicted doctor - are given leave for the weekend. On the eve of the ceremony, a gunshot rings out across the river. A white man has fired at a boat carrying the couple's friends and family to the island, and the captain is injured. His life lies in the hands of Sylvia, the Lazaretto's head nurse, who is shocked to realize she knows the patient.
Intertwined with the drama unfolding at the Lazaretto are the fates of orphan brothers. When one brother commits a crime to protect the other, he imperils both of their lives - and the consequences ultimately deliver both of them to the Lazaretto.
In this masterful work of historical fiction, Diane McKinney-Whetstone seamlessly transports us to Philadelphia in the aftermath of the Civil War and Lincoln's assassination, beautifully evoking powerful stories of love, friendship, and humanity amid the vibrant black community that flourished amid the troubled times.
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Interesting characters; Interesting plot
I feel like I got in-depth knowledge about the characters of the story. I could picture them in my head because they were written so descriptively.
Meda was my favorite character. Even thought she'd been through some heavy things, it did not diminish her heart. I also really liked Buddy.
I appreciated the way that Ms. Ojo would change the intonation of her voice for different characters.
I would take Nevada because she seems like she was the super fun person. If she couldn't make it, I would take Buddy with me!
This book was very good and I would recommend it to others.
WORTH THE WAIT!!! Fans will love it!!!
I listen to lots of audiobooks and this is easier in my top 5! How can a duo of one of my favorite authors and narrators be bad?!?! The prose where so poetically spun and had a way of taking me right into the feeling of the moment. McKinney Whetstone has a way of using similes like no other. I did not want it to end!
Although a lesser character in this story, Buddy was my favorite. I enjoyed his tough exterior that did not contrast but compliment his soft, loving and loyal interior. I enjoyed his confident intuition of people and ability to see and act on truth. His sister a close second for some of the same reasons--she too utilized her intuition and acted from a strong sense of truth. I loved that she was a lady, pure and simple.
I have always love Adenrele! Her performance enhanced the story. She embodied the characters in voice and sentiment!
When Sylvia recounted the story during Carl's procedure. WOW! Confirmed some suspicions and provided context for other things.
Author had a firm grasp on the time period with use of language, what Black people were feeling and doing related to what was happening in the US. I can't wait for the next book!
- Danee C Jones-Mitchell