The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology

The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology

The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology, with a foreword by the inimitable Beverly Jenkins, brings you four novellas highlighting love, light, and hope set over a period of history that’s often left in the shadows.Amazing Grace, by Lena Hart:It’s the year 1866—the Civil War is over and slavery has ended. Life for 18-year-old Gracie Shaw takes an...

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Title:The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology
Author:Kianna Alexander
Rating:

The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology Reviews

  • Reese Ryan

    A strong anthology consisting of four tales of love strong enough to overcome even the fiercest obstacles. Despite the length, each story feels complete and satisfying.

    Lena Hart's tale of an interracial romance that develops between two unlikely people with a common thread explores the lives of a strong heroine willing to sacrifice everything for her family and the man who is willing to sacrifice everything for the woman he loves.

    Kianna Alexander weaves a tale of two former slaves, now

    A strong anthology consisting of four tales of love strong enough to overcome even the fiercest obstacles. Despite the length, each story feels complete and satisfying.

    Lena Hart's tale of an interracial romance that develops between two unlikely people with a common thread explores the lives of a strong heroine willing to sacrifice everything for her family and the man who is willing to sacrifice everything for the woman he loves.

    Kianna Alexander weaves a tale of two former slaves, now entrepreneurs, who learn to let go of an ugly past and claim the love they both deserve.

    Piper Huguley's story of a school teacher who finds herself in the family way, thanks to the proprietor of the good time joint in a small town is sweet, funny and deeply emotional. The heroine is strong, smart as a whip and determined to live life on her terms. The hero proves to be far more than just a charmer only interested in making a quick buck.

    Alyssa Cole's story of interracial love between two people with a shared, tragic past that changed them both is gripping. The growing emotion between two characters on the front lines of the battle against racial injustice, who must also overcome prejudices in their own homes in order to be together is a thing of beauty. The glimpse the author provides inside the experience of the Freedom Riders gives one chills, a renewed appreciation for their sacrifices and a reminder that there is much yet to be done.

    This is a truly wonderful anthology. Hopefully the first of many.

  • Chanta Rand

    I enjoyed all four stories in this box set. This was the perfect amount of authors for a box set. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by too many stories. And I actually had time to read them all without feeling rushed.

    As a lover of historical fiction, this set hit all of my top elements: 1) historically accurate, 2) exciting plot, and 3) romance.

    Let it Shine by Alyssa Cole had the hottest heat level. I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style, her use of action-packed verbs, and the chemistry between her two

    I enjoyed all four stories in this box set. This was the perfect amount of authors for a box set. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by too many stories. And I actually had time to read them all without feeling rushed.

    As a lover of historical fiction, this set hit all of my top elements: 1) historically accurate, 2) exciting plot, and 3) romance.

    Let it Shine by Alyssa Cole had the hottest heat level. I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style, her use of action-packed verbs, and the chemistry between her two characters, Sophie and Ivan. This was the first historical romance I’ve read that was set in the 1960s. The author did a fantastic job of capturing the racially charged attitudes of the era. When a mob ganged up on the protestors at a sit-in, I felt Sophie’s fear, anger, and frustration. The added twist to this story was that Ms. Cole depicted a relationship between a black woman and a Jewish man. Both characters had much more in common than they thought.

    Amazing Grace by Lena Hart was also a great read. It’s no easy task to pull off an Interracial romance set during the Civil War. Lena did a wonderful job of creating a strong, and empathetic hero in Logan Finley, a former slave owner. The romance between him and Gracie felt real and organic. You could feel the growing attraction between them, and when they finally ‘got busy’ I felt like I needed a cigarette afterward! The love scenes were very well done.

    Kianna Alexander’s Drifting to You was an interesting read because it featured a black shipbuilder. So many times in historical romance, you see heroes who are victims of circumstance—downtrodden and just trying to find a way to work with what they’re given. Will Pruett was different. He had the perfect blend of cockiness, strength, compassion, and intelligence. He’s the perfect partner for Rosaline. I enjoyed reading their story and watching Rosaline put one overzealous suitor in his place. That was hilarious!

    Piper Huguley had the sweetest romance, so her story, A Sweet Way to Freedom was a fitting title. I’ve been a fan of Ms. Huguley's since I read the Preacher’s Promise (love me some Virgil). This story was unique because it opened with a pregnant, unmarried heroine. OMG! Not many sweet historical romance novels start out like that. And the hero, Arlo worked my nerves in the beginning. I thought he was a womanizing fool who needed to grow up. Apparently, so did the heroine, Missouri, because she didn’t give that man any slack from the moment he was introduced in the book. But by the end of the story, Arlo won me over. He proved to be a better man, husband, and father to Missouri than I ever thought he could be. Kudos to Piper for another heart-warming story.

    It was obvious each one of these authors did their research. I thought I knew a lot about Juneteenth, but I learned so much more. I highly recommend this for anyone who loves reading historical fiction and/or historical romance.

  • The CurvyJones

    So. So. SOOOOOOOOOO. Oh my goodness. If you love historical, multicultural romance, get your hands on this release when it comes out! Five beautifully written stories set in a pivotal moment of African American history. You really can't afford to skip this anthology!

    I never learned much about Juneteenth. It was not taught in schools and my peers seem to consider the day as more of a celebration of slavery than a celebration of freedom. Via the foreward from prolific black romance author Beverly

    So. So. SOOOOOOOOOO. Oh my goodness. If you love historical, multicultural romance, get your hands on this release when it comes out! Five beautifully written stories set in a pivotal moment of African American history. You really can't afford to skip this anthology!

    I never learned much about Juneteenth. It was not taught in schools and my peers seem to consider the day as more of a celebration of slavery than a celebration of freedom. Via the foreward from prolific black romance author Beverly Jenkins, I learned more about Juneteenth. On June 19th, 1865 in Galveston, TX, a proclamation was set forth that all slaves were free. Most celebrated that day January 1 because of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation... however Texas celebrates this day of freedom on June 19th, when the proclamation was read, and their descendants still do.

    Each of the stories in this anthology revolve around freedom and civil rights, including the right to love the one you choose to love. Lena Hart tells us the story of Gracie Shaw in Amazing Grace. Gracie is a young southern black woman, promised to a good man in Montana. She must make the trip to meet the man she is contracted to marry by train... where she happens to meet the love of her life, Logan Finley, half Mexican, half Irish. Not only is he not of African descent, but Gracie's family had already received payment for her agreement to marry Robert Whitaker. In addition, there's something in Logan's past that Gracie isn't sure she can forgive.

    Kianna Alexander shares a story about baker Rosaline Rhodes, who's so sweet on ship builder Will Pruitt, the attraction wafts from the page. When Rosaline is advised to choose a mate who was not a former slave-- in an effort to elevate herself, it was suggested-- it becomes the impetus she and Will need to begin their lives together aboard a Juneteenth cruise down the Cape Fear River. This story was really SO Sweet and one of my favorites!

    Piper Hugely is my new #BAE. She writes such glorious historical romances, I'm just in love with her novels! A Sweet Way to Freedom is set Winslow, a Georgia Hamlet. This story appears to be a one-off of the Milford College series that Hugely has been releasing since 2014. Teacher Missouri "Missy" Baxter finds her self in a curious predicament, having become pregnant whilst unmarried... But everyone knows who the father is. Arlo Tucker is a man who seems afraid of the future. Watching these two come together was humorous and delightful as well as seeing Arlo come into the man he was destined to be. GREAT read.

    Alyssa Cole's Let it Shine is my first read from her but it won't be my last! Her depiction of 'Good Southern Girl' Sofronia 'Sofie' Wallis's forbidden romance with a Jewish neighborhood gentleman Ivan Friedman during the Civil Rights movement was educational and entertaining. The first scene brought a giggle to my lips... I remember hearing the older ladies in the church gossiping about so and so who's pregnant but not married and feeling all kinds of weird about witnessing that. This story reminded me so much of my upbringing as a PK (Preacher's Kid) in a COGIC church... the expectation to be a good girl, because no man wanted a hussy. The idea that everything you do is a reflection on your parents and how you were raised. How unwavering obedience and unquestioned adherence to strict rules and guidelines are expected-- and are the norm. And how a person aches to be defined by themselves, their own achievements and not what the previous generation wants from them. Just as I had to, Sofie had to find a piece of herself and take a step into her future. Hand in hand with, not just a white man... but a Jew. Really great read and it brings to mind a friend of mine that recently married a Jewish man. What a cultural divide to cross... but they're making it, and I have every assumption that Sofie and Ivan lived to grow old together!

    This anthology is important because I believe that we need to know our history, and because people that look like me and share my ancestry fell in love and created the future that I live in. Romance is not just about white faces on book covers... and historical romance is more than Dukes and Queens and Regency. Our historical romances are our pasts brought to life.

    The Brighest Day will be available June 1,2015. Pick it up!

  • Darlene

    I live in a small town in North Florida where Juneteenth is celebrated as the community remembers it took a war and the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves who lived here, and throughout the South.

    This outstanding collection celebrates the 19th of June (and if you don't know why that's a holiday, each story explains it), and the brave women and men who were strong in the face of adversity, whether it was a Jim Crow rail car of the late 19th c. or the Freedom Riders of the 1960s. Some of

    I live in a small town in North Florida where Juneteenth is celebrated as the community remembers it took a war and the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves who lived here, and throughout the South.

    This outstanding collection celebrates the 19th of June (and if you don't know why that's a holiday, each story explains it), and the brave women and men who were strong in the face of adversity, whether it was a Jim Crow rail car of the late 19th c. or the Freedom Riders of the 1960s. Some of the stories are Inspirationals, some are straight historical romance (with some sensuality), all are well-written and entertaining.

    I look forward to reading more from these authors, and applaud them on putting together a very special anthology.

  • Timitra

    Amazing Grace- 4 Stars

    I love when a book engages my emotions, makes me think and look at things differently, Amazing Grace did that. It's my first by this author but it most certainly won't be my last. I love how beautifully the love story between Gracie and Logan was told also loved the use of the apple.

    Drifting To You- 3.5 Stars

    This story tugged at my heartstrings especially what the heroine went through. I love that she was so strong and was able to find happiness in spite of what happened to

    Amazing Grace- 4 Stars

    I love when a book engages my emotions, makes me think and look at things differently, Amazing Grace did that. It's my first by this author but it most certainly won't be my last. I love how beautifully the love story between Gracie and Logan was told also loved the use of the apple.

    Drifting To You- 3.5 Stars

    This story tugged at my heartstrings especially what the heroine went through. I love that she was so strong and was able to find happiness in spite of what happened to her. I also loved the hero, he was strong but also sweet and caring. This was a first for me by this author as well and I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of her work.

    A Sweet Way To Freedom- 4 Stars

    This story had me intrigued from the start and didn't disappoint. I really Missy and Arlo's journey, loved the banter between them. As with the previous stories this is a first for me by this author but it most certainly will not be my last as I can't wait to read Ruby's story.

    Let It Shine- 4.5 Stars

    This story worked for me on so many levels, from the characters to the writing to everything in between just resonated with me.

    ARC provided by authors

  • Harper Miller

    Well done anthology! Read some new to me authors and found myself highly entertained. Deep subject matter but handled with care and brutal honesty. The writing style of each author is quite fierce. I'd highly recommend giving this anthology a whirl.

  • SmartBitches

    Reviewing anthologies is always difficult for me. I’m never sure if I should give a grade for the collection as a whole, even if some of the stories didn’t grab me, or if I should grade the story that rocked my world and mention the others. Anthologies are awesome – I love novellas and short stories – but also tricky.

    So here’s the deal with this one: I loved the last story in this anthology so much. SO MUCH. I sent screen cap texts of funny lines to

    Reviewing anthologies is always difficult for me. I’m never sure if I should give a grade for the collection as a whole, even if some of the stories didn’t grab me, or if I should grade the story that rocked my world and mention the others. Anthologies are awesome – I love novellas and short stories – but also tricky.

    So here’s the deal with this one: I loved the last story in this anthology so much. SO MUCH. I sent screen cap texts of funny lines to people. I rambled on to Hubby about it. I set timers so I could read another page or two without burning dinner.

    by Alyssa Cole is the reason you should buy this anthology.

    Unfortunately, each story had a copyediting problem and the anthology would have benefitted from closer proofreading. There were a number of misused words, for example, like when a character could “endear” without complaint instead of “endure.” That bugged me, and I want to mention it because I know that upsets some readers, too.

    As I said, anthologies are difficult to grade sometimes. Some of the stories I found myself skimming, while with Cole’s story, I was gripping my ereader so tightly my hands started to ache. I’m giving this anthology a B- overall, averaging together the grades above.

    - Sarah

  • Abra

    What a great little anthology about slavery, civil rights, and multiracial romance! The first and last stories were so strong that they carry the whole rating. The middle two were rather weak.

    Amazing Grace: 4 Stars

    The story of a former slave turned freewoman traveling west as a mail order bride, only to fall in love with a former slave owner and Confederate soldier she meets on the train. I admire the author tremendously for daring to make her hero a former slave owner and tackling such a

    What a great little anthology about slavery, civil rights, and multiracial romance! The first and last stories were so strong that they carry the whole rating. The middle two were rather weak.

    Amazing Grace: 4 Stars

    The story of a former slave turned freewoman traveling west as a mail order bride, only to fall in love with a former slave owner and Confederate soldier she meets on the train. I admire the author tremendously for daring to make her hero a former slave owner and tackling such a complex subject. Strong heroine too. I wish this one was longer.

    Drifting To You: 2 Stars

    Very unimpressed with this one. Stock romance characters, standard cliches, and it felt... inauthentic. The story takes place ten years after slaves were freed and revolves around two former slaves... but honestly, apart from their sad histories, it might have been a regency about two white characters. No mention of how these characters learned to read, how they became successful independent entrepreneurs, only the vaguest detail about the time period, no apparent difficulties navigating the social and business worlds of pissed off post-war white people. No inner lives at all, really.

    A Sweet Way To Freedom: 1 Star

    Very interesting premise, a pregnant schoolteacher trying to get the man who knocked her up to heel. But it had some major flaws. Sentence fragments and poor grammar abound. Continuity errors like it being a hot Georgia May in one scene and in the very next scene the characters are cold and warming themselves by a fire.

    But mostly? I LOATHED and DESPISED the hero with every fiber of my being. He was an irresponsible, spoiled, selfish deadbeat dad who knocked up THREE women out of wedlock, abandoned TWO children, and suddenly decided to turn his life around when Accidental Child Number Three comes around. Unlike the aforementioned Confederate soldier from "Amazing Grace", there are some character types that you can't make heroes out of, and Deadbeat Dad is one of them.

    Let It Shine: 5 Stars

    LOVED this one so much!!! It's about two old childhood friends - one black and one white - reconnecting during the civil rights movement but its about so much more than that. I'm amazed at how much meaning and nuance the author was able to cram into a short story.

    Ivan and Sofie were enchanting. Lively, funny, sad, strong, brave characters. Sofie especially was so weak and so strong and so REAL. I adored them. Great chemistry. Actually, I can't say enough good things about this one without making it a ridiculously long review... suffice to say, I immediately bought another book by this author.

    All in all, great book that is both sweet and illuminating!

  • DeAnna Knippling

    The first two stories were good but didn't make me melt at the end--the tale of a "church network" bride going to Montana ("Amazing Grace") and the tale of a baker and shipbuilder crush ("Drifting to You"). The third one melted me, but only at the last minute. I wasn't quite comfortable with the male lead as I was in maybe excessive sympathy with his justly angry opposite, and it took me a while to forgive him in "A Sweet Way to Freedom." The last story, "Let It Shine," knocked it out of the

    The first two stories were good but didn't make me melt at the end--the tale of a "church network" bride going to Montana ("Amazing Grace") and the tale of a baker and shipbuilder crush ("Drifting to You"). The third one melted me, but only at the last minute. I wasn't quite comfortable with the male lead as I was in maybe excessive sympathy with his justly angry opposite, and it took me a while to forgive him in "A Sweet Way to Freedom." The last story, "Let It Shine," knocked it out of the park for me and there may have been a tear or two in my as I finished the tale.

    All excellent stories and good reads.

  • K.J. Charles

    This is a remarkable collection. A few thoughts:

    a) I don't know much in depth about the slavery period of US history (I'm a white Brit) and I don't like what I learned. The backstory of one freed slave in 'Drifting to You' was pretty nearly unbearable to read, to the point where it almost overwhelmed the story. Except, that is the

    of this collection: the unbelievable, grotesque injustice done to people and the strength of those who not just survived it but actually made themselves good

    This is a remarkable collection. A few thoughts:

    a) I don't know much in depth about the slavery period of US history (I'm a white Brit) and I don't like what I learned. The backstory of one freed slave in 'Drifting to You' was pretty nearly unbearable to read, to the point where it almost overwhelmed the story. Except, that is the

    of this collection: the unbelievable, grotesque injustice done to people and the strength of those who not just survived it but actually made themselves good lives. It's genuinely astonishing to read, obviously well researched by all authors, and important.

    b) I've had a lot of conversations about depicting unattractive historical attitudes in romance and how far that can go. Everyone always concludes, 'you could never have a US slave-owning hero'. Lena Hart knocks that one out of the park, brilliantly, because part of slavery's corrosive evil, as she shows, is the way people accepted it as normal. Lots of 'ordinary' people played their parts too.

    c) I *love* the way Piper Hugeley's story is written: the speech, the vocabulary, the flavour. Intensely immersive.

    d) The final story, with Freedom Riders and a Jewish boxer hero, is an absolute cracker, and I am off to scout out more from Alyssa Cole right now. It says there's a linked book coming, which if so, I am *on* that.

    This is a really good set of romance stories, and a terrific vivid historical, but it's also seriously important and informative without being teachy or depressing (which is pretty damn impressive considering the horrendousness of the material). Everyone should read this collection.

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