Tomorrow's Bread

Tomorrow's Bread

From the author of the acclaimed The Dry Grass of August comes a richly researched yet lyrical Southern-set novel that explores the conflicts of gentrification—a moving story of loss, love, and resilience.In 1961 Charlotte, North Carolina, the predominantly black neighborhood of Brooklyn is a bustling city within a city. Self-contained and vibrant, it has its o...

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Title:Tomorrow's Bread
Author:Anna Jean Mayhew
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Tomorrow's Bread Reviews

  • Pam Kelley

    In the 1960s, under the guise of a program called "urban renewal," the nation bulldozed hundreds of black neighborhoods, destroying communities and undermining hard-won racial progress.

    Anna Jean Mayhew sets her page-turning novel in one of these now-lost communities, the Brooklyn neighborhood of Charlotte, as its residents await its destruction.

    Mayhew tells the story through three characters. Two are Brooklyn residents – a pastor about to lose his church and a young mother who must hide her re

    In the 1960s, under the guise of a program called "urban renewal," the nation bulldozed hundreds of black neighborhoods, destroying communities and undermining hard-won racial progress.

    Anna Jean Mayhew sets her page-turning novel in one of these now-lost communities, the Brooklyn neighborhood of Charlotte, as its residents await its destruction.

    Mayhew tells the story through three characters. Two are Brooklyn residents – a pastor about to lose his church and a young mother who must hide her relationship with her white boss. The third is a white woman who senses the sin her city is perpetrating, though her husband is championing Brooklyn's destruction in the name of progress. As a Charlotte area resident, I love how Mayhew has reincarnated long-gone Brooklyn. This is a moving, vivid story – historical fiction that's both instructive and entertaining.

  • Sue

    In the early 60s, many large cities started a plan called urban renewal - it was a way to make space for the new large buildings that they planned in the future. In many places, urban renewal meant displacement of the people who lived in the neighborhoods that were being destroyed to make way for the future. Tomorrow's Bread is about urban renewal in Charlotte, NC, where an entire area was wiped out called Brooklyn. The residents of Brooklyn were mostly black and poor but they had a community of

    In the early 60s, many large cities started a plan called urban renewal - it was a way to make space for the new large buildings that they planned in the future. In many places, urban renewal meant displacement of the people who lived in the neighborhoods that were being destroyed to make way for the future. Tomorrow's Bread is about urban renewal in Charlotte, NC, where an entire area was wiped out called Brooklyn. The residents of Brooklyn were mostly black and poor but they had a community of friends and a pride in their area that had existed there since the end of the civil war.

    This story is told from three viewpoints - Loraylee who lives in a home with her mother, her uncle and her son. She is in love with the white manager of the cafeteria she works at and he is the father of her son - something that had to stay secret during this time. Pastor Ebenezer Polk is the leader of a church that will be demolished with a graveyard that must be moved. There is also a white viewpoint from the wife of one of the men on the planning board who are in charge of the demolition of Brooklyn. She feels the wrongness but knows that there is little she can do. With these three divergent voices, we learn about how urban renewal will affect the families of the people who have lived in Brooklyn for generations. I especially enjoyed the life journey that Loraylee was on. She worked full time, took care of her son and her senile mother but still tried to do the best she could for her neighbors and friends. She knew that leaving Brooklyn would be difficult because generations had lived there and supported each other through the years.

    This was a well-written, well-researched novel about a little known area of Charlotte, NC in the 1960s. After I finished the book, I wanted more information about it and found several interesting articles. I love it when I enjoy a book and also learn about a part of history that I had no idea happened. This is one of those books - you will love these characters and ache with them as they leave their old lives behind and work to create new lives in areas very different from the life they've always known.

    Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

  • Carol

    The Langston Hughes poems at the beginning of the book and at the end say it all about this beautiful, touching book.

    "Misery is when you heard on the radio that the neighborhood you live in is a slum but you always thought it was home." Langston Hughes

  • Pamela

    I loved

    . And though it was a long time between novels, I loved

    as much, if not moreso. Ms. Mayhew is absolutely a brilliant, intuitive writer of southern literature who creates characters of such nuanced complexity they feel tangibly real. As do their circumstances.

    Yes, I simply love her writing style. Those who enjoy southern literature, or atmospheric literature dealing with social gritty issues (era specific - this one set in NC during Urban Renewal 1962) will fi

    I loved

    . And though it was a long time between novels, I loved

    as much, if not moreso. Ms. Mayhew is absolutely a brilliant, intuitive writer of southern literature who creates characters of such nuanced complexity they feel tangibly real. As do their circumstances.

    Yes, I simply love her writing style. Those who enjoy southern literature, or atmospheric literature dealing with social gritty issues (era specific - this one set in NC during Urban Renewal 1962) will find this a worthy add to their TBR.

    FIVE ***** Southern Rich yet Gritty, Complex yet Simplistic, Hooked me from Page One, Literary ***** STARS

  • Donna Everhart

    Anna Jean Mayhew's latest novel, TOMORROW'S BREAD, is a work of southern fiction that pulls quietly, persistently at the heart. The story's time is 1961, the setting an almost all black community nestled within the greater city of Charlotte, North Carolina, known as Brooklyn, a self-sufficient, thriving, close knit neighborhood where families have lived for generations.

    Times are changing, progress is on the march and with it comes the idea that Brooklyn is not good for Charlotte. "Blight" is th

    Anna Jean Mayhew's latest novel, TOMORROW'S BREAD, is a work of southern fiction that pulls quietly, persistently at the heart. The story's time is 1961, the setting an almost all black community nestled within the greater city of Charlotte, North Carolina, known as Brooklyn, a self-sufficient, thriving, close knit neighborhood where families have lived for generations.

    Times are changing, progress is on the march and with it comes the idea that Brooklyn is not good for Charlotte. "Blight" is the word used to describe the area, yet for those who only know it as home, it is their safe haven. Houses are to be torn down, residents moved from the only place they've ever lived, and their sense of unity, belonging, is sure to be broken. It is shocking, what will they do? Where will they go? Mayhew perfectly captures the essence of how this must seem to the inhabitants with this quote at the beginning of one of her chapters. It is from Langston Hughes who said, "Misery is when you heard on the radio that the neighborhood you live in is a slum, but you always thought it was home."

    From the very first page, I was eager to spend time with Loraylee Hawkins, her young, bi-racial son, Hawk, her grandmother, Bibi, and Uncle Ray, the pastor Eben Polk, and all the rest, because they were realistic, and became characters I cared about. Mayhew has given us a wonderful, original account of a time that reminded me of another place similar to Brooklyn, the small community known as Soul City in Warren County NC. Mayhew's TOMORROWS' BREAD is a story that is pertinent even today, a distinctive work at once engaging and provocative.

  • ʚϊɞ Shelley ʚϊɞ

    I love southern historical fiction, it is one of my favourite genres. In this story the texture of time and place is exceptional and Ms. Mayhew certainly knows her craft. How do you describe a book that’s so well written you can feel what it was like to live in the south during the 60's? My heart soared for the minor successes of the characters in this book and yet I’m saddened by the reality of the past. This book will grab you and within the first few chapters you'll be rooting for

    I love southern historical fiction, it is one of my favourite genres. In this story the texture of time and place is exceptional and Ms. Mayhew certainly knows her craft. How do you describe a book that’s so well written you can feel what it was like to live in the south during the 60's? My heart soared for the minor successes of the characters in this book and yet I’m saddened by the reality of the past. This book will grab you and within the first few chapters you'll be rooting for Loraylee and all who live in her Brooklyn neighbourhood.

    This is a brilliant book with fascinating and compelling characters, and a plot that prevents you from putting this book down. It is so well written, it deals with the ugliness of racism in the 1960's in a way that will make you cringe. Lessons about life and humanity perfectly intertwined in this wonderful book. I also loved the music that was popular during the time and the songs mentioned. Anna Jean Mayhew is quickly becoming one of my favourite authors. I highly recommend it.

    #TomorrowsBread #NetGalley

    All my reviews can be found on my blog:

  • Carla Johnson-Hicks

    I had never heard about Brooklyn an area of Charlotte, North Carolina before reading this book. I was shocked that this event occurred in the 1960s. After reading this story, I read some more online to learn about this tragedy.

    is an article with comments from some of the actual citizens who were affected by this event.

    In the 1960s calling it urban renewal, the city councillors in Charlotte, North Carolina, bulldozed a vibrant black neighborhood. It had its own churches, cemeteries

    I had never heard about Brooklyn an area of Charlotte, North Carolina before reading this book. I was shocked that this event occurred in the 1960s. After reading this story, I read some more online to learn about this tragedy.

    is an article with comments from some of the actual citizens who were affected by this event.

    In the 1960s calling it urban renewal, the city councillors in Charlotte, North Carolina, bulldozed a vibrant black neighborhood. It had its own churches, cemeteries, stores and businesses that were thriving, but they managed to destroy this community and scatter its residents around Charlotte. The story is told from the POV of three characters. Two are Brooklyn residents – a pastor about to lose his church and have his cemetery moved, and a young, single mother who must hide her relationship with her white boss. The third is a white woman who senses that this is wrong, even though her husband is championing Brooklyn's destruction in the name of progress. Through research done on the cemetery, there is information about slavery, and other incidents that African Americans had to deal with. This is a moving, story that evoked emotions of sadness, anger and helplessness. It is historical fiction that's both informative and entertaining. I love Anne Jean Mayhew's writing. Her prose is wonderful, the story well-paced and kept me reading long into the night. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon my request. The rating, ideas and opinions shared are my own.

  • Everydayreader1

    In 1961, a mostly African American neighborhood is slated for demolition in the guise of urban development and progress. Though the residents come together to try and stop it, the dye is set. Loraylee Hawkins is a young woman who is caught between two worlds at a time of change, as she raises her son, Hawk, and cares for her aging Grandmother. She finds love, but that too is not an easy path because she is black, and he is white.

  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: 'Misery is when you heard on the radio that the neighbourhood you live in is a slum, but you always thought it was home.' - Langston Hughes

    Home will never again be 1105 Brown Street, Charlotte 2, North Carolina, where I was born in 1936, where Shushu left me when she went to Chicago, and where Bibi and Uncle Ray brought me up from a baby to the mother I am now. I'm glad Bibi never saw the day when the city say we got to move. She bought and paid for our home working forty ye

    EXCERPT: 'Misery is when you heard on the radio that the neighbourhood you live in is a slum, but you always thought it was home.' - Langston Hughes

    Home will never again be 1105 Brown Street, Charlotte 2, North Carolina, where I was born in 1936, where Shushu left me when she went to Chicago, and where Bibi and Uncle Ray brought me up from a baby to the mother I am now. I'm glad Bibi never saw the day when the city say we got to move. She bought and paid for our home working forty years as a maid, but that came to nothing when the city say Brooklyn is blight. That which withers our hopes.

    ABOUT THIS BOOK: In 1961 Charlotte, North Carolina, the predominantly black neighborhood of Brooklyn is a bustling city within a city. Self-contained and vibrant, it has its own restaurants, schools, theaters, churches, and night clubs. There are shotgun shacks and poverty, along with well-maintained houses like the one Loraylee Hawkins shares with her young son, Hawk, her Uncle Ray, and her grandmother, Bibi. Loraylee’s love for Archibald Griffin, Hawk’s white father and manager of the cafeteria where she works, must be kept secret in the segregated South.

    Loraylee has heard rumors that the city plans to bulldoze her neighborhood, claiming it’s dilapidated and dangerous. The government promises to provide new housing and relocate businesses. But locals like Pastor Ebenezer Polk, who’s facing the demolition of his church, know the value of Brooklyn does not lie in bricks and mortar. Generations have lived, loved, and died here, supporting and strengthening each other. Yet street by street, longtime residents are being forced out. And Loraylee, searching for a way to keep her family together, will form new alliances—and find an unexpected path that may yet lead her home.

    MY THOUGHTS: I love historical fiction set in America's south, and I loved this author's previous book, The Dry Grass of August, but for some reason this one just failed to entrance me. It's not a bad book, I enjoyed it, but I didn't feel the magic that I felt with The Dry Grass of August and I mostly failed to connect with the characters, although I could definitely sympathise with them.

    The story is told by the voices of three characters - Loraylee, Pastor Ebenezer Polk, and the wife of the man pushing to have this area demolished and redeveloped. I had heard of these things happening, but had never really thought through the implications or impact on those who were being relocated. It opened my eyes.

    ***.5

    THE AUTHOR: Anna Jean (A.J.) Mayhew’s first novel, The Dry Grass of August, won the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, and was a finalist for the Book Award from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. She has been writer-in-residence at Moulin à Nef Studio Center in Auvillar, France, and was a member of the first Board of Trustees of the North Carolina Writers' Network. A native of Charlotte, NC, A.J. has never lived outside the state, although she often travels to Europe with her Swiss-born husband. Her work reflects her vivid memories of growing up in the segregated South. A.J.—a mother and grandmother—now lives in a small town in the North Carolina Piedmont with her husband and their French-speaking cat.

    DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Kensington Books via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Tomorrow's Bread by Anna Jean Mayhew for review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own personal opinions.

    Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the 'about' page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

    This review and others are also published on my webpage sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

  • Cheryle

    While the historical facts in the book were interesting I did not find the characters someone I wanted to invest time with. The author did not "flesh out" the characters in a manner that made me want to know more about them or their plight. The book seemed disjointed to me as it skipped from one point of view to another in succeeding chapters. I thought the book had promise but did not deliver a strong enough storyline to succeed.

    In 1961 Charlotte, North Carolina, the predominantly black n

    While the historical facts in the book were interesting I did not find the characters someone I wanted to invest time with. The author did not "flesh out" the characters in a manner that made me want to know more about them or their plight. The book seemed disjointed to me as it skipped from one point of view to another in succeeding chapters. I thought the book had promise but did not deliver a strong enough storyline to succeed.

    In 1961 Charlotte, North Carolina, the predominantly black neighborhood of Brooklyn is a bustling city within a city. Self-contained and vibrant, it has its own restaurants, schools, theaters, churches, and night clubs. There are shotgun shacks and poverty, along with well-maintained houses like the one Loraylee Hawkins shares with her young son, Hawk, her Uncle Ray, and her grandmother, Bibi. Loraylee’s love for Archibald Griffin, Hawk’s white father and manager of the cafeteria where she works, must be kept secret in the segregated South.

    Loraylee has heard rumors that the city plans to bulldoze her neighborhood, claiming it’s dilapidated and dangerous. The government promises to provide new housing and relocate businesses. But locals like Pastor Ebenezer Polk, who’s facing the demolition of his church, know the value of Brooklyn does not lie in bricks and mortar. Generations have lived, loved, and died here, supporting and strengthening each other. Yet street by street, longtime residents are being forced out. And Loraylee, searching for a way to keep her family together, will form new alliances—and find an unexpected path that may yet lead her home.

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