We Are All Good People Here

We Are All Good People Here

From the author of A Place at the Table and A Soft Place to Land, an “intense, complex, and wholly immersive” (Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author) multigenerational novel that explores the complex relationship between two very different women and the secrets they bequeath to their daughters.Eve Whalen, privileged child of an old-money Atlanta family, meets...

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Title:We Are All Good People Here
Author:Susan Rebecca White
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We Are All Good People Here Reviews

  • Judy Collins

    Check out my fascinating

    with the master Southern storyteller, Susan Rebecca White. Get exclusive behind-the-scene inspiration of her extraordinary novel,

    plus fun facts about the author.

    I am excited to share with you one of my favorite Southern authors, master storyteller, Susan Rebecca White, and her latest highly anticipated novel, WE ARE ALL GOOD PEOPLE HERE— "cover of the year" and Top Books of 2019!🏆

    A few months ago, I stumbled upo

    Check out my fascinating

    with the master Southern storyteller, Susan Rebecca White. Get exclusive behind-the-scene inspiration of her extraordinary novel,

    plus fun facts about the author.

    I am excited to share with you one of my favorite Southern authors, master storyteller, Susan Rebecca White, and her latest highly anticipated novel, WE ARE ALL GOOD PEOPLE HERE— "cover of the year" and Top Books of 2019!🏆

    A few months ago, I stumbled upon this vibrant cover, a stunning "optical illusion" and was spellbound. It drew me in. I "must" read this book. But wait, next, OMG, I noticed the author's name...Could this possibly be "the" Susan Rebecca White?

    The Atlanta Southern Author I adore, who wrote

    (LOVED),

    , and

    (all favorites)? I read each of these books years ago (all 5 Glowing Stars) 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟. I fell in love with the author's authentic storytelling and her way of making the characters jump off the page. A Place at the Table landed on my Top Books of 2014, and have been anxiously awaiting her next book.

    Immediately, I go to her profile on Amazon and, YES! it is the "same" Susan Rebecca White! Where has this gal been? Five years. (Yes, I do stalk my favorite popular authors anxiously waiting for the next book). Trust me, it is worth the wait.

    You can guess I went a little "crazy" and started emailing everyone to snag an ARC copy of this book, dying to get her on my editorial schedule for a Q&A Interview, even though I had already scheduled four others for August. (thank you, Atria) A dream come true. As an Atlanta gal, I have always supported Atlanta and Southern authors.

    OK, now that I have told you about my obsession, I do not want to take too much time telling you how fabulous Susan Rebecca White truly is, so we can get into this interview and her latest novel. She is amazing.

    I love her writing and highly recommend each of her books, but her latest book is a true "masterpiece." Her most accomplished novel yet! As with her previous books, Susan writes about the underdog, the injustices, racism, diversity, family, the South, history, religion, and the complexities of life.

    Highly charged emotional topics, all her books are character-driven. Different people from all walks of life come together. She does not hold back. I call this one her "grownup" real-life book—totally "radical."

    As the author mentions, we can try to rewrite our history, but the truth will eventually surface, as we find in her latest novel. How women, in particular, feel the need to reinvent who they once were when they have children

    WE ARE ALL GOOD PEOPLE HERE brilliantly explores the lives of two young women who form a bond starting at Belmont College in the 60s, and their lives are forever changed. Often it takes one incident to ignite a movement. A gripping, multi-generational story inspired by real events that follow their friendship for years to come, even though they take different paths.

    From political awakening, social classes, racial, privilege, justice, causes, passions, duty, love, friendship, family, and moral divides.

    The first half of the book, we follow the turbulent 70s with two women from college and beyond. (this is the era I lived through: college, marriage, children).

    The second half of the book, we catch up with their daughters as the dark secrets of the past began to unravel. This novel covers an incredible period—from the early 1960s to the 1990s.

    The story resonates with what we are dealing with today across America in these trying and turbulent times. Ironically, Georgia ranks among the worst states in America for women’s equality. Often you think we are going backward instead of forward.

    Georgia has always been a controversial state, particularly Atlanta. I resided in Vinings, Buckhead, and Midtown and was in the media business as an associate publisher (Atlanta B&B Magazine), Black's Guide, Network Publishing, Cahners/Reed, and publisher (Primedia) for many years before relocating to South Florida full time. Atlanta will always be home for me and often meet up with my sons there which reside in NC.

    Look at what is going on in the headlines at the moment: Controversial anti-abortion bill passes in Georgia State Senate. Controversial Atlanta judge hit with ethics charges by state watchdog agency. Celebrities postpone events and shows. An activist artist removes controversial art from the Atlanta beltway. Atlanta's Controversial 'Cityhood' Movement. They also have an Atlanta Controversial Topics Group. And the list goes on and on. Atlanta is diverse. Spread-out, and traffic is a nightmare. It is forever changing.

    Without individuals who speak up, take action, risk their lives for a bigger cause, where would our country be? As referenced in this extraordinary blending of fact and fiction, the author explores courageous woman and men who have stood on their beliefs to create change. I totally agree with one of the author's previous interviews. Atlanta is the perfect setting for these rich fictional stories.

    In WE ARE ALL GOOD PEOPLE HERE, the author proposes many thought-provoking questions:

    White offers detailed historical research into the Weather Underground Organization, documentaries, and other references for additional reading. I particularly enjoyed learning more about the Mississippi Summer Project, “Freedom Summer,” and what occurred during those months and enjoyed learning more about Bob Moses and particularly, Fannie Lou Hamer.

    Mrs. Fannie Lou Hamer’s role in the civil rights movement was absolutely fundamental and blown away by her continuous courage to overcome obstacles and providing a voice for others. Read More on Susan's website.

    The true essence of the story, as the author so eloquently describes:

    Indeed, you accomplished your goal and exceeded all expectations!

    I cannot wait to tell everyone about this powerful book. I am a huge fan of shows such as Underground (2016), Queen Sugar, and The Good Fight, etc. Flannery O'Connor would be proud! You will note many similarities here ripped from today’s headlines.

    If you are new to the author's work, I highly recommend reading her previous books as well, listed below. I hope you enjoy reading as much as I did and look forward to your thoughts.

    PS. Since these are some of my long-time favorite Southern authors, please take a moment to review the recent feature in Atlanta Magazine,

    Atlanta authors talk about their latest books and invite us inside the writer’s life.

    Congrats, Susan another hit!

    A special thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.

    @JudithDCollins

  • Elyse Walters

    No spoilers about the storytelling - no specifics about the **wonderful** storytelling....

    More about how I felt....plenty to give a flavor of what readers are in store to read.

    I LOVED IT!!!!

    Belmont

    Roanoke, Virginia 1962

    I was excited to read Susan Rebecca White’s novel - the minute I read the blurb. The eye-catching book cover didn’t hurt to pique my interest either...

    but when I ‘knew’ for sure that I was in great hands by a new author -to me- was when I read this - only 2% into this novel:

    “Oh,

    No spoilers about the storytelling - no specifics about the **wonderful** storytelling....

    More about how I felt....plenty to give a flavor of what readers are in store to read.

    I LOVED IT!!!!

    Belmont

    Roanoke, Virginia 1962

    I was excited to read Susan Rebecca White’s novel - the minute I read the blurb. The eye-catching book cover didn’t hurt to pique my interest either...

    but when I ‘knew’ for sure that I was in great hands by a new author -to me- was when I read this - only 2% into this novel:

    “Oh, I’m so excited to meet you! I don’t mean to be such a *spaz*, but I’ve been looking forward to this moment all summer!

    Wow....Rebecca Susan White took me back about 50 years. For some of us old farts - we remember using the term, “you spaz”....

    nothing politically correct about the slang word...

    So, I don’t mean to be a ‘spaz’, either...when I say...

    this novel kept getting better...and better....

    Daniella wore “a kelly-green sleeveless shirtdress and a pair of Keds printed with watermelon halves”.

    “KELLY-GREEN”... a “SHIRTDRESS”.... and “KEDS”......

    My goodness ... did the author find these clothes in my old teenage closet?

    Daniella’s shoulder-length blond hair was *teased* ...

    *flipped* at the ends... and of course a *barrette*.

    Oh my! I feel like I’m 16 years old, again ... smiling down memory land before the internet.

    This book is MUCH MORE than Hersheys chocolate over vanilla ice cream, vanilla wafers, hot cocoa, tweed dresses, Peter Pan collars, Capri pants, cashmere sweater sets, and saddle oxfords......

    AMERICAN HISTORY WAS CHANGING.....

    My heart, mind, and soul were activated.... reawakening feelings in me that had been dormant.

    I mostly just want to say ‘amen’ to this luminous book as a calling to us all.....

    The memories kept on flooding - page after page. As Bob Dylan sang to the world......Times are a 'changin'....in American History.....

    Susan Rebecca White captures visuals, smells, sounds, language, (BUMMER...SEXIST PIG, DIG IT?), music, hygiene, style, families, education, injustice, racism, discrimination, black inequality, casualties of war, Vietnam, smoking joints, long hair, hippies, McGovern buttons, spanning history from President Kennedy’s assassination to president Bill Clinton.

    I felt the anger - sick over violence - sadness - and the confusion of the characters resistance to change - (especially the privileged).....The lies of the bourgeoisie were disturbing.

    I felt like I WAS IN MISSISSIPPI during the civil rights movement.

    The right to vote came.....( with worries)....

    ....We look at morality, political choices, love, sex, free love, friendship, marriages, babies, divorce, deaths, and struggles of the times through the most wonderful intimate storytelling imaginable: stunningly brilliant!!!!!

    I actually cried from so much pride and enjoyment. Literally my entire body felt the impact.

    I couldn’t resist.... I downloading Bob Dylan’s 1964 hit release to “The Times They are changin”. With little tears in my eyes - I listened.

    For my generation.... Life was never more confusing, chaotic, and politically brutal

    than this period of history.

    Feelings of Melancholy.....

    A message I took away - equally true today....

    “Change would not happen without women who held power in the workforce”.

    Thank you Atria Books, Netgalley, and Susan Rebecca White

  • Angela M

    3.5 rounded up

    Social injustices, racism, antisemitism, anti war sentiment of US involvement in Vietnam are some of the issues that are front and center in this story of two young women who forge a friendship in college in the early 1960’s. Eve is from a well to do, elite family in Atlanta, steeped in tradition and their beliefs that the war is fine as long as it’s not their son who has to go, but the son of their black maid -“somebody has to go”. They also believe that their benevolence to their

    3.5 rounded up

    Social injustices, racism, antisemitism, anti war sentiment of US involvement in Vietnam are some of the issues that are front and center in this story of two young women who forge a friendship in college in the early 1960’s. Eve is from a well to do, elite family in Atlanta, steeped in tradition and their beliefs that the war is fine as long as it’s not their son who has to go, but the son of their black maid -“somebody has to go”. They also believe that their benevolence to their black maid and Eve’s nanny, by simply giving her a job absolves them of any idea that they are racist. Their idealistic and impetuous daughter thinks differently and she rebels through her path of radical activism. Daniella whose father is Jewish, comes from a completely different background and her path is a more tempered one of humanitarian activism. They become best friends, thinking at first that they think and feel very much the same, both with good intentions, but their different responses and actions impact their relationship and it is not until years later that they come together. Eve needs Daniella’s help to get her out the messy, dangerous circumstances she finds herself in after leading a life of radicalism.

    I wasn’t immediately taken with the story, but as it progressed, I became more interested, thinking about the different ways that people respond to social injustice and inequality. It was also stunning to think of how some of the issues, particularly with regard to racism and anti semitism are still here today. I was warned about an unnecessarily gruesome scene involving animal abuse . In all honesty, when I got to it, I skipped through it. I don’t understand why it was there. Overall, I thought it was worth reading and I also enjoyed the continuation of the story through the lives of Eve’s and Daniella’s daughters. It was an excellent portrayal of the times spanning the 1960’s - 1980’s, civil rights, Kennedy’s assassination, Vietnam. It’s also an excellent character study that had me thinking about the women’s motivations at various times in the novel.

    This ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

  • Karen

    3.5 for this one, I’ll round it up.

    Daniella and Eve meet when they start college and are paired as roommates at Belmont in Roanoke, Virginia 1962.

    They become the best of friends and end up becoming involved in the social issues of the time, Eve.. becoming extremely radical.

    This is a multigenerational story, you will also see the coming up years of their own daughters.

    It covers thirty years of American history, from Kennedy’s Camelot through the Vietnam War and racial issues, etc.

    The subject mat

    3.5 for this one, I’ll round it up.

    Daniella and Eve meet when they start college and are paired as roommates at Belmont in Roanoke, Virginia 1962.

    They become the best of friends and end up becoming involved in the social issues of the time, Eve.. becoming extremely radical.

    This is a multigenerational story, you will also see the coming up years of their own daughters.

    It covers thirty years of American history, from Kennedy’s Camelot through the Vietnam War and racial issues, etc.

    The subject matter I always like reading about because I was born in 1958, and lived through much of these times as a child but wasn’t completely aware of everything going on in the world since I was so young.

    Thank you to Netgalley and Simon and Schuster for the ARC!

  • Esil

    I must admit that I had a hard time putting this one down. There was something about the characters and their story that really worked for me. Eve and Daniella meet as freshmen in a small girls college in the south in the early 1960s. Eve comes from a very wealthy southern family, and Daniella is half Jewish and comes from an academic family. The story chronicles several decades of their frought friendship. The novel doesn't really play out in the way one might expect given their backgrounds. Ra

    I must admit that I had a hard time putting this one down. There was something about the characters and their story that really worked for me. Eve and Daniella meet as freshmen in a small girls college in the south in the early 1960s. Eve comes from a very wealthy southern family, and Daniella is half Jewish and comes from an academic family. The story chronicles several decades of their frought friendship. The novel doesn't really play out in the way one might expect given their backgrounds. Rather than playing on stereotypes, the author gives them both distinct personalities that also influence their paths. Eve has an extremist idealistic tendency, and she throws herself into everything with passion -- often to her own detriment and to the detriment of others. Daniella is more careful and measured. This brings them into conflict, but there is nevertheless a deep bond between them. In later years, the story shifts a bit and focuses on their daughters -- a part I liked too, but not quite as much. The end was not quite tidy, which was another plus as far as I'm concerned. I would call this a really good character study.

    One warning: don't read this book if you have any issues with reading about animal cruelty. There's one scene in the middle that's hard to stomach.

    Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  • Tammy

    “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” –Bob Dylan

    That is, of course, until you think you do. I’m getting ahead of myself. This novel begins in 1962 with the well worn trope of two girls from different backgrounds thrown together as college roommates at Belmont and become fast friends. The writing is, initially, simplistic which I found off putting. Due to an unsettling event, the girls transfer to Barnard and the writing becomes more sophisticated as the girls lose some o

    “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” –Bob Dylan

    That is, of course, until you think you do. I’m getting ahead of myself. This novel begins in 1962 with the well worn trope of two girls from different backgrounds thrown together as college roommates at Belmont and become fast friends. The writing is, initially, simplistic which I found off putting. Due to an unsettling event, the girls transfer to Barnard and the writing becomes more sophisticated as the girls lose some of their naiveté. Nice device. Both girls become involved in the civil rights movement during the seething sixties. One becomes a member of a radical left-wing terror organization and the other chooses a different path. Throughout three decades the themes of racism, political unrest, faith and cultural/societal norms are explored. Sound familiar? The voices of the main characters and their daughters are singular and realistic. Suffice it to say that good people with good intentions can put into motion events that have catastrophic outcomes.

  • Cheri

    — N. K. Jemisin

    Beginning in the year 1962, this story centers around two young women - girls, really - entering their first year of college. Set against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Roanoke, Virginia, Belmont College prides itself in the beauty and brains their young women have. The first of these two to arrive was Evelyn, Eve, who embraces Daniella in a welcoming hug when she arri

    — N. K. Jemisin

    Beginning in the year 1962, this story centers around two young women - girls, really - entering their first year of college. Set against the backdrop of the Blue Ridge Mountains in Roanoke, Virginia, Belmont College prides itself in the beauty and brains their young women have. The first of these two to arrive was Evelyn, Eve, who embraces Daniella in a welcoming hug when she arrives with her parents. Eve manages to quickly bond with Daniella’s mother over Eve’s tea set, the pattern being the same as the set Daniella’s Mother Scott left her. Her mother insists that the two girls are bound to be “a match made in heaven.”

    I loved the references to the clothing, the music, the shoes, the decorations, even the colour schemes that were included, all of that had me smiling even while I wondered when we were going to get to the 1960’s, those revolutionary years that birthed so many changes, some good, some not so good, regardless of the original intent. It didn’t take long for this to really pick up the pace, once a cause that hits home to Eve has less than positive results.

    There were some fairly iconic events during that time, the War in Vietnam, the Freedom Rides were just beginning, MLK became a household name, sit-ins for desegregation, and then later for anti-war protests, clothing changed, hairstyles changed, and families who once were friendly stopped sharing their opinions. JFK was shot, and then Bobby Kennedy, and MLK. The Beatles brought a change in music, and music changed beyond that. Music became a way to voice anger, frustration, distrust of the government, protest and also love as a solution. On the other side were people who had been perfectly happy with life before desegregation, who thought the war was a good thing, and protested the changes, the attempts at changes in a more volatile way, and soon, so did the other side.

    Turbulent times tend to polarize people, and the further one of them goes in one direction, the other one tends to go in the opposite one. Their friendship becomes, if not strained then… perhaps less substantial at times over the decades this story covers, in part because they are no longer living near each other.

    White manages to take these two very different women, their families, and bring them - along with three decades of history - to life in this mesmerizing story that was occasionally disturbing, entertaining, and yet retained a realistic and empathetic sense of the complexity of these relationships.

    Pub Date: 06 Aug 2019

    Many thanks for the ARC provided by my Book Angel!

  • Liz

    I seem to be on a roll reading historical fiction, especially books about the 1960s. We Are All Good People Here, starts in the 1960s and moves forward, tracking two women that meet as college freshmen. Despite opposite backgrounds, they bond. So much of this brought memories flooding back to me. White totally captures the times - the racial inequities, the sexism, the politics. At first, I worried that this was going to be women’s lit, fluff and the characters would be caricatures. But White su

    I seem to be on a roll reading historical fiction, especially books about the 1960s. We Are All Good People Here, starts in the 1960s and moves forward, tracking two women that meet as college freshmen. Despite opposite backgrounds, they bond. So much of this brought memories flooding back to me. White totally captures the times - the racial inequities, the sexism, the politics. At first, I worried that this was going to be women’s lit, fluff and the characters would be caricatures. But White surprised me. There are some hard core scenes here, one of which caused me to lose all respect for Eve. A respect I never did retrieve, especially as she seems to move from just following one man or another. Flip side, I found Daniella to be totally relatable as she seeks to fight first the sexism and then, the racism of the day.

    The story drags in the middle, as we veer from one generation to the next. To be honest, I never quite regained my interest in the book after we move into the third decade. It came across as just trying to tick off the hot issues - date rape, acceptance of gays, the rise of conservative religious beliefs.

    I’m thinking this is a case of the author trying to do too much. I can’t help but wonder if I would have liked the book more if it had just stayed focused on Eve and Daniella and their earlier years.

    My thanks to netgalley and Atria Books for an advance copy of this book.

  • Anni

    I am always rather wary of issue-driven novels which can be too concerned with moralistic polemicising to breathe real life into the characters. However, this is not the case here as the author has presented a balanced and non-judgemental account of how the pursuance of any ideology to extremes will likely end in tears. The era covered starts with that of my generation, so it is a jolt to realise this is classed as historical fiction, but I enjoyed the trip down a memory lane with much of the sa

    I am always rather wary of issue-driven novels which can be too concerned with moralistic polemicising to breathe real life into the characters. However, this is not the case here as the author has presented a balanced and non-judgemental account of how the pursuance of any ideology to extremes will likely end in tears. The era covered starts with that of my generation, so it is a jolt to realise this is classed as historical fiction, but I enjoyed the trip down a memory lane with much of the same scenery, landmarks and pitfalls.

  • Diane S ☔

    Although the time period is authentically portrayed, I am ending at 40%. Can't deal with that cat scene, not only can't but won't. Don't feel the story would have been any less had that been left out.

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