#BookReview: Sugar by Bernice L McFadden @queenazsa

Hi everyone! Sorry I’m not around much right now. I’ll be back visiting you all as soon as I can manage it. In the meantime, have a good week/weekend 🙂

Today, I have a book review for an author new to me, Bernice L McFadden. The blurb appealed to me, and I’m so pleased I had the chance to read this re-released classic  >>>

About the Book:

book cover for Sugar by Bernice L McFaddenThe novel opens when a young prostitute comes to Bigelow, Arkansas, to start over, far from her haunting past. Sugar moves next door to Pearl, who is still grieving for the daughter who was murdered fifteen years before. Over sweet-potato pie, an unlikely friendship begins, transforming both women’s lives–and the life of an entire town.

Sugar brings a Southern African-American town vividly to life, with its flowering magnolia trees, lingering scents of jasmine and honeysuckle, and white picket fences that keep strangers out–but ignorance and superstition in. To read this novel is to take a journey through loss and suffering to a place of forgiveness, understanding, and grace.  McFadden is the author of the novels Gathering of Waters, Glorious, and This Bitter Earth.


My Review:


Many thanks to NetGalley and Random House UK Vintage for a free ARC of this book.

I haven’t read anything by Bernice L McFadden previously, but the blurb caught my attention. I am so pleased I received a copy of this moving novel. Usually, I would make notes as I read so I can quote lines that stand out for me, but this was a photocopy, so I couldn’t take notes this time. However, so many beautifully written lines made an impact on me.

The book covers the story of Sugar and Pearl, two women in a southern town in 1950s America, with all its superstition and prejudice. Against all odds, these two strong and independent characters become friends.

This is a brutal and moving read and shows strength and perseverance in the face of horrific incidents. The plot, pacing, and characterisation are all done excellently. I’d hoped Sugar would make a different choice at the end, but can see why she took the road she did. As well as the dark side of life, the narrative also brings us humour and camaraderie aplenty.

In my eyes, this is a must read book, and I’m delighted to see this classic re-released. A solid five stars from me.


NOTE ON RATINGS: I consider a 3-star rating a positive review. Picky about which books I give 5 stars to, I reserve this highest rating for the stories I find stunning and which moved me.

4 STARS: I WOULD PULL AN ALL-NIGHTER — Go read this book.
3 STARS: IT WAS GOOD! — An okay read. Didn’t love it. Didn’t hate it.
2 STARS: I MAY HAVE LIKED A FEW THINGS —Lacking in some areas: writing, characterisation, and/or problematic plot lines.
1 STAR: NOT MY CUP OF TEA —Lots of issues with this book.

I’d love to hear what you think of this review. Thanks for stopping by 🙂


For anyone interested, here are the Amazon links …

UK … https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/

US … https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08R8XRTB2/


16 Comments on “#BookReview: Sugar by Bernice L McFadden @queenazsa

  1. This sounds like a very interesting book, Harmony. Sugar and Pearl are unusual names.

    • They are, and go with the characters perfectly. Thanks, Robbie 🙂

  2. Sounds like a powerful story. And anything set in Arkansas always captures my attention. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    Hope you feel better soon.

  3. The book description and review made me think of the movie, “Sweet Magnolias.” Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this one, Harmony. Ms. McFadden is a new author to me as well.

    • I’ll be sure to read more of her books. Glad you enjoyed the review, Jan 🙂