Let It Shine
by Alyssa Cole
What is it about:
**Let It Shine originally appeared in The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology. This version features the original story, as well as a bonus short story, No Valley Low.***
Sofronia Wallis knows that proper Black women don’t court trouble by upending the status quo, but it’s 1961 and the Civil Rights movement is in full swing. Sofie’s spent half her life being prim, proper, and reserved—as if that could bring her mother back—but the nonviolent protests happening across the South bring out her inner agitator.
Ivan Friedman has devoted his life to boxing, loving the finesse of a well-delivered punch and the penance of receiving one. His family escaped from Europe before the horrors of WWII, and Ivan decides to help fight injustice in their new country, even if it goes against all his instincts as a fighter.
When Ivan and Sofie meet, they realize that their pasts are intertwined and—with the sparks that fly between them—perhaps their futures will be too. With everything in their society lined up against them, will Sofie and Ivan be able to beat the odds? Or will their chance at love be destroyed by the tumultuous times they live in?
What did Voodoo Bride think of it:
I loved A Princess in Theory and picked this novella up because I was curious about other books by Alyssa Cole.
And this is a beautiful and emotional story.
I will confess that Sofie's struggles to fight for what she believes in made more of an impact on me than the romance. I loved to see her shake off the corset of restrictions she put on herself after her mother's death and to see her stand tall and take on an unjust world with courage and strength. The way she grows in this novella and learns to stand up for herself and her beliefs had me cheering her on, and blinking back tears at times.
I have of course heard about the Civil Rights movement and the violence the peaceful protesters had to endure, but reading about those things in dry history books is very different than encountering them in a story like this, and feel the emotions.
The romance was really good as well. Sofie and Ivan have a shared history and know a shared future will be difficult, but there's an attraction between them that cannot be denied. I loved how they gravitate towards each other, knowing they won't have it easy, but still wanting to give it a try.
All in all I loved this novella and I will most certainly read more by Alyssa Cole in the future.
Why should you read it:
It's an emotional Historical Romance
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