5-Star Review by Readers’ Favorite
Some books, like some movies, are unforgettable. Hosanna by Katelyne Parker is one of those. Set in Georgia in the 1920s, Hosanna gives those unfamiliar with the life of those times, a disturbing macro view into the hearts, minds and souls of those caught in what appeared to be an unbridgeable gap between the entitled whites and the enslaved blacks. It’s a gap that can’t be closed, except in the mind of one very determined, often bitterly hostile young woman, Hosanna, born to a white mother and a black father. At a still young age, when she learns the truth about her birth parents, she begins the fight for what she sees as her rights, often alienating even those who do love her by her refusal to accept what other black people have learned is the only way to survive in a white person’s society. Does she win her battle and if so, how long does it take? This question will keep readers absorbed until the very last page!
As we read, it’s often very difficult to remember that Hosanna is not a memoir, but a novel. It’s all written in the first person and rings with such incredible authenticity that one has to wonder if it’s not semi-autobiographical, or at the very least, a fictional rendering of the recollections of someone in Katelyne Parker’s family. For some, the vernacular used by Mother Hill in the opening to the narrative may take some getting used to, but it’s enchanting and helps the reader visualize the speaker and feel her fear even more, drawing us immediately into the story. When her narrative is taken over by Hosanna herself, the going is somewhat easier but no less powerful. Hosanna and everyone around her spring to life like characters on a screen, so skillfully does Katelyne Parker deliver their dialogue. Readers hate when Hosanna hates. We hurt when she hurts as she scrubs floors or is being whipped into subservience. We redden with her humiliation at being demeaned and dismissed by her white grandmother.
Though at times, Hosanna seems more drawn out than necessary, the characters and events are so riveting one is compelled to keep reading. Katelyne Parker is the recipient of several awards for Hosanna, and deservedly so. This book would make an enthralling movie. If readers visit the author’s website at katelyneparker.com, there is a book trailer worth watching. Perhaps a movie will follow? After all, Hosanna is powerful, evocative writing and won’t easily be forgotten.