The Davenports Review
Something about the wintertime makes me want to read all the historical fiction, and if you're the same, then you need to check out The Davenports by Krystal Marquis.
|Pub Date: 1-31-23
YA - Historical Fiction
For some, Chicago in 1910 is a golden age. Olivia and Helen Davenport are members of a prominent Black family, one of the only ones in Chicago, and are surrounded by wealth and opportunity. Anything they desire is within their grasp--except for what they truly want. Olivia has spent her entire life being groomed to be the perfect housewife and is ready to do her duty by marrying the most eligible bachelor until she meets a charismatic activist from the South. Helen would rather spend her days fixing engines than falling in love, but then she meets her sister's would-be suitor, and her life is turned upside down.Like the Davenports, Ruby grew up around wealth, but with her family's finances in dire straights, she must make an advantageous marriage and fast. Her parents have their eyes on John, Olivia, and Helen's brother, but Ruby's heart begins to yearn for another. Amy-Rose, the childhood friend turned maid of the Davenport girls, longs for a life away from servitude and dreams, not only, of opening her own business, but marrying a man well above her station, John Davenport. Olivia, Helen, Ruby, and Amy-Rose have spent their entire lives doing what's expected of them, but with courage and determination, are ready to forge their paths.
When I saw that this was based on a real family from history, I knew I wanted to pick it up. I enjoyed the setting right off the bat. Marquis perfectly managed to showcase both the glamour and harshness of this period. We're following four main characters from different stations in life. There are the Davenport children, who grew up with a silver spoon and never really wanted anything. Then you have Ruby, whose family is struggling to stay afloat. Finally, you have Amy-Rose, who has had to work for every morsel given to her. With this, we get a sense of the class differences within the community. I worried about them all blurring together, but each had such a distinct personality. There were some pacing issues, but overall, I enjoyed following each along on their journeys of self-discovery.