The Davenports

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Modern Age

The Davenports
Author: Marquis, Krystal
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Time Period: Modern Age
Time Frame: 1910
Geographic Area: North America
Country: United States
Topics: African American History, Great Migration, Civil Rights
Genre: Fiction
Reading Age: Young Adult, Adult
Format: Novel
Published: 2023

American History > Modern Age > African American History

The Davenports delivers a totally escapist, swoon-worthy romance while offering a glimpse into a period of African American history often overlooked.

"A fresh, utterly enchanting read.” —Ayana Gray, New York Times bestselling author of the Beasts of Prey trilogy.

The Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in a changing United States, their fortune made through the entrepreneurship of William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who founded the Davenport Carriage Company years ago. Now it's 1910, and the Davenports live surrounded by servants, crystal chandeliers, and endless parties, finding their way and finding love—even where they’re not supposed to.

There is Olivia, the beautiful elder Davenport daughter, ready to do her duty by getting married . . . until she meets the charismatic civil rights leader Washington DeWight and sparks fly. The younger daughter, Helen, is more interested in fixing cars than falling in love—unless it’s with her sister’s suitor. Amy-Rose, the childhood friend turned maid to the Davenport sisters, dreams of opening her own business—and marrying the one man she could never be with, Olivia and Helen’s brother, John. But Olivia’s best friend, Ruby, also has her sights set on John Davenport, though she can’t seem to keep his interest . . . until family pressure has her scheming to win his heart, just as someone else wins hers.

Inspired by the real-life story of the Patterson family, The Davenports is the tale of four determined and passionate young Black women discovering the courage to steer their own path in life—and love.

Emily's Review

I really enjoyed this, which is saying something, because I generally don't read romance. I was nervous when I saw it being compared to Bridgerton, which was decidedly not for me. However, while this does definitely fit into the romance category, I found that there was enough happening to keep me engaged.

The novel revolves around the perspectives of four black women in 1910-era Chicago. Olivia and Helen Davenport, Olivia's best friend Ruby, and Amy-Rose, lady's maid to Olivia and Helen. Each of the characters was well-crafted and interesting in her own right. I found their individual dramas to be compelling enough, and I'm curious to see what the author does in a potential sequel.

However, what kept it from being a perfect 5-star for me was that it felt a little too formulaic. Each of the romances were pretty similar, and while they didn't all end in the same way, it felt a little bit predictable. I would have also loved to get more historical information - there were moments where things were mentioned, particularly regarding civil rights and activism, and the Davenport father's escape from slavery, but I would have loved it if there were more history in this story. There was so much potential! Maybe in the sequel?

Overall, I thought this was a fun read and I look forward to reading whatever Krystal Marquis writes in the future!

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