1. When Stars Rain Down
    Angela Jackson Brown
    Thomas Nelson / 2021 / Trade Paperback
    Our Price$13.49 Retail Price$17.99 Save 25% ($4.50)
    4 out of 5 stars for When Stars Rain Down. View reviews of this product. 6 Reviews
    Availability: In Stock
    Stock No: WW240442
4.2 Stars Out Of 5
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  1. Gretchen Garrison
    4 Stars Out Of 5
    1930's Georgia from a young black woman's perspective
    November 20, 2021
    Gretchen Garrison
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 3
    "I wanted to hear the voice of a Colored woman who reminded me in some ways of my granny. I wanted the comfort of blackness, not the choking sensation that whiteness made me feel."

    This is such a powerful book. Reading about the 1930's through the eyes of a black girl in Georgia was eye opening. I would not call this an easy book since it tackles racism and subsequent mistreatment. But the characters are so compelling that they draw you into the story - even those people you do not want to like.

    Looking at life through another person's eyes brings the story to life. I am glad that the book is only told from Opal's perspective - a 17 year old black servant. Others add their opinions, but her thoughts are what help the reader to understand the situations. One cannot help but appreciate a hard working, loyal young lady who is simply trying to find her place in the world.

    I liked the historic element - how the book was connected to real life situations. I really liked how a famous baseball player and his wife played cameo roles. Separation did happen at one time, and I liked how they both stepped forward to make a difference.

    This was real life almost 100 years ago - we need to understand, so that racism does not keep happening. I appreciated the strong families and communities that were portrayed - Opal knew that she was loved. There is so much that I could mention that I liked about this book, but I do not want to spoil any of the plot.

    I could identify the most with Lori Beth - a white girl who truly wants to be friends and wants to make a positive difference. The problem is that she is not really willing to listen. She has ideas that she is convinced will help. But when Opal and Granny try to tell her that her idea was more hurtful than helpful, she proceeded forward anyway. That can definitely be me. I think I have the right idea, but I think I understand situations that I will never completely relate to because I am white.

    Overall I LOVED the book and feel like I could recommend it. But there is one key component that overrides all of the good - the element of faith. Particularly what Granny calls "hodoo." A healer plays a part in this storyline. Largely she is misunderstood and does seem to actually believe in the God of the Bible. And I did not mind some of the "potions" that she handed out as the connection to medicinal herbs from Africa added to the heritage part of the story.

    BUT the characters are encouraged to trust in those compounds and in trinkets. It is implied that trusting God will not completely save you - something extra is needed. Opal despairs because she thinks she could have avoided a tragic situation if she would have gone a different direction with a particular pouch that would provided protection.

    This is only one element that takes away from an overall well-written book. But to me, I ultimately decided that it is a big one. I still recommend this book, and I am definitely glad that I read it. But readers, especially Christians, need to recognize in advance that the "trust in God to save you" is a bit muddy since other factors are also encouraged. My final rating on this one, simply because of the faith factor, is 3.8 stars. The rest of the book deserves a 5 star rating, but I can't give it that due to the fact that I think this fictional title's emphasis on "hodoo" could draw the reader away from understanding the need to trust in God.
  2. SC
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Beautifully written!
    June 23, 2021
    SC
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Beautifully written, this book goes on my list of top reads of the year. Opal Pruitt is one of the most memorable characters I have encountered in awhile. Her strong voice practically jumped off the page and held me captive until the end of her story.

    Ms. Brown has penned a memorable story that reflects the heartache and lasting effects of racism that is just as relatable today as it was in the past. Told in first person, the reader is able to experience Opal's heartache and struggles of coming-of-age in 1936 in the South, riding the roller-coaster of emotions that accompany young love amidst a setting of hatred and bigotry. Tucked between the pages of a story filled with family and a strong sense of community, hope and joy, heartache and grief, is a strong faith thread that shines in the darkest moments.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  3. Faye
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Female
    3 Stars Out Of 5
    Hesitant to Recommend, Compelling
    May 23, 2021
    Faye
    Age: 25-34
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 3
    Value: 3
    Meets Expectations: 3
    Growing up in the small town of Parsons, Georgia, Opal Pruitt is content to work alongside her grandmother as a housekeeper. But the Ku Klux Klan's activity awakens racial tensions that force both sides to acknowledge what has been simmering under the surface in the aftermath of reconstruction.

    A coming of age read, set in the summer of 1936. This is a well written read that explores themes of religion, family, growing up and race relations in the South. Poignant and heartbreaking, this book deals with difficult things, and features strong feminine characters. Opal is a compelling character who finds her strength over the course of the book, and I loved her close knit family, and Granny, who is always looking out for her.

    But while this book does so many things right there were some details that gave me a serious pause. There is a "hoodoo" woman, Miss Lovenia, who helps with natural remedies that some people fear, she states that she is a non-practicing practicing Catholic. Granny, a devout Christian, doesn't approve of her and she sets Opal ill at ease at times. Her practices come off as New Age, and Omnist, and she states in one instance, "The Creator answers by many names. Allah, Yaweh, Elohim, El Roi....So many names...Then of course there are the other deities. Those who ruled the heavens and earth long before Jesus was a glimmer in the Creator's eye." Though Granny and Opal are both dubious of her, it is implied throughout the book that she does possess "the sight" and that she states her work are of God. Another time she says, "I listen to the spirits and I listen to God, and, to be honest the are one and the same." Also, when Opal is recalling the teachings of Reverend Perkins, "What if, like Reverend Perkins said, God was everything and everything was God?" Which is a statement that is in line with pathesism.

    Overall, I wanted so much to highly recommend this book, but the serious erroneous teachings make it hard for me to recommend this book as it is being marketed as a Christian book, while espousing New Age, panthesistic, and Omnistic beliefs. The story is compelling as are the characters, in a turbulent time in history when many horrific crimes occurred over color and race. If you are still interested in reading this book, I would recommend it more as general market historical fiction, and say to beware of more mainstream handling of religion.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

    *Note: I wrote this review the way that I did because I know that a majority of the people reading my reviews are looking for recommendations of Christian fiction.
  4. KavR
    Canada
    Gender: female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Heartbreaking and hopeful
    April 22, 2021
    KavR
    Canada
    Gender: female
    Heartbreaking and hopeful. I've been stunned into silence by the poignant beauty of Jackson-Brown's prose. Her words catapulted me into a world of blistering heat and aching sorrow and the loving warmth of family and friends as Opal navigates a difficult journey into womanhood.

    I really am speechless since there's so much I'd like to say but am wary of posting spoilers so I can't. This would definitely make an incredible book club selection for older teens and adults alike. There is so much grit and faith and infinite wisdom within these pages. And an unflinching look at the harsh realities of racism. A timely reminder and wake up call for us in this day and age as well.

    Simply stunning.
  5. Blessed N Bookish
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: Female
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    A Memorable Historical Novel
    April 21, 2021
    Blessed N Bookish
    Age: 35-44
    Gender: Female
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    When Stars Rain Down by Angela Jackson-Brown is a Southern historical fiction set in the 1930s in small-town Georgia. The story follows Opal Pruitt as she comes of age--finding love, responsibility, and freedom as well as fear, hate, and pain.

    Opal's story gripped me from the very beginning. It is incredibly raw and genuine, and I stayed up late on more than one occasion to keep reading. This story and its insights into the fear and destruction hate can cause are timely and welcome. The characters are vivid and memorable. The history, while sometimes dark, was blended into the story seamlessly. And even though some of the words used may be uncomfortable to read, they are true to the time and necessary to create the proper environment for the story.

    This is my first novel by Angela Jackson-Brown, and I hope I get to read her work again soon. She really brought the entire town of Parsons, Georgia to life for me. Any fan of historical fiction will enjoy this story.

    I was given a copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review. All opinions are my own.

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