By the Light of Embers

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 15 Jul 2019

Member Reviews

I received a digital copy from in exchange for a review.

A forbidden interracial relationship in the southern state of Louisiana during the 1950s
Was this review helpful?
I was drawn into this book immediately. I love period pieces involving women who feel out of place in their decade/period/life, as did Lucia and her yearning to become a doctor instead of settling into marriage and a life of homemaking. 

The turns the novel took were so well crafted - I did wish that the love story between Nicholas and Lucia was a bit more drawn out - it was one of those romances that were instantaneous and slightly unbelievable, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
Was this review helpful?
It's 1954, and twenty-two-year-old Lucia Lafleur has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps. While sock hops and poodle skirts occupy her classmates, she dreams of bacteria and broken bones—and the day she’ll finally fix them.

I am a sucker for any female protagonist who has to fight against social norms and society to obtain the same rights as her male counterparts. Lucia is on elf my favorite characters to date. I rooted for her, my heart broke fr her, and I celebrated her accomplishments.
Was this review helpful?
By the Light of the Embers transports the reader to 1954 Louisiana before segregation ended and racial tensions were exploding. Lucia Lafleur comes home for the summer from Philadelphia with her best friend Gretchen to decide whether to marry her fiancé or break it off and attend medical school, which was her dream. Lucia unexpectedly falls for Nicholas, a dark-skinned worker that was intelligent and quite well-read. His poetry and gentleness called to her soul and they became involved – a match that was forbidden at the time. She also regularly corresponded with a physician she knew from Philadelphia that detailed his troubled life and her feelings changed from disapproving to friendship. Her best friend Gretchen becomes involved with a white supremacist with a cruel and vengeful father.  All these story lines connect to bring the reader on a compelling and terrifying journey as racial violence erupts. The descriptions of Louisiana were incredible and the reader could visualize the beauty of the setting and the ugliness of the tension of the time. My only critique involves the long dialogue that was somewhat stilted and lengthy at times. 
I received the book from NetGalley and Briar Rose Publishing in exchange for an honest review. The book did not disappoint!
Was this review helpful?
There are some books I've read that will stay with me forever. This may be one of those books. It's a heartbreaking tragedy told with hope, resilience, and poetry woven into every phrase. For every literary lover out there, Nicholas is the embodiment of that love. He is beautiful and complicated and love personified. 

The plot is not one to be easily forgotten. It is hope filled with foreboding, and the ethereal beauty of the location is the ultimate counterbalance to the ugliness that lies beneath the surface. 

Shaylin Gandhi writes in poetry that masquerades as prose, her words evoking pictures and feelings that are amazingly dazzling and emotionally agonizing. I absorbed the words as one would greedily consume nourishment following near starvation, dreading what was to come while anxiously racing to the conclusion. It was exhausting. 

Metaphors and similes sing to me in a language so few speak with fluidity. Phrases like "night coalesced into a warm embrace," and " heat clenched around us like a wet fist," and " the sun heaved itself up out of the sea like a molten ruby" evoked some of the most simple yet sublime visions of a place transcendent — a place which both attracted and repelled me in equal measure.
Was this review helpful?
I wanted to like this because it was set in Louisiana, but as a Louisiana girl I just couldn’t buy it.  It threw in all possible conceptions of Louisiana in a gumbo that turned out to be foreign.  It wouldn’t, couldn’t have happened this way  Romanticize all you want, the occurrences in this book are impossible.  Gandhi is a talented writer - the word pictures drawn by her will take you away to a beautiful place and another time.  However, the circumstances in the book don’t match that time and place.  She tried to throw in too many things, even a little witchcraft, on a “plantation” frozen in time and ideas.  It read as though it was set in the early 1900’s, not 1954, and the “Southern gothic” was laid on a bit too thick.  The book just couldn’t quite decide what it wanted to be - love story?, women’s rights?, civil rights tension?, murder mystery?, fantasy?, - throw in racial hatred, pre-civil war values, secrets galore, misunderstandings, alcoholism, mother daughter misunderstandings, and more.  I think Gandhi needs a critical editor to help prune her free-ranging ideas!  But don’t take my word for it.  Read it and see what you think.  You just may love it like the other reviewers.
Thanks to Netgalley and Briar Rose Publishing for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Enjoyed this book. Kept me interested all the way through. Would recommend to a fellow reader.  Love the cover.
Was this review helpful?
By the Light of Embers by Shaylin Gandhi
For me, this novel was incredibly moving, powerful and beautiful. The author's elegant and stunning prose in this novel was awesome and truly appreciated. As well as the beautiful language, the author spins a fabulous tale of love, devotion, friendship, racism, and history. 

I loved all of the characters, even those that I thought were contemptible, as they added to the story. All of them were extremely well drawn and some were rather surprising. There were definite twists and turns in the plot as the multiple layers were stripped back and revelations made. With so much emotion, I was incredibly impressed with this book. Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Briar Rose Publishing via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
Was this review helpful?
This is the Story of Lucia Lafleur who is faced with an ultimatum at the beginning of the summer, and as she navigates her feelings at her parents' home, she meets someone who understands her.

I'm not going to lie, I did not like the first chapter, because it felt unrealistic for a child to act this way. After reading it I was less than enthusiasts to read the rest of the book and put it away for the day.

When I reached for it the next day, I forgot all about it, I was sucked into the story. I wanted to know more about the headstrong Lucia and her amazing and supporting friend Gretchen. 
This book is beautiful, I loved it.
It is a tale of love and hardships.

I would recommend it to anyone who loves to read about the following:
-Historical novels
-Slow burn romance
-Interracial Love
-Forbidden Love
-Racism (I always find it hard to read how ugly racism is, but I believe it's important to remember how bad it can go with ignorance)
-Strong friendship

I would recommend skipping it if you're not a fan of the following
-Violence(through the recounting of racism and other things)

I want to thank NetGalley for giving me a free copy in exchange of an honest review. The opinions expressed are all my own.
Was this review helpful?
It's 1954 in Louisiana, twenty-two-year-old Lucia Lafleur is a white woman who while her friends dream of girlhood crushes,poodle skirts and sock hops she has much more lofty expectations for herself. Becoming a doctor like her father and following in his footsteps. 
Her intended gives her an ultimatum, it's either him or studying medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Like it is expected of her at the time, women are to be homemakers and look after the children that come with marriage. She doesn't accept this as her lot in life but does go along with it, it's what's expected after all. Returning home to Louisiana she doesn't expect much that summer. Back home she is deeply contemplating what decision to make she isn't expected to do much besides be a genteel lady,gossip and sip sweet tea. When she meets a gentle soul, a poet who is a man of color who is intellectual and a balm to her soul she befriends him. You have to remember this is the 1950's racial tensions and inequality are running rampant in the south. 
This love of literature soon blossoms into something forbidden and bewitching. 
My heart bled reading this. A colored man was hung just for picking up a white woman's handkerchief and tapping her elbow to give it back to her. Where do you go when the law thinks they are above the law? Who is responsible for this hanging? That's right, the sheriff and his cronies. They are just saving the reputation of the lady they say, right!
This "secret" 1950's southern romance is destined to fail. How do I know that? Because in the 1950's interracial relationships were not "allowed". If you were run out of town you were one of the lucky ones. The consequences were usually much worse. I knew a tragedy was going to happen in this book. I just didn't know when or how and when it did my heart was just ripped apart!
I will have a hard time concentrating on another book after this one. This one will stay with me for a long time.
Published May 9th 2019 by Briar Rose Publishing.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley through Briar Rose Publishing. Thank you. All opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
First, I’d like to start off by congratulating the author on this precious gem being her debut novel. She’s made a stalker out of me.

What I look forward to most when I’m reading a historical romance is feeling like I’m part of the era the author has chosen to write about. I like to imagine myself being right there with the characters. How they live. Where they come from. How they dress. Learn new things I never new about, even after all the years of boring history class. The romance just makes it juicier. Specially if it’s forbidden. 

Although this story takes place in the 1940-50’s, and it really hasn’t been that long ago, it takes place in the south of America where slavery still existed and a women’s place was at home. So without further boring you with an essay/synopsis like review, picture our lead female being white and beautiful, but also smart and a big rebel. So unlike the women of the south. The male lead is black, underprivileged, but he hides so many secrets and is unlike the other black men in the story according to how a “negro” was supposed to act in the south. When these two are in the same room, they make their own fireworks happen. Two souls meeting, who are meant to be together, trying to change the world. I hope many of you will fall in love with this story as much as I have. Highly recommend it! 

Happy Readings 🤓
Was this review helpful?
Superb with beautiful imagery, and so much tension it hurts to swallow." ~The flow of the writing is a elegant and finely, woven producing a spellbinding novel the reader will not soon forget!!
Was this review helpful?
By the Light of Embers by Shaylin Gandhi
 By the Light of Embers penned by talented author, Shaylin Gandhi is one insightful, heartwarming, intelligent read but heartbreaking story.
This challenging narrative has been well written with vivid language, visuals, and rich characters. By the Light of Embers has a rich history focusing on the period dating back to the 1950s. The racial issues were distinctive teleporting the reader into a world of oppression, fear, and injustices which the younger college-educated generation often found difficult to swallow. The rich dialogue touched my heart. 
The character development was powerfully crafted. The settings were full-bodied and vibrant load with plenty of sensory elements. I fell in love with the main characters and the supporting cast members because they were strong and yet sometimes ruthless.
There were many life lessons embedded within the pages of this poignant novel about racial issues, women's issues surrounding having the women confronted with deciding between  love or career.
Was this review helpful?
Two confessions to start off my review. First, oftentimes I just click a request on Netgalley without reading the synopsis and I do remember thinking this was a fantasy. Second, I am shocked this book is not getting a bit more buzz. 

By the Light of Embers is a historical romance that takes readers to 1950's Louisiana. Lucia Lafleur and her best friend, Gretchen have recently graduated from college in Pennsylvania and return to Lucia's hometown for summer break. Lucia is hell bent on becoming a doctor like her father, but her fiancee has given her an ultimatum- him or medical school. In the midst of all this decision making, family matters and matters of the heart in that summer will shape Lucia's future.

I absolutely adored this book and its characters. Especially Lucia who was definitely a woman who wanted more than her society deemed. Also bestie Gretchen hooked me from the first chapter. I loved how she and Lucia supported each other even when they feared each other's decisions. By the Light of Embers deals with relationships, love, racism, and gender equality. The storyline was compelling and I really hope that more buzz emerges for this book. Personally, I cannot wait to see what Shaylin Gandhi writes next!

Publication Date 09/05/19
Goodreads Review 09/05/19

Thanks to Netgalley and Briar Rose Publishing for a digital galley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
I have absolutely no ounce of constructive criticism to give about this novel. It was eloquently written. A beautiful, dark, intriguing love story. The protagonist was breaking all the rules, and I was living for it. I am thrilled to get my hands on more books from this author!
Was this review helpful?
this book took alot of getting use and trying to read  it i was easily distracted and i was not understanding the plot it just dragged and dragged ,  I was really interested in the interracial part but it just wasnt my cup of tea .
Was this review helpful?
Lucia is a spitfire! She’s outspoken and does not mince her words so it’s no surprise really when her fiancee, Kip, wants her to choose between being a doctor and a housewife, what she’s going to choose. But her trip back home with her best friend Gretchen is the beginning of life, love, hatred, anger, loss and everything that you believe life could throw at you. She meets Nicholas and their’s is a friendship that slowly blossoms coupled with an event that spooked them years ago.

It’s a beautiful friendship and soon it blossoms into an understanding and finally love. And then it hits you, it’s 1954 in Lousiana and going by history black and white don’t mix and then just like that, when Lucia asks Nicholas what Robbie would do to him if he found out he was friends with her, he says “Oh, that’s easy,”…”He’d kill me.”

Look, there are books you read and you know it’s not going to end well. There are also books that you want to keep reading no matter how painful or heartbreaking or just downright unfair the endings are…because life’s got those moments and Shaylin Gandhi brings them out so well in her characters that you cannot help but grab that box of tissues and still smile in between scenes.

It’s amazing how she achieved such balance.

I saw this book on Netgalley and requested to read it and it’s been worth every tissue I tell you. The book’s out on May 9th 2019, you can also pre-order on amazon from as low as $3.99 and read about Lucia and Nicholas. Visit the author’s website for more: here
Was this review helpful?
Thus was a very interesting book. It was different than my usual books, but I did enjoy it.
The characters were very descriptive.
Was this review helpful?
Neat title that gives away nothing about the storyline, By the light of Embers, could represent sitting around a bonfire, looking into someone's soul, being illuminated by someone or something, basking into Nicholas ember eyes....

This is a love story scrutinized by racial differences and culture, it has a duality effect of post modern world but set in time. It had a choppy beginning but it picked up place somewhere in the middle  it could have had a better happier ending but it was apparent that it was not going to end well.

For you see, the reader is led to believe that Lucia has a strong willed character when she chooses a career in medicine over marriage to Kip,  she's accepted to medical school and before embarking into her studies she spends her summer with bff Gretchen in Louisiana where her parents have an estate.

Louisiana still treats blacks as servants, slaves to these white supremacist families .  Lucia falls totally and utterly in love with Nicholas a poet, avid reader and childhood friend.  She is drawn to him like a magnet and sneaks to meet him, she risks her safety and his life just to be with him.  She plans on leaving to go to Philadelphia with him but Robbie a rich arrogant friend of the family interjects their plans .  Ultimately he kills Nicholas.  

What enters me about this story is Lucia's cowardness, she should have stood up for her man even though he is black, she should have protected him and the new life she was carrying. I'm sorry this book left me in a bad bad way, and for that I cannot give credit to the author she should have had deeper sense of conviction and honour, even if stories must and sadly there should have been closure  maybe a impedus for change  in a world where love surpasses any obstacles.
Was this review helpful?
This book was very predictable and the characters acted very dumb at most times. You love him so much you're willing to put his life at risk every time you see him? Okay. Also, a fully furnished castle in the woods no one knows about? Sure. You know your BFF's boyfriend is basically in the Klan but you;re not going to mention that to her? Some weird albino leopard is cursing people? Unnecessary.
Was this review helpful?