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Reviewer: Tiffany M. Davis
A PLEASANTLY ROOTED EXPERIENCE
TAGS: Lloyd G. Francis, Jamaica, rum, immigration
From Rum to Roots is the first fiction effort by author Lloyd G. Francis, who has a following due to his blogs about Jamaican herbal remedies. This historical fiction novel follows Linton, the illegitimate son of a plantation owner and Daisy, the willful middle daughter of a diminished family in Kingston, as they eventually immigrate from Jamaica to America and their resultant lives. Daisy eventually meets Linton on a blind date set up by mutual friends, and their marriage is considered a new beginning for both. They become American citizens and fully embrace the many opportunities found in their adopted homeland. However, opportunity comes at a price, one that Daisy willingly pays by leaving her past firmly behind her. When past meets present, Daisy is on the verge of losing everything she thought she’d treasured.
Francis does an excellent job of weaving the backdrop of colonial Jamaica, in the times before Bustamante and Norman Manley rose to power. The story is a layered one, with juxtapositions of colonialism vs. independence, duty vs. personal happiness, family vs, riches. Francis is also adept at bringing out the nuances of Linton, who is the novel’s focal character. Linton’s complex character stands as a foil to Daisy’s more one-dimensional depiction. In this, the novel lacks because Daisy’s behavior is more predictable, which sometimes detracts from the story. However, the author weaves an overall enjoyable story that is rich in history and moral quandary.
Tiffany M. Davis is the Senior Editor of QBR: The Black Book Review. She has been published in anthologies and The Backlist newsletter, and has contributed her award-winning writing and editorial services to clients that include National Geographic, Sodexho, the American Society for Cell Biology, and Triple Crown Publications. A graduate of Georgetown University and a former chef trained at the Culinary Institute of America, she currently lives in Georgia.