The End of the Line by Jim Power
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The End of the Line by Jim Power is a powerful romantic novel that has some historical overtones. I won't recap the story, you can read what the author wrote for yourself however I will tell you that even if your normal genre is not romance, don't discount this novel because I just couldn't put it down. It is written in such a way with all the layers that come into play in this romance not only captures your mind but it captures your heart as well.
The main Characters, Latesha (African-American) and Peter (white) are developed fully for the reader to understand the novel without having to know every little detail about them since the day they were born. The author managed to convey this in a way that doesn't stall the progress of the story or fill it with unnecessary information which kept the story flowing nicely. I found that I had a connection with the main characters but more so with Latesha and throughout the story can feel her pain and turmoil as well as her happiness and excitement.
The secondary (main character's parents) and other characters (basically two communities) are developed just as well in the story and the author pulls this off without the reader having to remember a whole town full of people and who did what and who thought what. As the reader, I knew exactly who was who and where they stand as well as what they felt without having to flip back into the story to try and remember where this person came from or what s/he did. The author's ability to do this made for an easy read, flowing story that gets the 'points' across without having to complicate the story with a bunch of characters or names.
Being a romance this story had many bumps and turns along the way which covered realistic subjects still prevalent today. The most dominant ones being prejudice, racism, and belligerence. Of course there are also personal hurdles that both main characters' families must get over in their own lives. Peter's high society mother who thinks that money and social status is everything and even uses the threats of cutting Peter out of her will has a very interesting lesson to learn. Then there is Latesha's father who in reality is dealt a hard hand of cards when he was hurt on the job. Unfortunately these cards only reinforces his less than favorable view of whites. He still is holding slavery (although he wasn't a slave, his ancestors were) as fuel for this 'against whites attitude' so this more recent event only adds more timber to that fire.
I also want to add that although there is no denying that this is a romance, the main layer of this story is about Latesha's and Peter's developing love for each other and the most interesting thing I found is there is no sex in it. The most that happens is kissing but in no way does this make it any less romantic. In fact, because of the way it is written and the tone it sets, sex would have been totally out of place and cheapen the characters in my opinion. I thought this was a gutsy move on the author's part and he pulled it off perfectly.
The historical aspect in the novel is about the underground railroad and "The End of the Line" being in Canada which is where this novel takes place. Although the underground railroad (which was not underground nor a railroad) came up from southern states through the northern states to Canada. The northern states were 'free' states but slaves still could be caught and transported back to their owners (or killed) however not so in Canada. Any slaves that made it to Canada were free. There is a real significant reason this event is the undertone of this novel. Not only because of the obvious reasons which the book is named for (some I can't say due to writing spoilers) but because of the sacrifices made by whites to aid in hiding and transporting these slaves until they can get to freedom which is often a fact that is overlooked.
Then again, maybe the book isn't named because of the last stop on the underground railroad known as "The End of the Line". Maybe it is because both main characters are only children, the end of their family line. Or maybe because it is through these characters that racial barriers are cast aside and it is the end of the line for both these families living with prejudice and discrimination. Then again, maybe it is all these reasons. It really doesn't matter which it is, it is a beautifully written novel which made me all the better as a person for reading it. I highly recommend it for everyone.
*I received a free copy by the author for my honest review. This free copy did not affect my review in any way.
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