Little’s painstaking research on the decades covered in this story, from the 1940s to the present, is evident, and the narrative is clear-eyed about the scourge of racism. After Carrie’s father has a confrontation with a group of threatening white men, her mother and siblings depart for safety in another state; “the plan was that Daddy and I were going to meet them…. That never happened.” Carrie is clear-eyed about power relations, too: “Though Daddy knew I was a learned young lady who commanded respect, he still believed that a male human was predisposed to do life’s heavy lifting.” The author pulls no punches in dealing with intense topics, from to Carrie’s rape by Butler to the casual cruelty of Southern whites during this period. It will be hard for readers to remain dry-eyed as they experience the injustice leveled at the book’s Black characters.
Little also has a deft hand with plotting (particularly when Tommy Joe’s actual murderer is unveiled) and a talent for creating memorable characters, especially Dicie’s adopted grandson Baby Boy and her colorful lawyer, Louis Bilal, who scorns Dicie’s anonymous accusers by quipping, “I hope the rattling of their cheap dentures won’t be a distraction in the courtroom.” This outstanding novel will have readers ensnared from the first page to the last.
Takeaway: This outstanding novel, examining American racism through the experiences of an exceptional woman, will ensnare readers.
Great for fans of: Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Isabel Wilkerson’s The Warmth of Other Suns, Alex Haley’s Roots.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A
"The Bootlegger's Mistress provides its readers an inside look at the all-too-many atrocities inflicted on Southern blacks by ruling class whites whose ignorance belies their humanity. For sure, it will be a compelling read for the many African Americans and their families who were the victims of the land grabs, rapes and other belittling behaviors thrust upon them solely because of their race. While Dicie Caughman's story tells of her successful escape from Tommy Joe Butler, her family nemesis, and her subsequent career as a newspaper publisher, it is, nevertheless, a tale of great heartbreak, lost love and haunting memories of the past. Surprisingly, perhaps, Marc Curtis Little serves as the voice of his main character,a female, quite an undertaking for a male author. But he more than meets the challenge. His book is both an eye-opener and a page-turner."
THE BOOTLEGGER'S MISTRESS TELLS A SOCIAL JUSTICE TALE
(Jacksonville, FL)---Whenever author Marc Curtis Little is asked about his latest novel, The Bootlegger's Mistress, his response is simple: A streetwise African American teenager departs racially polarized Anderson, South Carolina in the 1940s, assumes the identity of her alter ego while living a good life in the seemingly more friendly Newark, New Jersey, leaving behind deep-rooted family secrets.
"I began writing this book nearly three years ago, long before the explosion of protests centering on police brutality and racial inequality we are seeing today. As I wrote and re-wrote as civil demonstrations grew in the country, I began to recall my personal recollection of what I experienced as a child of the fifties and sixties growing up in Newark, New Jersey," Little, who worked as a broadcast journalist and public relations counselor for 45 years, said. "I found my thinking becoming compromised as I worked on the book and witnessing the daily events. The plague of Covid-19 did not help matters."
The Bootlegger's Mistress tells the story of Carrie Lacey and the heartbreak she experiences while watching her mother and siblings leave her behind with her ailing father in Anderson, South Carolina. Later, Carrie is forced to leave when racial animus literally comes to the front door of their home, threatening their lives. Carrie's womanhood begins in Jacksonville, Florida and it flourishes as she becomes a respected businesswoman in her adopted hometown of Newark, New Jersey. She, however, cannot shake the memories of her twisted childhood, which brings her to the conclusion that she has to set the record straight after nearly eighty years.
"Though I am resisting to say the book is taken from a true story, it is deeply personal to me because of its relation to The Great Migration, which was the decades-long movement of six million African Americans from the racially oppressive South to the so-called economic opportunity-laden North during much of the twentieth century. My parents and their families were part of that journey. The Bootlegger's Mistress could be a chapter in their journals," Little said.