Book Review: The Color of the Soul and Freedom of the Soul
Very rarely do I pick up a book where I am completely enthralled from the first page.
However that was the case with the Penbrook Diaries series by Tracey Bateman.
The Color of the Soul is the first book in the series. Andy Carmichael travels to racially charged Georgia, to interview an old woman before she passes. In the process of discovering Miss Penbrook’s story, he stumbles across some old journals detailing the life of the Penbrook family in the years leading up to the Civil War through to the new century. Along the way, Andy learns a number of truths about himself, while dealing with prejudice and racial tensions in the south.
The Freedom of the Soul is the conclusion to the series. Shea Penbrook leaves the sad memories of her life in Oregon, to claim what she feels is her inheritance in Atlanta. Along the way, she is shocked by the racial tensions in the south. She also befriends Andy and his friends and family we are introduced in the first book. She also meets Chicago based, Jonas Riley, who is forced to provide her with a place to live. However, neither one trust the others, resulting in some beautiful dialogue. In this novel, the diary passages are a prequel to The Color of the Soul, while the events taking place in the 1940s, are a sequel to the tensions that built up with Andy and other characters in the first novel.
In both books, Tracey Bateman does a beautiful job of seamlessly weaving back and forth between the 1840s and 1940s.
Mrs. Bateman leaves you wanting more and craving to know what happens with the characters.
She tackles a difficult subject, dealing with the issue of slavery and bigotry in the 1840s. In the 1940s, the tensions are just as racial strong as the Klan decides to exact their own warped sense of justice.
The storytelling is flawless between the scenes. Each of the characters learn valuable lessons about themselves and their family throughout the novel. I love how the characters are not perfect, but flawed with their own problems.
You can feel the emotional charge of the characters and tensions, in the skillful balance of drama, discovery and love that unfolds.
Themes such as bigotry, hate and forgiveness are beautifully fleshed out through the characters and dialogue.
My only complaint about the book was that it ended. I longed to know more about the characters and what happened to them once the story ended. I felt like I was saying goodbye to an old friend.
*Note: These books have been out for several years, but I loved them so much I had to tell you about them. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did.