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An orphan and outcast from an early age, Sugar Lacey is a loner with a lot of secrets. She brings controversy and confusion to the small town of Bigelow, Arkansas in 1955, but in the process, meets an unlikely friend in neighbor and upstanding citizen Pearl Taylor. The two form a bond that can’t be shaken by the disapproval of the town, and serve to strengthen and support each other in every way they can. Before the conclusion of the novel, Pearl learns why her mysterious new friend reminds her so much of Jude, Pearl’s deceased daughter, who was raped and killed years before. There is no shortage of dark drama and pulse-quickening suspense in this amazing debut novel from McFadden.

Sugar has been met with acclaim from both critics and readers, and its novelist has garnered praise from all over the world. An interesting fact: While the book is based in a rural Black community, McFadden herself was not raised in the south, but was born and bred in Brooklyn, New York. Her clear voice and masterful use of imagery and dialect all convey a sense of reality to the reader. McFadden captivates wholly in Sugar; its success was followed by a sequel, “This Bitter Earth,” in 2002. McFadden’s fans eagerly anticipate the soulful and provocative author’s next offering.

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S. Willis is a native Virginian. She is the author of a children’s book, “The Little Adventures of Bella and DJ,” which will be released in May 2011 (visit www.WordsByWillis.com to pre-order).

Want to recommend a book for S. Willis to review? Email your suggestions to: Samantha@wordsbywillis.com

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