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Posted July 27, 2014
Reviewed by Patsy Glans for Readers' Favorite
Noonday Flower by Carla C. Ohse is about an African-American girl, Noonday Flower, and a poor, uneducated white boy, Bookie. They go to school together, are always together and they don't give much thought to the prejudices around them in Walhalla, Michigan in the early 1930s. As they reach adulthood, Noonday wants more out of life than what is possible in the area. The fact she isn't white makes it twice as hard for her to achieve her dreams. Bookie is blinded by his love for Noonday. He does not understand why she is hell bent on leaving, but he asks her to marry him. Noonday says yes but puts off making a firm date for the wedding. She knows if they marry she will never fulfill her desires. She leaves to go to college and promises to come back, but she rarely does. Bookie is heart broken. Did Noonday make the right decision for her future?
It was interesting to learn about Idlewild, Michigan, in the early part of the 20th century. It was a year round resort where African-Americans could visit and even live. Back in those days, there were very few places African-Americans were welcomed. A lot of musicians came there to play and plenty of them became famous due to Idlewild. When the 1964 Civil Rights Act opened, the boom of Idlewild slowly diminished. It is still in operation but more as a retirement community than a vacation resort.
Noonday Flower is the debut novel of Carla C. Ohse. There are many layers to this book and each one has a story to tell. The multiple layers are not overwhelming in the least for the interested reader. The characters were sweet, some were quirky, all of them were poor, but they helped each other in any way they could to have a beautiful life. Carla C. Ohse has always been interested in the history of Idlewild, and through her research has written a wonderful story honoring those that had to put up with all types of prejudices.