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The Color of the Soul

(The Penbrook Diaries #1)

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4.26  ·  Rating details ·  918 ratings  ·  84 reviews
The story of an old woman's need for forgiveness, a young man's drive to succeed, and the history that links them both will keep readers enthralled from beginning to end. A Pandora's box opens when reporter Andy Carmichael, too light-skinned for acceptance by blacks and too dark-skinned for acceptance by whites, is sent to Georgia to interview Miss Penbrook, an icon of ...more
Kindle Edition, 427 pages
Published June 15th 2013 by Amazon Digital Services, Inc. (first published October 1st 2005)
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  918 ratings  ·  84 reviews


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Cynthia
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an intricate story about a young man's accidental discovery of his heritage while recording the memoirs of an elderly southern woman. The story moves between the young black man's misadventures in the segregated south in the late forties and the story of a light skinned black women during the civil war and post slavery days. There are love stories that touch your heart and injustices inflicted on poor blacks and sympathetic whites that make you want to throw the book. Throughout you ...more
Jerry
Sep 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
This book was a mess. Too many storylines, and rather confusing narratives. This one was no favorite of mine.
Deb Todd
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Great read!

A multi-generational saga of a black and white family set in the post civil war South. A story of inter-racial love forbidden by hatred, fear and violence.

I look forward to book 2 in this series.
MrzTerrell
Oct 24, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
i really enjoyed this book!!!!! im almst finished w/ book 2....if anyone cld recommnd othrs books like this (african american, slavery diary fiction) i wld greatly appreciate it :)
Boundless Book Reviews
I've had this book tucked away on my kindle for a while now. I got it as one of those freebies from an email. I decided to read it now because I just wanted a touch of history. I love historical fiction and books based in the time of and around the Civil War. If you love historical fiction then you will love this book.

This book follows a black man, a black slave woman, and the whites that ruled the world that they live in. It paints a very vivid picture of the subject of slavery. The good and
...more
Barbara
This story about several generations of the Penbrook family was well-written and held my interest throughout. It goes back and forth between two different eras, and realistically depicts the views on race that people in the north and those in the south held at different times, and also the tough choices that were sometimes made, rightly or wrongly. Though difficult to read in spots, readers can't help but examine their own racial viewpoints during the course of this book.
Natalie Robey
Feb 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent! Our soul to God is not black or white. Our soul either belongs to him or it doesn't. He does not look at the color of our skin.
The characters in this story captured my heart. I felt their struggles. Blacks living in a world that did not value them. Some did not even value themselves or where they had come from.
Susie Seeber
Excellent multigenerational novel

Great story with lessons to be learned. Worked hard to keep all the family relationships in sequence but it was well written
Alice  Wallace
Aug 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Although it was a bit difficult to keep up with the characters and their relationships to each other (mostly because of the wide time-span between storylines), I found the story compelling and ultimately somewhat surprising in the end. I liked how the author set up the story and the manner with which the secrets unfold. As a Christian, I appreciated the inclusion of several characters who were strong in their faith. This point was made in a very legitimate fashion and didn't feel contrived.
The
...more
Margaret
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Amazing story

Anyone of African American heritage knows the struggle of light skin vs. dark skin; the feeling of hatred because of your skin tone; the feeling of fear of being in the wrong place. The stories as told by Andy and the diaries weave a tale of love, hatred, jealousy and sacrifice. Each of the characters touches a part of the heart and in the end, the story brings them all together. This was an excellent read!
Dianne Sidebottom
Nov 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I'm sure this book covered historical facts of what it was like to be in the US whether the skin was black, white, coloured in between. To me it was emotional story reflecting back over ones life and asking someone to write the memoirs. Finally finding his connection. Certainly a different story today with different races marrying and having children born of a new shade of skin colour but I guess from this story the child today has to choose which colour he/ she is inside.
Reader
Nov 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
I really hate racial slurs and there are some in this book. I understand why the author put them in there. This is historical fiction that deals with racial issues. I know the author put those in there to make it realistic. Still don't really like that part. But other than that this is a good Christian historical fiction book and it held my attention all the way through.
Louise Child
Dec 06, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was ok

The book was an easy read .It wasn't particularly original , trying to be a warped family saga .The ends were all tied up neatly,marriage saved ,the right people dying ,finding god etc .I won't read the next in the series.
Debbie Lindquist
Jul 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Heartwarming

I have read several novels about the Civil War and Slavery. This perhaps the best. I was completely enthralled with the story and where the twists & turns took me. It was a wonderful journey .
I highly recommend and look forward to Book 2.
Tony
Jul 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books I've ever read!!!
TAMAYA
Apr 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great read

I really enjoyed this book. It had many twist, turns & lessons to take with you throughout life. I’m proud to be who I am unapologetically.
Tina Weaver
Feb 27, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story written in the past and then about 70 years later. Andy is asked to travel from Chicago, IL to the deep south at the request of a woman to have her memoirs written.
Andy's trip is an education that the South has not changed since the war. The north is very different than the south and he has to face that bias and hatred pointed at himself.
As he reads the woman's journals he discovers life after the civil war isn't much different that what it was in the late 1800's. The relationships
...more
Debbi
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Takes place in 1948 but skips back to the pre-Civil War and Civil War eras for much of the story. You have to pay attention but it's not bad to keep everyone straight and it is worth it. It's about Andy, a mixed race, white & black, boy of 10 who is sent to Chicago to live with a well-off white family. The reason? His black mother had an affair with a white man and her black husband was going to kill Andy with the beatings he gave him. Forward to 1948 and Miss Penbrook wants Andy and only ...more
Andrea Norton
Very rarely do I give a book 5 stars but this book earned it. I was mesmerized from the moment I started reading. The characters were well developed and I found myself easily able to relate to many of them. I enjoyed the way the author incorporated the journals of three women into the book in order to bring the past to life. The frequent switch from one time period to another wasn't confusing but was so well written that it made the story more interesting. I enjoyed fitting the pieces of the ...more
Connie S. Jones
Jan 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Color Of The Soul

Oh Andy, what a tangled Webb life weaves. When you search to find out the changes so many lives went through in the 1800's in the deep south. It was ruff for some and grand for some, as Andy learns of his childhood life while researching Cat's life so he can write a book about her life ahange the lies Cat lived so everyone would know the real truth. What a story, I'm ready for the second book. Very good well written. I probably would have read it straight through if there
...more
Debra Torgerson
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There is no make or female, black or white in God's eyes. We are all the same.

What can I say excellent book. Ms Bateman does a excellent job in the writing of this story. It shows how racism has hurt both black and white. I found myself smiling and crying reading this. The story takes place in the mid 1800's and the mid 1900's. The story of a family that has secrets that are allowed to surface. The characters are well developed. I recommend this book highly. Well written. It does show how a
...more
Grace
Sep 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this historical account. And was totally shocked by the end.At times I found the brutality suffered by the slaves in the 1900's and even the negroes in the 40's, was just so despicable. It made me so sad and angry at times to see that prejudice run rampant. A great historical novel and loved to see how God was with the many generations. And how all was brought full circle at the end. Great read!
Angie
Aug 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Diane , Jill
Once again I am faced with writing a review that will not do a book justice !
Tracey Bateman weaves such a beautiful historical southern tale spanning many generations in The Color Of The Soul . Despite the book taking place in the 1800's through the 1940's , it is so easy to feel a real connection to the characters . The descriptive writing is spot on , not only with locations , but events as well .
I pray the second book in this series is as well written .
Betti
Oct 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What color is your soul? The author does a wonderful job of making one consider this question. Through the many twists and turns that people travel through in life, how can we know? As humans we refer to people as one color or another, but what color does that make their soul?
A lovely book that requires the reader to consider what physical color some of the characters really are, and how does this affect the color of their soul!?
Lyndi
Nov 25, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another former book club book. And again the first book I have read by this author. Set in both the 1800’s and the 1940’s, a young black man is called to the south to write memoirs of an old lady about to die. It is sad all the struggles and racial discrimination went on in the south during these times. This is the first in the Pembrook Diaries series.
denise
Nov 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Color

This is one of the most fascinating books I've ever read!! Color of the Soul is a book you do not set down.
How people hate because of the color of your skin is beyond my comprehension. You can feel Cats shame, embarrassment, pride and love.
Have to have book two to continue this read. Many thanks to the author.
Kristina Seleshanko
Descent plot, although not far removed from other books that attempt to cover race relations in the 19th and early 20th century. I found the writing surprisingly tedious at times. Characters are always feeling hot ears or stomachs, phrases repeated...that kind of thing. The Kindle version is also far from error free, with many instances of missing words or typos.
Laura
It was alright. I always feel so sad for the slave girls and how they were sexually abused by their masters and forced to carry their babies. Such a sad and dark stain in American history. The stroy line was really good and it was interesting reading how all the family connections were made through the generations. All in all an ok read.
Laurel
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't in the mood for something heavy at the time my book club chose this book, so I was a bit reluctant to start. But I was drawn in by all the positive reviews and was pleasantly surprised. This is a very well written story with great character development. I appreciate how the story was tied up at the end.
Vivian
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
A bit scattered but...

The author wrote this book giving the intention that it was both modern time(1940) and through diaries written in the mid 1800's. It leaves you feeling a bit scattered at times but the end result is a well written book about slavery, forgiveness and redemption.
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Tracey Bateman is also published as Tracey Cross, is the Christy award-winning author of more than thirty titles and has nearly a million books in print. She lives in Missouri's Ozarks with her husband and four children.

Other books in the series

The Penbrook Diaries (2 books)
  • Freedom of the Soul (The Penbrook Diaries #2)