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The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology

(Migrations of the Heart 0.5)

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3.92  ·  Rating details ·  101 ratings  ·  31 reviews
The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology, with a foreword by the inimitable Beverly Jenkins, brings you four novellas highlighting love, light, and hope set over a period of history that’s often left in the shadows.

Amazing Grace, by Lena Hart:
It’s the year 1866—the Civil War is over and slavery has ended. Life for 18-year-old Gracie Sh
...more
200 pages
Published June 1st 2015 by Seditious Sisters
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  101 ratings  ·  31 reviews


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The CurvyJones
May 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
K.J. Charles
This is a remarkable collection. A few thoughts:

a) I don't know much in depth about the slavery period of US history (I'm a white Brit) and I don't like what I learned. The backstory of one freed slave in 'Drifting to You' was pretty nearly unbearable to read, to the point where it almost overwhelmed the story. Except, that is the point of this collection: the unbelievable, grotesque injustice done to people and the strength of those who not just survived it but actually made themselves g
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SmartBitches
Full review at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books

Reviewing anthologies is always difficult for me. I’m never sure if I should give a grade for the collection as a whole, even if some of the stories didn’t grab me, or if I should grade the story that rocked my world and mention the others. Anthologies are awesome – I love novellas and short stories – but also tricky.

So here’s the deal with this one: I loved the last story in this anthology so much. SO MUCH. I sent screen cap texts of fun
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Harper Miller
Jun 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Well done anthology! Read some new to me authors and found myself highly entertained. Deep subject matter but handled with care and brutal honesty. The writing style of each author is quite fierce. I'd highly recommend giving this anthology a whirl.
Reese Ryan
Jun 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
A strong anthology consisting of four tales of love strong enough to overcome even the fiercest obstacles. Despite the length, each story feels complete and satisfying.

Lena Hart's tale of an interracial romance that develops between two unlikely people with a common thread explores the lives of a strong heroine willing to sacrifice everything for her family and the man who is willing to sacrifice everything for the woman he loves.

Kianna Alexander weaves a tale of two former slaves,
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DeAnna Knippling
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: authors-of-color
The first two stories were good but didn't make me melt at the end--the tale of a "church network" bride going to Montana ("Amazing Grace") and the tale of a baker and shipbuilder crush ("Drifting to You"). The third one melted me, but only at the last minute. I wasn't quite comfortable with the male lead as I was in maybe excessive sympathy with his justly angry opposite, and it took me a while to forgive him in "A Sweet Way to Freedom." The last story, "Let It Shine," knocked it out of the par ...more
Chanta Rand
Nov 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed all four stories in this box set. This was the perfect amount of authors for a box set. I didn’t feel overwhelmed by too many stories. And I actually had time to read them all without feeling rushed.

As a lover of historical fiction, this set hit all of my top elements: 1) historically accurate, 2) exciting plot, and 3) romance.

Let it Shine by Alyssa Cole had the hottest heat level. I thoroughly enjoyed her writing style, her use of action-packed verbs, and the c
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Abra
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, romance, 2015
What a great little anthology about slavery, civil rights, and multiracial romance! The first and last stories were so strong that they carry the whole rating. The middle two were rather weak.

Amazing Grace: 4 Stars
The story of a former slave turned freewoman traveling west as a mail order bride, only to fall in love with a former slave owner and Confederate soldier she meets on the train. I admire the author tremendously for daring to make her hero a former slave owner and tack
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Timitra
Jun 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Amazing Grace- 4 Stars

I love when a book engages my emotions, makes me think and look at things differently, Amazing Grace did that. It's my first by this author but it most certainly won't be my last. I love how beautifully the love story between Gracie and Logan was told also loved the use of the apple.

Drifting To You- 3.5 Stars

This story tugged at my heartstrings especially what the heroine went through. I love that she was so strong and was able to find ha
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Darlene
I live in a small town in North Florida where Juneteenth is celebrated as the community remembers it took a war and the Emancipation Proclamation to free the slaves who lived here, and throughout the South.

This outstanding collection celebrates the 19th of June (and if you don't know why that's a holiday, each story explains it), and the brave women and men who were strong in the face of adversity, whether it was a Jim Crow rail car of the late 19th c. or the Freedom Riders of the 19
...more
Rachel Simone
Nov 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Excellent collection of historical romance novellas.

My personal favorite was Let It Shine. It's set during Civil Rights and this young woman who has always followed the rules wants to be part of it. She runs into a boy from her past (he's Jewish) and sparks fly. It was steamy and emotional. Stuff happens in a boxing ring. Of course there are issues with race and growing up and moving on from tragedy.

I plan on reading more from each of these authors.
Philippa Lodge
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Uneven stories. Alyssa Cole's Civil Rights Era one, "Let it Shine" was really good, definitely worth the Rita final! The others were shaky at best.
Tony
May 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Four great stories with four great couples.
Janine Ballard
Jun 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015-releases
3.8 stars

This anthology begins with an informative Foreword by author Beverly Jenkins which details some of the history of the Juneteenth holiday (Among other things, I learned that the celebration takes place on June 19th because that was the day in1865 on which Union Army General Gordon Granger and his troops arrived in Galveston, Texas and read General Order No. 3, which declared the Texas slaves free). Then come the novellas.

Amazing Grace by Lena Hart

This novella opens in/>Amazing
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Naomi
Jul 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
I really, really liked Alyssa Cole's story in this anthology, partly despite and partly because of its somewhat unfortunate relatability to current events and family history.

The first story was okay but not great; I started reading the second but then skipped ahead to the last one. I will probably go back and finish the anthology at some point.
D
Jun 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Brightest Day

I love the stories and the little bits of history that was woven into each chapter. It is always a joy to read a historical romance with African-American characters.
Celine
Sep 10, 2015 added it
Let It Shine by Alyssa Cole was by far the best novella in the collection. It was great. All the rest were just okay with Drifting to You by Kianna Alexander being the weakest.
Molly O'keefe
Jun 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
great anthology! Loved the four different time periods and the inherent conflicts. Alyssa Cole's contribution Let It Shine was spectacular.
Jenica
Feb 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Amazing Grace by Lena Hart has a Confederate soldier hero and I mean, I know it's post war and all that, but like.... I don't want to read a Confederate soldier as a hero? I guess I should be all about redemption, but... Um. Idk, y'all. 2019 is too much for me to be reading Confederate heroes. 

Drifting to You by Kianna Alexander is one of those novellas that doesn't work for me because I'm like ??? How did you decide you love each other that fast? It was good and if you can just fill
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Get Booked Fans
Question:

Hi,

I am trying to read more diverse romances, and I am looking for recommendations. I primarily read historical romances, but I will also read contemporary (my favorite romance authors include Courtney Milan, Tessa Dare, Sarah MacLean, Rose Lerner, Meredith Duran, and Laura Florand). I love Jeannie Lin’s Tang Dynasty romances and would love to find more like them, but have not any success finding any. I have read Beverly Jenkins’ books (excellent, of course). So I am lookin
...more
Em
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, m-f
Overall good collection of short stories, though the first one was IMO by far the weakest. My favorites were Drifting to You (Kianna Alexander) and Let it Shine (Alyssa Cole).
April Tate
Mar 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Great introduction to several authors. I would recommend this book.
Fashionista
I really enjoyed this anthology. I must say that the last story was my very favorite by Alyssa Cole. The novella by Lena Hart comes in at a close 2nd.
Marie Piper
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
A beautiful and romantic collection of tales centering around the Juneteenth holiday, which I'll admit I didn't know much about before reading. All four stories are well done and interesting and could stand alone. Alyssa Cole's LET IT SHINE won awards, in fact, and is the collection's stand out story. Recommended for historical romance buffs.
Edwina Putney
Mar 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Four novellas, by four amazing African American historical romance authors, provide readers with an amazing anthology of Juneteenth-themed stories. With an inspiring foreword by the inimitable Beverly Jenkins to provide the history of Juneteenth, the tone was set and each author delivered an awesome story. All four authors: Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, and Piper Huguley, create strong, independent-minded heroines in search of independence, but who also found love, self-worth, and pu ...more
Fate's Lady
Dec 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance, historical, poc
Amazing Grace by Lena Hart
One Star

Setting aside the chemistry-less insta-love and the twee fact that the hero is attracted to the heroine, named Gracie, while she's singing Amazing Grace, I just couldn't find much to like in this novella. The heroine is a young Black woman who escaped from a plantation with her family when she was 4, her father having sustained a brutal beating over the theft of an apple.

Who does she fall in love with? (view spoiler)Amazing Grace by Lena Hart
One Star

Setting aside the chemistry-less insta-love and the twee fact that the hero is attracted to the heroine, named Gracie, while she's singing Amazing Grace, I just couldn't find much to like in this novella. The heroine is a young Black woman who escaped from a plantation with her family when she was 4, her father having sustained a brutal beating over the theft of an apple.

Who does she fall in love with? (view spoiler) Gross, gross, gross!

Drifting to You by Kianna Alexander
Three Stars

I didn't really have strong feelings about this story. The attraction and buildup between the two characters is largely implied to have happened before the story actually starts, so we're supposed to instantly buy into chemistry that they supposedly have and are ignoring. Will is the owner of a very successful business for backstory reasons that are barely plausible, and Rosaline is a baker who seems to be universally admired, enough that a wealthy local woman is willing to lower her standards to encourage her nephew to marry a former slave. Obviously that doesn't work out the way she'd hoped. The couple is sweet but bland, and the story didn't stick in my mind.

A Sweet Way to Freedom by Piper Huguley
One Star

I couldn't finish this one. The heroine is too perfect to believe and the hero is supposed to be a redeemed player but he just comes across as awkward and a little gross. The writing was technically competent, but the overall story didn't work for me at all.

Let it Shine by Alyssa Cole
Five Stars

Unsurprisingly, Cole is the shining star of this collection. She writes beautifully, her characters are delightful and vulnerable and real, and her story is crafted with skill and care. Sophie and Ivan, a young black woman and a Jewish man in the early days of the first Civil Rights Era, have just reconnected after being childhood friends, but their relationship is illegal in Virginia, and even if it weren't, they are both prepared to throw themselves into the danger and violence of protest and prison. It's an emotional journey and a great story.
...more
Beverly
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Thoughts coming shortly
Meghan
May 29, 2017 added it
Alyssa Cole's story was my favorite but all of these were very worth reading and covered really interesting aspects of history that aren't depicted that often.
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I've always loved the written word. For as long as I can remember, I read as much as I could, as often as I could. Cereal boxes, newspapers, product packaging. Ebony, Essence, and Jet Magazine. Billboards. I loved it all. I read the entire Fear Street series, as well as the Sweet Valley Books, from Twins and Friends through Sweet Valley High. Each week I'd bring 15 or 20 books home from the librar ...more

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