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Let It Shine

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4.16  ·  Rating details ·  308 Ratings  ·  66 Reviews
**Let It Shine originally appeared in The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology. This version features the original story, as well as a bonus short story, No Valley Low.***

Sofronia Wallis knows that proper Black women don’t court trouble by upending the status quo, but it’s 1961 and the Civil Rights movement is in full swing. Sofie’s spent half her life
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Kindle Edition, 134 pages
Published March 14th 2016 by Seditious Sisters
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Tina
When I was in college I saw an excellent, excellent documentary on PBS called 'Eyes on The Prize' It was a multi-part look at the civil rights movement, starting with the murder of Emmit Till and hitting all the high points: Martin, Malcolm, Selma, 'I Have a Dream' speech, letters from Birmingham etc., right on through the assassinations of King, Kennedy, Kennedy and Malcolm.

But the one thing that stuck out for me were the episodes on SNCC - the Student Non-Violent Coordinating committee. I was
...more
sraxe
Cole is unapologetic in her depictions of racism in this novella. There are not many romance books I've seen that depict this era at all, and if they've done so, it's not been as accurately as I feel Cole has. Too many times, it ends up being whitewashed. I don't know if it's that they subconsciously make the decision to sugarcoat it, or if it's just something they choose to do because of their own history and guilt that makes them do it purposely. BUT, you will not find Cole pulling punches or ...more
Mónica BQ
Oct 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fav-romance
4.5 rounded up

I mean, this was near perfect. Or maybe I've been in an incredibly mushy mood lately. I don't know. But the thing is that Sofie's and Ivan's story was divine.

Set in during the time of the Freedom Rides in the USA, the book follows the couple through a bit of their childhood, their harsh but sweet reunion, and the subsequent intricacies of a mixed-race romance in the 60s. And really, you should read it. Everything about it is interesting. From the way Ivan processed injustices based
...more
velvetgypsy
Mar 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Exceptional historical romance!
From 'The Brightest Day': A Juneteenth Historical Romance ANTHOLOGY
Kim
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Leave it to Alyssa Cole to write a historical IR romance that tackles one of our most violent and divisive periods of history. Thank you, Alyssa, for writing Let It Shine and sharing it with us. I loved it from start to finish!

This tightly written novella is a coming of age story for Sofie and Ivan, who've known one another since they were children--Sofie's mother Delia was the housekeeper for Ivan's family and Sofie and Ivan were childhood playmates whose friendship was cut short by the death
...more
Book Riot Community
Really exceptional historical romance can remind us that love existed even in the times in our history that are darkest and most pivotal. In Let It Shine, Alyssa Cole’s Civil Right movement-focused novella, Cole reminds readers once again that weighty topics and love stories are not mutually exclusive. The story considers anti-semitism, violence, feminism, religion, family, and love. Cole writes about the best and worst parts of human nature, and she manages to do it in about 150 pages. Let It S ...more
Ariadna
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Actual rating is 4.5

Sometimes, a book appears that touches your heart and mind and leaves you rolling on the floor, drowning in feels. Not because it's perfection but because reading it was a journey.

This novella by Alyssa Cole is one of those books.

First off, let me say that the dual POV really (REALLY!) works to this story's advantage. Ivan and Sofie are two (almost literal) peas in a pod as children and that bond, though a bit dulled because of distance by the time they meet each other again
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Ami
Mar 19, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

I bought this novella (only $0.99) because 1) It's #DABWAHA 2016 nominee (and have been praised at both SBTB and Dear Author websites -- as both gave this novella A/A- rating) and 2) I've been wanting to try interracial romance in my M/F collection too.

For the most part, I enjoyed this -- as a non-American, I found the background of Freedom Rides and the fight for Civil Rights movement in the 1960's to be well-drawn. This story made me doing some Google browsing, reading about what Free
...more
Bookish
Aug 24, 2017 added it
Shelves: romance
Let it Shine is a master class in writing a novella: moving, sexy, and perfectly paced. Sofie and Ivan are childhood sweethearts who drifted apart. She’s prim and proper and buttoned-up, and he’s a rough-and-tumble boxer. He’s Jewish and she’s black, and it’s 1961 Virginia, at the height of the Civil Rights movement, when interracial marriage was still illegal (Loving v. Virginia was decided in 1967). This book tore my heart out and then pieced it back together. —Alisha Rai (https://www.bookish. ...more
Stacy
Mar 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book, minor editing issues aside. It went much deeper into the history of the civil rights movement than I thought it would. I also found interesting the exploration of the relationship between the African American and Jewish communities.
Leta Blake
Apr 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book. I just realized that I have other Alyssa Cole books in my already purchased but never read TBR. I should get on those. <3 Recommended.
Megan Erickson
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-rom, romance
Loved this. Read it on a plane ride and I was glad it was a long flight because then I could read this beginning to end.

I thought the characters were well-drawn, had great motivations and the conflict was well done for a novella. I've said this before, but a novella isn't just less words. It's an art, and Alyssa nailed it. Loved it and highly recommend.
KOTENOK
Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
this is a solid 3 stars book. while i disagree with some things politically speaking, the romance was strong and sofie & ivan were almost perfect together. good read.
Sha
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
*4.5 stars*

"The bottom line is I’m one of the best-qualified people to do this sit-in. I’m young, photogenic, and I’ve been quietly suffering fools for most of my life."

Let it Shine combines civil rights activism with a woman's journey from self-censorship to freedom of expression, in the backdrop of a childhood friend romance that's just MADE up of warm fuzzy feelings. Since I like my romances to be a means/method solving a significant external conflict, this suits me just fine.
namericanwordcat
This is a perfect gem of a novella. The setting is perfectly set in terms of time and place. Then, Cole moves her characters on to this stage asking who are they and what if?

What follows is a perfectly pitched interracial romance between childhood friends: a proper Black woman and a Jewish boxer in during the lunch counter sit ins and other civil rights actions in Jim Crow 1960's South.

There are tidbits of lesser known history but most wonderfully the tender and fierce love story of these two c
...more
Sunil
Mar 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own, 2016
Sofie Wallis has been taught to be a "proper" black woman, but the Civil Rights Movement is no time to sit down and shut up. Ivan Friedman has been training to be a boxer, but non-violent protesting certainly has its appeal. In a turbulent time, these two will find a connection, despite their fathers' prejudices—Mr. Friedman doesn't want his white son dating a black woman, and Mr. Wallis doesn't want his Christian daughter dating a Jewish man. Alyssa Cole characterizes both of them well, diving ...more
Kat at Book Thingo
Apr 13, 2016 marked it as to-read
Recommended to Kat at Book Thingo by: #RT2016
Read by Rudi for Book Thingo. This is an extract from her review:
Let It Shine isn’t just a must-read, it’s a keeper. I could go through all the reasons why (other than the ones I’ve already mentioned) but really I’d just be taking up valuable time you could be spending buying and reading this beautiful, special, delicious book.

Full review at Book Thingo.
Gina
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This novella absolutely shines as a romance and historical fiction set in the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. The setting was rich; the characters fascinating, real, and relatable; and the romance smoldering and delicious. Alyssa Cole is going on my must-buy list now.
Claire
TWO epilogues! TWO! I had no idea how utterly satisfying it would be to meet the characters again a few years later (like you do in genre romance) and then AGAIN a dozen years later after trauma and experience. WOW. Dear romance writers, please can we make this a thing?
Julio Genao
Apr 20, 2016 marked it as to-read
I will make this mine.
Marisa
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Let It Shine is the fourth work I've read from Alyssa Cole and with every piece of writing of hers I read, I fall more and more in love with her storytelling. Before her and Beverly Jenkins, I didn't factor myself as much of a historical romance fan, but authors like Alyssa Cole have definitely made me a fan now.

This novella was so SATISFYING. In fact, that's exactly what I texted my friend after I finished it. Cole's writing is exceptionally honest and vivid with the dynamics of whichever histo
...more
Paula
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
I really liked this historical romance. It is set during a tumultuous time period for America: 1960s. Ivan and Sofronia are adorable as they are falling for one another. I fell in love with them both. The sense of setting and the minor characters around them were fitting. Sofia (Sofronia's new name) is very committed to the church and the black community in her small town in Virginia. Ivan is a Jewish boxer who is estranged from
his religious background as well as within his household. The two c
...more
Funmbi
Alyssa Cole is quickly becoming one of my favorite romance writers. Her Civil War, interracial romance, An Extraordinary Union, is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year, and as I’m moving through her catalog, Alyssa’s other books are also fantastic. She has a fabulous way of writing emotional stories with incredibly relatable characters. The fact that these romances are complicated by the racial inequality of the time makes them even more compelling. I swoon, cry, rage, and in the end ...more
Diana
Jan 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I went to high school in segregated small town Virginia in the mid 60s and without a doubt Alyssa Cole got that part right. I wish I'd been as brave and aware and as fiercely active as Ivan and Sophie. I'd also like to go back to the time of Sophie and Ivan's epilogue--1973 when the great civil rights legislation of 1964 prevailed, our troops were finally coming home from Vietnam, and Roe vs Wade was new and strong.

This story moved me. It is a lovely romance suffused with hope and optimism in tu
...more
Silvana [The Book Voyagers]
I got the anthology this book is on and to be honest, I really wanted to read Alyssa's story. And Let It Shine was so!!!! ALL THE FEELS. It's about a black woman that throughout all her life she has been this perfect and nice person. She knows she wants more in life. Then there is the hero who is just adorable and caring and you see it so clearly. Both of them have this chemistry that lights up the world. It's too bad it's only a novella, so short, but it was such A GOOD NOVELLA and I am happy r ...more
Latasha Scruggs
Nov 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing
3.5 lots of potential! I liked Sof very much and the interracial romance aspect was a big plus. However I felt the book had more to say than what the author gave us. Cole does a decent job of glazing over what occurred in the time jumps she uses, but the were feelings and situations that would have been better had she written them out. I feel like I've read the cliff notes version. A delightful and quick read nonetheless, I will be looking into the authors other works!
Shoshana Frank
A-mazing! Completely loved it. The rich story telling, historical details, and excellent Jewish identity come together for a heartwarming romance. Great for readers who are interested in a happy story stemming from the anti-violence civil rights struggle.
Shannan Harper
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I had no idea this story was part of a previously published anthology I bought a while ago, but I immensely enjoyed their journey from the civil rights movement where they reconnected and into the future. another new author that's a keeper
Amelia
Gorgeous and emotional black Christian woman/white Jewish man romance set in the student non-violence civil rights movement and the freedom rides of the 1961 American south. As often with novellas it felt a bit truncated and rushed in places, but a really wonderful read overall.
Hannah Notess
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writers-of-color
It’s a romance novella set during the civil rights movement... and if that piques your interest then you’ll love this.
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Alyssa Cole is a science editor, pop culture nerd, and romance junkie who splits her time between fast-paced NYC and island-paced life in the Caribbean.

In addition to writing, she has hosted a romance book club and taught romance writing at the Jefferson Market Library in NYC. When she’s not busy writing, traveling, and learning French, she can be found watching cat videos on the Internet with he
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