Book Blitz: Gouster Girl by David E. Gumpert

GOUSTER GIRL

by David E. Gumpert
Publication Date: December 9, 2019
Genres: YA, Interracial Teen Romance, Historical Fiction, Coming of Age, Romance

SYNOPSIS

Maybe because they are young and innocent, cute black Valerie Davis and nerdy white Jeffrey Stark are late to realize that falling in love on Chicago’s South Side in 1963 is a highly risky business for an interracial couple. At first, they help each other out of tough racial fixes—he saves her from attack at an all-white amusement park and she saves him from injury in a racial brawl at their high school. But as their romance becomes more serious, so do the racial dangers. White police target Valerie as a prostitute and black gang members see Jeffrey as trying to sexually exploit a black girl. Seemingly inevitably, the blossoming romance collides head on with the realities of Northern-style racism one hot summer afternoon at one of Chicago’s most beautiful Lake Michigan beaches, when a racial protest turns ugly, confronting the couple with terrible choices.

Gouster Girl vividly depicts the raw racism so prevalent during the early 1960s, which ushered in decades of gang violence that turned sections of Chicago into the urban killing fields they are today. Gouster Girl opens in the summer of 1963 with the white Stark family tearfully moving its belongings onto a moving truck in front of the tidy South Shore neighborhood apartment building they love, just blocks from where Michelle Obama would grow up. As they load up the truck, 16-year-old Jeff and his parents argue yet again about the racial fears and fantasies that are leading them to abandon South Shore, with its delis and shuls and beautiful beaches. Through the eyes of Jeff, Gouster Girl then takes us back to the unlikely racial violence that led to his romance with Valerie and how she variously teases and embarrasses him to confront his most deeply held racial prejudices. Valerie introduces Jeff to the highs and lows of her life– to black music and dancing, as well as police corruption, job discrimination, misguided school tracking systems and housing discrimination that keeps blacks separate and unequal.

A makeout session in an isolated section of Jackson Park leads the couple into a confrontation with police, which highlights for both the realities of what we today refer to as “white privilege.” It also pushes the Stark family more fully toward a decision about whether to join other whites in fleeing South Shore.

This highly evocative coming-of-age story will alternately charm, anger terrify, and upset readers as they travel back to a time that was seemingly simpler, but was also blunt in its racial and religious prejudices.

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ABOUT DAVID E. GUMPERT

David E. Gumpert grew up on the South Side of Chicago, in South Shore and Hyde Park. In the years since graduating from the University of Chicago, he has attended Columbia Journalism School and worked as a reporter for The Wall Street Journal and an editor for the Harvard Business Review and Inc. magazine. He has also authored ten nonfiction books on a variety of subjects—from entrepreneurship and small business management to food politics. His most prominent titles include How to Really Create a Successful Business Plan (from Inc. Publishing); How to Really Start Your Own Business (Inc. Publishing); Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Food Rights (Chelsea Green Publishing), and The Raw Milk Answer Book (Lauson Publishing).

He spent ten years in the 1990s and early 2000s researching his family’s history during the Holocaust. The result was a book co-authored with his deceased aunt Inge Bleier: Inge: A Girl’s Journey Through Nazi Europe (Wm. B. Eerdman Publishing).

He spent much of the last half-dozen years going back to his own roots in Chicago to research and write the historical novel, Gouster Girl. While some of it stems from his own experiences growing up in South Shore and Hyde Park, he also conducted significant additional research to complete the book in late 2019.

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When A Scot Ties The Knot By Tessa Dare!

Rating:⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Length: 384 pages

Source: purchased

Synopsis

On the cusp of her first London season, Miss Madeline Gracechurch was shyly pretty and talented with a drawing pencil, but hopelessly awkward with gentlemen. She was certain to be a dismal failure on the London marriage mart. So Maddie did what generations of shy, awkward young ladies have done: she invented a sweetheart.

A Scottish sweetheart. One who was handsome and honorable and devoted to her, but conveniently never around. Maddie poured her heart into writing the imaginary Captain MacKenzie letter after letter … and by pretending to be devastated when he was (not really) killed in battle, she managed to avoid the pressures of London society entirely.

Until years later, when this kilted Highland lover of her imaginings shows up in the flesh. The real Captain Logan MacKenzie arrives on her doorstep—handsome as anything, but not entirely honorable. He’s wounded, jaded, in possession of her letters… and ready to make good on every promise Maddie never expected to keep.

My Thoughts 💭

This was a nice historical romance. Madeline is horribly shy and has panic attacks in large groups. Before she’s set for her debut London season she creates a fake fiancé. Over the years she writes this Captain Logan MacKenzie like she’s writing in a diary since she believes the letters aren’t actually being received by anyone. But they are and he shows up to collect what he’s due…after she had given him a heroic death. Which she later comes to regret since it had such an effect on him. Logan wasn’t pleasant at first but it was understandable. He just wanted to give his men the peace and land that was promised them. Maddie just wanted to live her life the way she wanted but when what she wanted changed it was so sweet! I thought they had good chemistry but I did get tired of them almost consummating their marriage and then stopping.

This book was good but had some cringe worth references to lady parts(breeding parts) I had to reread the sentence to make sure I saw correctly😂😂.