Color of Horses
by Antonio L. Coney

"I tell him life gets better. But I'm still waiting on mine to get better. But there is nothing wrong with hope."

Set initially in Chicago in the 1940s, a young black girl relates the story of her life. It's a life of abuse, racism, and loss. But like most lives, it also has its share of love, growth, and hope. The narrative comes directly from the protagonist in the first person. We learn she never knew her father and was raped continually by her mother's live-in boyfriend. When she becomes pregnant at age fourteen and decides to keep the baby, she's kicked out of her house and goes to live with relatives. What follows is a trek through her existence that leads to menial jobs, marriage, and eventually an act of violence that will lead to an escape to Louisiana where she and her daughter take up residence with a friend's aunt. There, the heroine finds work as a maid in the house of a woman who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The time spent with this woman, her home, and her horses changes both mother and daughter forever.

Although he is male, Coney has taken on the task of writing his debut novel in the voice of his lead character, a woman. Stepping into the heart and soul of a different gender, especially when that character has to carry the entire novel, can be a bit risky. Fortunately, Coney is able to maintain credibility in both the dialogue of his narrator and the events in which she's embroiled. He calls upon empathy and talent to make her voice ring true. Coney's writing feels honest, and his approach is sincere. He has dedicated this book to those women involved in the Me Too movement. Readers will likely be engaged by the story and appreciative of this effort to use fiction to try and make a positive difference in victims' lives.

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