Book Review: Bring on the Blessings by Beverly Jenkins

Posted March 8, 2017 by @Angelized_1st in Books, Entertainment / 5 Comments

Book Review: Bring on the Blessings by Beverly JenkinsBring on the Blessings by Beverly Jenkins
Series: Blessings #1
Published by HarperCollins Publishers on January 27th 2009
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 383
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Buy on: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooks

On Bernadine Brown's fifty-second birthday she received an unexpected gift—she caught her husband, Leo, cheating with his secretary. She was hurt—angry, too—but she didn't cry woe is me. Nope, she hired herself a top-notch lawyer and ended up with a cool $275 million. Having been raised in the church, she knew that when much is given much is expected, so she asked God to send her a purpose.

The purpose turned out to be a town: Henry Adams, Kansas, one of the last surviving townships founded by freed slaves after the Civil War. The failing town had put itself up for sale on the Internet, so Bernadine bought it.

Trent July is the mayor, and watching the town of his birth slide into debt and foreclosure is about the hardest thing he's ever done. When the buyer comes to town, he's impressed by her vision, strength, and the hope she wants to offer not only to the town and its few remaining residents, but to a handful of kids in desperate need of a second chance.

Not everyone in town wants to get on board though; they don't want change. But Bernadine and Trent, along with his first love, Lily Fontaine, are determined to preserve the town's legacy while ushering in a new era with ties to its unique past and its promising future.

“I’ve always believed the Spirit puts people in our lives for a reason. I’m not sure if that applies to eleven-year-old carjackers, but we’ll work with what the Spirit sends.”

February’s Mocha Girls Read book club selection was Bring on the Blessings by Beverly Jenkins. This was the first time I had read any of her books, but I knew she was an African-American author who wrote mostly romance novels. Already having one of her books on my shelf, I’ve been curious about her writing for awhile. Luckily, February’s book was the first book in the series of the book I already had. While I was disappointed the book I had didn’t get chosen, I didn’t mind reading one of  Jenkin’s other novels.

Bring on the Blessings begins when Bernadine Brown winds up $275 million richer after divorcing her cheating husband. Feeling like she should use the money to help others, Bernadine gets the idea to buy a dying, historic town, and revitalizing it. She also decides to turn it into a place where foster children could find homes, and a fresh start. After searching, Bernadine finds floundering Henry Adams in Kansas, which was founded by freed slaves after the Civil War. When Bernadine bought it, she knew she’d have her work cut out for herself, but she never expected to find that not every resident is overjoyed by the town being bought. Nor did she expect to discover that she’d just moved to a town without cell or internet service. As you can guess, lots of funny antics take place as Bernadine meets the townsfolk, and the group of kids she selects to come live there.

I really enjoyed the crazy personalities that exist in this town. Having never grown-up in a small town, I didn’t know if Jenkin’s descriptions of Kansas life was real, but after speaking with some folks at the book club’s meeting, I discovered it was very true. This made me enjoy the story even more, and left me thinking I may continue on with the series at a later date. While the characterizations were interesting, I found the book a tad slow, as most of the novel is built on character building. Since I knew this was the first book in the series, I wasn’t surprised, but some parts dragged a bit.

If there was something I wished were different, it would be the sitcom ending. Everything was just too hunky dory for me, and I wished there was more authentic tension instead of the unnecessary romantic kind. Having heard that the series begins to move away from the Hallmark Channel feels in later books has made me curious about how Jenkin’s writing changes down the line. If you like sappy Hallmark movies, then you may want to give this series a try. If not, the novels can act as standalone novels, and you may want to skip to a later book in the series for more grit.

About Beverly Jenkins

Beverly Jenkins is an African-American historical romance writer. She and her family live in southeastern Michigan. Born in Detroit, she graduated from Cass Technical High School and attended Michigan State University where she majored in Journalism and English Literature.

Ms. Jenkins has written sixteen books to date and has received numerous awards for her works, including: the Detroit Free Press Book of the Year, three Waldenbooks Best Sellers Awards; two Career Achievement Awards from Romantic Times Magazine; a Golden Pen Award from the Black Writer’s Guild, and in 1999, Ms. Jenkins was voted one of the Top Fifty Favorite African-American writers of the 20th Century by AABLC, the nation’s largest on-line African-American book club. In May of 2002, Ms. Jenkins published her first historical novel for young adults, titled: Belle and the Beau. Her second YA, Josephine and the Soldier followed in 2003.

Ms. Jenkins has been featured in many national publications, including the Wall Street Journal, People Magazine, Dallas Morning News and Vibe Magazine. She has lectured at such prestigious universities as Oberlin University; the University of Illinois; and the University of Michigan. She speaks widely on both romance and 19th century African-American history at libraries, schools and organizations including Romance Writers of America, and the Afro–American Historical and Genalogical Society. She is active in her church and community, and in November 2001 was a recipient of the YWCA Woman of Achievement Award.

In February of 2004, Ms. Jenkins’ first contemporary novel of romantic suspense, The Edge of Midnight was released. Sexy/Dangerous, her fourth novel of romantic suspense will be in stores in November 2006.


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5 responses to “Book Review: Bring on the Blessings by Beverly Jenkins

  1. I have this book… oh, bother, it’s not on my Kindle; I think it’s on my old Sony Reader, which is dead. Darn. I’ve really enjoyed Beverly Jenkins’ historical romances (I’ve read two so far) and would like to read this one as well. There were a number of all-black towns that sprang up in what is now Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska after the Civil War — a part of American history that rarely gets mentioned in the textbooks. And there have been small towns up for sale in real life, too. I’d love to see what Ms. Jenkins has done with those two ideas. It sounds like it was a good read!

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