The Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in a changing United States, their fortune made through the entrepreneurship of William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who founded the Davenport Carriage Company years ago. Now it's 1910, and the Davenports live surrounded by servants, crystal chandeliers, and endless parties, finding their way and finding love—even where they’re not supposed to.
There is Olivia, the beautiful elder Davenport daughter, ready to do her duty by getting married . . . until she meets the charismatic civil rights leader Washington DeWight and sparks fly. The younger daughter, Helen, is more interested in fixing cars than falling in love—unless it’s with her sister’s suitor. Amy-Rose, the childhood friend turned maid to the Davenport sisters, dreams of opening her own business—and marrying the one man she could never be with, Olivia and Helen’s brother, John. But Olivia’s best friend, Ruby, also has her sights set on John Davenport, though she can’t seem to keep his interest . . . until family pressure has her scheming to win his heart, just as someone else wins hers.
Inspired by the real-life story of the Patterson family, The Davenports is the tale of four determined and passionate young Black women discovering the courage to steer their own path in life—and love.
Krystal Marquis happily spends most of her time in libraries and used bookstores. She studied biology at Boston College and University of Connecticut and now works as an environmental, health, and safety manager for an online retailer. A lifelong reader, Krystal began researching and writing on a dare to complete the NaNoWriMo Challenge, resulting in the first partial draft of The Davenports. When not writing or planning trips to the Book Barn to discover her next favorite romance, Krystal enjoys hiking, expanding her shoe collection, and plotting ways to create her own Jurassic Park.
With dazzling prose and whip-smart pacing, Krystal Marquis’s gorgeous debut spirits readers into a world of polished glamor, but also a world shadowed by painful reckonings. Through trial, defeat, defiance, and triumph, its characters offer heart and perspective. The Davenports is a fresh, utterly enchanting read, and a much-needed addition to the contemporary canon of Black literature.” —Ayana Gray, New York Times bestselling author of the Beasts of Prey trilogy
★ "This deftly written series opener examines the lives of Black elites following Reconstruction with a focus on the constraints of women. The strong characterization, developed through alternating third-person perspectives, and descriptive setting lure readers in. A dazzling debut." —Kirkus (starred review)
★ "This stunningly wrought historical fiction debut follows a group of Black teens navigating classism, familial expectations, gender norms, and racism in 1910 Chicago. . . . Marquis perceptively explores the history and momentous impact of Black achievements and wealth during an underreported period in U.S. history. Employing expert characterization and complex dynamics, the author presents a cast of take-charge women, undeterred by their struggles and pursuing their passions regardless of expectations." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Marquis weaves the characters’ stories in such a way that leaves readers anticipating the next chapter each time [and] the author’s skilled descriptions give readers a real connection to the characters. This is a well-written novel, sure to please fans of historical fiction, romance, and Chicago history. Young adults and adults alike will learn from and enjoy this. Recommended." —SLJ
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