Black Candle Women: A Novel
by Diane Marie Brown

Published: 2023-02-28T00:0
Hardcover : 336 pages
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A warm and wry family drama with a magical twist about four generations of Black women living under one roof and the family curse that stems back to a Voodoo shop in 1950s New Orleans

“Propulsive and poignant, Black Candle Women concocts an intoxicating potion of warmth, wisdom, and ...

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A warm and wry family drama with a magical twist about four generations of Black women living under one roof and the family curse that stems back to a Voodoo shop in 1950s New Orleans

“Propulsive and poignant, Black Candle Women concocts an intoxicating potion of warmth, wisdom, and wonder.” —Ava DuVernay

Generations of Montrose women—Augusta, Victoria, Willow—have lived together in their quaint two-story bungalow in California for years. They keep to themselves, never venture far from home, and their collection of tinctures and spells is an unspoken bond between them.

But when seventeen-year-old Nickie Montrose brings home a boy for the first time, their quiet lives are thrown into disarray. For the other women have been withholding a secret from Nickie that will end her relationship before it’s even begun: the decades-old family curse that any person they fall in love with dies.

Their surprise guest forces each woman to reckon with her own past choices and mistakes. And as new truths about the curse emerge, the family is set on a collision course dating back to a Voodoo shop in 1950s New Orleans’s French Quarter—where a hidden story in a mysterious book may just hold the answers they seek in life and in love…

“Richly imagined and elegantly told, with plenty of satisfying secrets, heartaches, and twists.” —Sadeqa Johnson, international bestselling author of Yellow Wife and The House of Eve

Editorial Review

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The flight attendant told Augusta Montrose that she would have to remove her purse from her lap and put it on the floor before the plane took off. She realized the man wasn’t joking when he stood in the aisle waiting, moving on only when her granddaughter grabbed the bag and shoved it under the seat in front of her—no place for a purse. She’d wanted to explain that it was her first time on a plane, that she was petrified. Not about the flight itself but the eventual arrival at their destination. When she’d left New Orleans all those decades ago, she’d vowed never to return.

She should have known she’d be called back one day, that the city would never let her rest, even thousands of miles away. She’d learned early on about a certain unfairness in life. Some folks struggled disproportionately, carrying things that others couldn’t even lift. The Montrose women had taken on an overbalance of grief, but the way Augusta saw it, they’d been given what they were owed. And they were strong enough to endure it.

The women in her family lived solitary lives, generations of them under one roof, adapting to their isolated ways, doing fine, they all believed. They were a private kind of people, had to keep others out to keep the secrets in.

But recent events had changed them, shaking up the house, rattling the women within. And it was all because of her great-granddaughter. She didn’t know yet for sure, but she sensed love was the cause of the girl’s recent behavior. This, Augusta understood. She’d swapped one life for another because of love. Because of what had happened all those decades ago in New Orleans. It’s what Montrose women did. And love was why she’d had to tell them her story…all of it, from the beginning. She’d held on to these words for years, stuck in her head, unsure how to share them, and now, she’d finally set them free. view abbreviated excerpt only...

Discussion Questions

From the publisher:

1. Although Willow doesn’t believe in the curse, she has still kept herself from being in a relationship, at least until she meets January. Why do you think she behaves this way? Why does she change her behavior when January comes into her life?

2. At several points in the story, there are four generations of Montrose women living in the same household. What impact does this living arrangement have on their lifestyles? Is it more of a hindrance or a help to have so many generations under one roof?

3. Why do you think Black Candle Women was selected as the title for this book? How are the Montroses black candle women? Is Bela Nova also a black candle woman?

4.Which Montrose woman was your favorite? Why?

5.Discuss the family curse. Do you think Bela Nova was justified in cursing generations of Montrose women? Does your family have any superstitions?

6. The Montrose family documented much of their history in the book that originally belonged to Delilah. Why was Augusta willing to return it to Bela Nova with so much of their story inside? Is there an item that your own family passes down between generations? How does your family share and celebrate its history?

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