My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Published: January 21, 2014 by Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Brief summary: In 1946, a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible: attaining justice for a black man in the Deep South.
Deborah Johnson does a wonderful job of storytelling in The Secret of Magic. I’ve heard stories of encounters between Whites and African Americans in the South and they closely mirror the experiences that Ms. Johnson describes. There were a number of times where the story made me angry when I wanted to scream.
This is story is set in post World War II Mississippi, 1945. A young Negro attorney from New York, Regina Robichard, armed with a letter written by M.P. Calhoun and a photograph of Joe Howard Wilson and his father, Willie Willie, goes to Revere, Mississippi to investigate the brutal murder of Joe Howard Wilson. She is unprepared for the cultural differences between New York and Mississippi.
Ms. Robichard is startled by the superior attitudes by Whites and the way Negroes continue to be treated by Whites. She must navigate her way through the small town of Revere, Mississippi to find out who killed Joe Howard, a recently discharged Negro soldier who served in World War II, on his way to visit Willie Willie. Joe Howard was taken off a bus in nearby Alabama and was never seen again until his body surfaced in the river near his home in Revere.
Regina Robichard pushes her way around this small town to seek justice for Joe Howard and his father. When she discovers the answers, she puts herself and others near to the case in danger.
This book is well written and thought provoking, especially in light of the latest controversy by Madonna using the N-word in an Instagram post about her son. Reading the book, I see how far we’ve come in the United States in race relations. But then when I hear various news stories, I realize how far we still have to go in race relations.
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone.