Reviews

 

Reviews of Minetta Lane

 

Some reviewers loved the history…

Minetta Lane is the third book by A.
Robert Allen and I believe it is the best one yet.

—Pam

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It is based in New York City in 1906. It takes place in an area called the Bend but which Allen calls Minetta Lane. This area had a unique race-based code which was followed by all and which worked. It is also based on the true facts of the fire on the General Slocum, a ship which toured the harbor. He used the true names of many of the crew members and the passengers, although he invented many more. He looks into the Irish gang, the Whyos, and the plight of the young people who sold newspapers, the newsies.

Bodee Rivers has come to New York City after the death of his Mother to find his Grandmother and find some answers. His grandmother, Juba, welcomes him with open-arms, but does tell him he must find work. She gives him a list of places in the area to stay away from. Finding a job for a young black man isn’t easy as he soon finds out. He ends up doing the books for one of the places he is told to stay away from, although he only works until 4pm. However, one day, he runs into the Whyo gang and one member in particular, McFarland. The altercation was solved for all concerned except McFarland who had come from Chicago and wasn’t fitting in. McFarland vowed to get even with Bodee.

Bodee then goes to work on the harbor cruises. He gets a flashback to the past when he is on the first ship. He senses something is wrong or will go wrong. However, who should he tell? Who would believe a black man who senses the future? All Bodee can do is be ready for anything.

The book reads very smoothly and contains a lot of references to history. At the end, Allen tells the reader what is true and what isn’t which helps the reader a lot. The book is really good for just reading as well as for history it contains.

A. Robert Allen author of A Wave From Mama has written another winner of a book Minetta Lane.

—Rhonda

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The protagonist Bodee Rivers has visions and dreams that he doesn’t understand. This quality runs in his family. Bodee is also very tall and thin that when he turns sideways you may not see him. With all of this, he is kind and thoughtful and decides to find his maternal grandmother Juba. His mother has passed on and Bodee wants answers. Answers his mother would not give him. He only knows that his mother did not believe in the supernatural beliefs of his grandmother and would not discuss them with him.

The scene is in New York. We are talking the turn of the century, June of 1904. Bodee wants to play ball on the Colored team The Brooklyn Monitors. At this time he doesn’t have the upper body strength to make the team.

Bodees grandmother Juba is having a feeling Bodee is coming. She isn’t sure when but soon. Juba lives in an area of New York that is racially divided and there is a code to follow if you want to survive. Juba is a major influence in this area, no one goes against her. Juba convinces Bodee to stay with her so she can help him figure out his visions and maybe fatten him up a bit. Bodee is written as a completely human figure with all the frailties of insecurity and cowardice. He finds out he is not a quitter and is actually a hero of the Slocum disaster and Knickerbocker Steam Ship Company.

I’m not going to give away too much of the story because you really should read this and hope you enjoy it as much as I did. The storyline is truthful and honest. That is part of the reason I like A. Robert Allen’s writing. He uses fact and fiction and does not go too far from the truth and the story stays believable. I really enjoyed this ebook so much, thank you A. Robert Allen.

Captivating

—Linda

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I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. It is the third book in The Slavery and Beyond Series, but can be read without having knowledge of the previous two books.

In 1904, Minetta Lane is the name of a street in The Bend, a section of Manhattan, populated by both Blacks and Whites, with an understanding that each group stays within their own boundaries and keeps to themselves. We are introduced to a young black man, Bodee Rivers, who has come in search of the grandmother he doesn’t remember. Grandmother Juba was from a priestly Ashanti family, and as the story progresses, Bodee discovers he has inherited the ability to see the future through his dreams.

Additional individuals introduced at the beginning of the book are there to add “flavor” and an understanding of the neighborhood’s unsavory character, but the real story takes place in Part Three, during the General Slocum Steamboat Disaster. Bodee has already befriended several people, blacks and whites, and has acquired a job working for the steamboat company. He foresees “something upsetting,” but his first response has always been to “run away.” This time he decides to live up to his name, Bodua, which means “protector,” and stay to see the difficult premonition through until the end.

The book started out slowly, with so many assorted characters, that it took time for me to sort everyone out, but when the main story started, it was captivating. This fictional story, based on actual events (as explained by the author in the Historical Notes and Liberties section), certainly shows the research involved in the writing of this fact based novel

Others loved the thought-provoking themes…

A Memorable Addition to His Fictional Series

—Terry S

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Just when I thought the series could not get any better, along comes “Minetta Lane”. This is the third book in A. Robert Allen’s Slavery and Beyond series. Like the first two novels in the series, “Failed Moments” and “A Wave from Mama”, “Minetta Lane” is an independent story with a racial theme.

The setting is 1904 in a dangerous area of New York City nicknamed The Bend. The Bend has an unusual race-based code where black residents are accepted, whites are rejected and Irish gangsters are respected. Bodee Rivers, Juba and Blood are the main characters who confront the racial differences in the Bend through their own personal connection and bond. Bodee is an interesting character who struggles with an internal power that tests his strength and endurance to do the right thing while struggling to be accepted by the whites in other neighborhoods.

A. Robert Allen has once again crafted a memorable addition to his fictional series that is full of historical facts. The characters are well shaped with intertwined story lines creating a smooth blend of fact and fiction. The various facets of the story are pulled together with a gripping climax to keep the reader engaged to the very end. The fast pace and short chapters kept me turning the pages while the other part of me did not want the book to end.

Each book in this series has found a special place in my heart. I can only hope the fourth book is in the works. A. Robert Allen is an author to follow for future publications.

Well Researched and Written

—Brenda

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This was the third book in the “Slavery and Beyond” series by Allen. I have read all of them and am always amazed at how well Allen mixes historical facts with his fictional characters. This book tells the story of Bodee, a young man with slight psychic abilities who helps to save many from the real-life fire and wreckage of the steamship SS Gen. Slocum in the East River. His heroic actions are based on those of an actual crew member, but Allen makes his character come alive well before the fire scenes when telling you pieces of Bodee’s life in New York on Minetta Lane, a prominent black neighborhood at the time. These books are well researched and written. I look forward to the next one.

I loved all the historic details in this story. The steamships were so fascinating. It was eye-opening to see what New York was like for minorities and immigrants in 1904. It took me a while to like the characters in the book, but I really liked them after their stories got going along. I had to keep reading to find out what would happen to them!

I received a free copy of this book from the author. Thanks!

Just Love the People on the Pages

—Kristi

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I won’t reveal in my review the center of suspense, hence the non-fiction part of this book. But I will say I just love the people on the pages, the standout Bodee Rivers, an insecure grandson of a slave, a baseball-lovin’ young man who runs like the wind and is most notably a remarkable clairvoyant. The story begins when Bodee resumes residing with his grandmother on tough Minetta Lane in racially divided New York, 1904, and continues on with Bodee’s ‘daydreaming’ quest to find strength and answers among the many questions in his mind, striving to choose a path of bravery over fear.

Among history is heroism. And life through decades thankfully increases compassion and equality. Faith always holds our hands in guidance. Our admiration for and our ability to empower these virtues is colorblind — it is what we witness and remember most during catastrophes: that we are all one, just humans helping humans. And when we move on from these moments in history, these moments in time, we take from them that feeling at that moment in time when we were all just helpless but hopeful humans, all deserved of freedom and safety, a helper helping the fallen, one soul saving another. We take that strong feeling of unity and we hope for it in our everyday existence. It is what energizes the soul of compassion and goodness. May the magic of embracing all that is good continue to grow. And may A. Robert Allen continue to write yearly about beautiful people.