Reviews of A Wave From Mama

Some reviewers loved the history…

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I love historical fiction, but get easily frustrated by many authors complete disregard for facts in favor for a good story. Like the two are mutually exclusive, but reading A Wave From Mama I was please by the amount of research and accuracy throughout the novel. Mr. Allen shows that a good story can be accurate and entertaining at the same time.

This is a beautifully written novel about patience, family, and letting go. The characters are well developed, the minute Vent jumps (literally and figuratively) onto the scene you are connected to him. You want to know his past, you want him to success and thrive. If you aren’t near tear towards the end, you need to take a look in the mirror and reevaluate some thing.

Now this book is suppose to be the second in the Slavery and Beyond series, but reading the first book is not necessary, this is more of a stand alone. In my opinion, much better then the first one. This was just a feel good book from beginning to end, with some lol moments in-between. Definitely something to put in my repeat read pile.

Received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

A touching and heartfelt story of letting go

—Bianca Johnson

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A Wave from Mama is the second novel in A. Robert Allen’s series, Slavery and Beyond. An historical fiction novel that begins in the year 1863, following the Draft Riots, in Weeksville, New York where former slaves find refuge in the camp where they found refuge and yearned to start a new life. It is a history lesson in post civil war tense relations between Blacks, Irish immigrants, gangs and police corruption and incorporated in the story is the historic importance of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge.

The reader is immediately introduced to the central characters, Venture Simmons who is a socially awkward and physical small but very agile boy who witnessed the rape and murder of his mother, and the man, Moses Brown, who would become Venture’s confidant and best friend. Venture promises his Mama’s memory to all with the shouts, “You killed Mama, and you’re all gonna pay!”

The story of Venture is touching with the love and friendship of the people who would become his family who take him in as their own family (Esther, Thomas, Mabel and Horace Washington), his friend Moses, the young girl Grace who would eventually become his wife, and John Singleton and most importantly Venture’s love and devotion to his Mama’s memory. This love and friendship all in the midst of the tumultuous time in history.

A Wave from Mama is a history lesson of events that I wasn’t aware of; that is the Draft Riots, the clash between the Irish and Blacks and the history and significant importance of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. I was immediately drawn in to the story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and thank the author, A. Robert Allen, for teaching me about these aspects of post civil war history and slavery that I knew little about in a most captivating novel.

Historic fiction is my favorite genre of fiction and this novel did not disappoint.

A Wave From Mama

—Jennifer Woodward

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A few spot checks (plus some notes at the end of the book) assured me this was a well researched piece of history. New York, Brooklyn and surrounding area in the period after the Civil War, provides the backdrop for a wonderful story about the lives of freed blacks and Irish immigrants. The story weaves together a series of seemingly unrelated events with the centrepiece being an unlikely hero – one of the recently freed slaves who captures the reader’s heart. A very well written book that starts slowly but builds suspense and emotion leading to a more than satisfactory conclusion.

Excellent History Lesson

—Brian Borgford

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It is an honor to be selected to review a book! A Wave From Mama is the second in The Slavery and Beyond series. The story is based during a particular time of history that occurred in the 1860s in Brooklyn leading up to the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. Unfamiliar with these particular historical events, A Wave from Mama not only provided an excellent read but also highlighted a specific historical event. The characters of Vent, Moses, and John Singleton matured throughout the story and proved that fortitude, love, friendship, and mentoring are key to succeeding in life, even when it is filled with heartache, disappointment, and setbacks. I would highly recommend this book, especially if you love historical fiction, and the writing is powerful enough for me to read the first book in the series.

Book Worth the Read

—Dayna Hauschild

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Venture Simmons (Vent) is the central character in A. Robert Allen’s new book “A Wave from Mama.” I read Allen’s first book and have to say his story and character development has evolved in this series. The story puts Vent as a post-slavery black man in the middle of New York cleverly interacting with issues in his own family and community, but also with Irish gangs, the police, and laborers. With a twist highlighting Vent’s overall social vulnerability, on top of all of life’s adversity, Allen put Vent on “the spectrum.” Vent’s approach to life makes all those knowing him better for the experience – a true survivor. Allen’s ability to keep dialog edgy and succinct keeps this exciting story moving and hard to put down. I like the references to actual historical facts, including how the Brooklyn Bridge was constructed.

The Brooklyn Bridge and a terrific central Character! What’s not to like — couldn’t put it down.

—Michael Harwood

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Historical fiction novels are among my favorite genres to read and “A Wave From Mama” certainly fit the bill because the author, Mr. Allen, held my attention from the first page as I discovered information about racial tensions between African Americans and Irish gangs during the time of New York’s Draft Riots.

The author interweaves the life of protagonist, Vent, through a series of minor plots which are peppered with surprising outcomes. I cried and I laughed out loud but through it all I kept rooting for Vent! Vent was brought to life through the multi facets of his personality which caused me to adore this character! Mr. Allen also did a superb job as he explains the detailed construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. I was surprised to learn about Caisson’s Disease and how this mysterious disease resulted in multiple deaths during the years of the bridge’s construction. A Wave From Mama was the 2nd book I’ve read by this author and I look forward to reading his next novel in this series.

As a side note, I learned the word baseball was originally spelled as two words, “base ball,” during the 1800’s.

I received a free advance copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review and I can honestly say, “Read this book, you will enjoy it!”

History comes to life!

—Kim Newman

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This historically based novel takes Place in New York City and Brooklyn starting in 1863 Right after the NY Draft Riots, which brings us to The free Black community of Weeksville (now Crown Heights) where one could be a black land owner if they could pay $250 and also have the privilege to vote.

Then there is also the rival Irish gangs in NYC, The whiskey kings, protecting their illegal distilleries, where they make a spirit called sweet Poteen, and the crooked cops who oversee the whole area.
The story mainly follows a young black man (Venture) of small stature, who loved to run jump and climb with amazing agility. But who has some type of mental challenge, such as Asperger Syndrome. He is befriended after losing his mother, by a family in weeksville and by two brothers, Moses and Ezra, who do all they can to help him.

We learn a lot about New York and that part of Brooklyn during this time period. The racial tension between the Irish, Blacks and Germans, and of the relationship between the police and the Irish.

The later part of the book describes the building of the Brooklyn bridge and how Venture (Vent, for short) Has always wanted to work on the top of the bridge, as he is not afraid of heights and loves feeling on top of the world.
There are so many interactions between people, all fascinating but too many to really include in the review, but you will get caught up in all of these characters, and want to know what happens.
I read the first book by this Author and loved it as well. This second novel, follows the first chronologically but not as far as the characters go.
I want to thank the author for letting me read this very interesting story. I look forward to the next.

Full of history…

—Allison Duflon

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A Wave From Mama is the second book in the Slavery and Beyond series by A. Robert Allen (the first being Failed Moments, which I also read and reviewed). It highlights the tensions between Irish immigrants and freed slaves living in and around New York. Although this is a work of fiction, the descriptions of Weeksville (a town settled by freed slaves, later to become part of Brooklyn), the Draft Riots, the building of the Brooklyn Bridge and the missionaries in Liberia are all historically accurate and obviously well researched.

The fictional characters of Ezra and Moses Brown, Junius Morel, Ester Washington and several others are well developed and believable. The main character, Venture, is a (possibly autistic) boy with a tortured past that left him mentally unsound until he is taken into a Weeksville home and given unconditional love and acceptance. Even the “bad guys” are memorable and realistic.

I like the author’s writing style and his descriptions of baseball, horse carts and general life in the 1860s, although some of the character’s conversations seemed a little stilted (freed slaves wouldn’t sound as educated). Overall I enjoyed this book very much and look forward to the next book in his Slavery and Beyond series.

I received a complimentary copy of A Wave From Mama in exchange for writing a review. I wasn’t asked to leave a positive review, nor was I compensated in any way for giving my honest opinion of the product. Look at the thousands of reviews I’ve written over thirteen years and you’ll see that I work hard to give an honest opinion of the products I review.

Characters you won’t forget!

—Lisa Kearns

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“A Wave From Mama,” is a very good historical read about the endurance of former black slaves in a white society that was not ready to accept freed black people.
The story is built around a young male child, small for his age, who is in complexion more white than black, along with his mother, are runaways from the inhumane southern system that produced him. On the journey north, the boy whose name is Venture Simmons is witness to the rape-murder of his mother by two mystery men in a rooming house. Venture is so traumatized by his mother’s death that in his escape to Weeksville, New York (a colored community) he not only becomes a psychopathic killer of raccoons (mainly for food) but himself a danger to people as well.

As a modern day reader, I interpret the author’s character description of Venture as a savant who is brilliant in mathematics, but repeats a mindless mantra with a blank stare, bent on a dangerous mission of revenge for the death of his mother.
Events in this book take place in New York in a mythical town named Weeksville, (which today would be considered a borough) outside of Brooklyn, New York. Venture or Vent as he comes to be known, is taken in by a kindhearted family and is nurtured by Ms. Esther, matriarch of the family, who teaches him to discern the difference between right and wrong. Thus, as Vent grows out of vengeful adolescent, amid many misadventures, one which brings him close to dying, the flawed child becomes a proven man. The reader is given a categorical insight into the difficulty of freed slaves and black families living in the North after their emancipation. Such as the conflicts with Irish immigrants, despot police, and many road blocks to forging a community and bringing up families in a fledging nation after the Civil War.
Book clubs may want to consider “A Wave From Mama” for their next read.

Historical Fiction full of twists and turns

—Jacqueline Sue

Others loved the thought-provoking themes…

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I was asked by the author to give a review of this book via Goodreads and, despite the genre of the book not being my usual, I thought I would give it a go as it was included in my Kindle Unlimited subscription. I was reading another book at the time, and I am usually a “one book at a time” reader, however I started to read, and once I did I could not put this book down until I had finished it.

I was immediately engrossed in the characters and the story. The characters were so well developed, they jumped right out of my Kindle as if they were real – I felt I knew them personally, and I loved how their lives interwove with one another. I have never rooted for a character as much as I did for Vent! I was so happy he got his “Wave from Mama” that I cried!

I agree with some other reviewers of this book – that it should most definitely be made into a film. I cannot recommend this book highly enough, it is truly one of the best books I have ever read! I have now downloaded the first book in this volume: Failed Moments while I eagerly await new volumes in the Slavery and Beyond Series.

Truly one of the best books I have ever read!

—Nicola Picken

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“A Wave From Mama” by A. Robert Allen is the second book of the Slavery & Beyond Series, and is an example of superb writing. Author Allen presented actual history through believable characters in this historical fiction book. He depicted the hatred of the Irish towards the Blacks during the era of the building the Brooklyn bridge, and why the Irish did not want to go to war to fight for the freed blacks. Their fear that the blacks would take their jobs initiated the Draft Riots of New York during the 1800’s. Allen created several believable characters through whom he presented history from different perspectives that are insightful and thought-provoking.

A. Robert Allen expounds on the common struggle to either pursue revenge, take a step back to weigh its consequences, or to seek to forgive in order to mover forward. He highlights “family” and what it means to be family to different people, and how they respond in their circumstances. Although there is some vulgarity, it seems fitting for the scenes, and gives a reality check of what unfolds with each of the characters involved.

Allen spotlights the details and factual technology of the building the Brooklyn Bridge – a spectacular structure in the 1800’s – through a school teacher’s example of what it takes to build a an expansion bridge. I thought it to be very informative.

The title, “A Wave From Mama,” finds its meaning at the end of the story, and brings the main character, Venture, full circle from childhood to young adult – his struggles, defeats, perseverance, and his humble victory.

It is a fast-paced story using actual places and real names in accurate detail. Allen gives fictional common folks a real world dimension as they deal with racial tension, corruption in high places, and what people will do to survive. Allen is a true craftsman with a unique writing style. His character development flows like a river – a trickle at first and then fast-flowing as it picks up more of what its made of along the way.

I would recommend “A Wave From Mama,” not only because historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, but because of the rich historical detail one takes away from a book so well written as this one.

Family Loyalty Can Be a Motivating Force

—Rita Kroon

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The book opens with cruelty of the times – in the 1860’s – racism at its worst – horror against women children anyone of color. The young boy, “Venture” – (Vent) the main characters survives the un-imaginable. The power of what he experienced is escalated by his undiagnosed mental health condition (autism) to where he is obsessed with getting even. This writer has an amazing way of bringing the reader into the challenges of this young boys grieving fight through his autistic mind and his oddly shaped body and super strength to climb and sore buildings and trees only add to his conflicts. His obsession with revenge twisted in his autism unfolds when he is taken in by a family. His loyalty knows no bound nor does their love for him. The author enhances and brings to deep light the racial discord as other characters are introduced – two brothers trying to survive the inequality and cruelty of their lives as young black men.trying to find their place in unique and rare all black community separate from white rule so long as they stay in bounds.The author’s ability to bring the reader into the struggles, hopes and fears is overwhelming by its harsh realities.. The author further adds more drama with a parallel Dynamic of Irish gang wars and riots and misuse of Power by Irish police. The stories run side-by-side leaving the reader waiting for the two to collide. And Collide they do as Vent crosses over from his black world into a corrupt Irish town to right wrongs and get even. The struggle this writer brought forth to explain these Dynamics was beyond anything I’ve ever read. Also, Vent finds love – and his autistic mind challenges him to receive and give love.. The author spares none in bringing the reader into Vent’s mind and life’s challenges and ability to move forward for a greater goal. It is heart wrenching and inspirational as the author makes known that danger looms. The final chapters are frightening, yet loving and redemptive. The author brings the reader to a dramatic end that doesn’t disappoint. This is a must read for anyone who has known trauma, revenge, hope, friendships, loyalty, love, courage, battled mental health and the will to survive and forgive.

Survival against all odds

—Gail Eichinger

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This is one of the best books I have read in the genre of historical fiction in some time. Not only is it historically accurate, and well researched, but the characters who fill its pages are a mixed group of real people and fictional characters who very well could be real. This is a story of the despair shared by the free blacks in New York and Brooklyn, and the Irish who struggled to keep their jobs and their way of life. But even within the desperate circumstances in which these groups lived, there is hope for better times, and a perseverance to keep going, and better their lives even as they fight for their place in their new found freedom. Anyone who loves good historical fiction, and vivid but realistic characters should not miss this story. I have a feeling that Venture’s story will stay with me for some time to come.

A Wave From Mama: a story of hope and despair

—Faith Elizabeth Cummings

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I was asked to read this book and give my honest opinion. What a touching and amazing story by A. Robert Allen. I went through a myriad of emotions as I read this book. The subject of slavery and prejudices is never easy but this amazing writer touches on freedom of same including the hardships these African Americans made as they fought for equality and land ownership giving them the right to vote.

This is a story that will touch your hearts and feel sadness for the brutality that early African Americans endured even though they were a free people.

But at what cost freedom it was so worth the lowly life enforced upon them as slavery.

I think author A. Robert Allen is forging ahead on an amazing journey, May we all go with him on this incredible journey. Well done A. Robert Allen.


—Raine Carter

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After reading Failed Moments, Allen’s first book, which I loved, I was anxious for more from this extremely talented author! Mr. Allen certainly delivered with his latest release, A Wave From Mama the second book in The Slavery and Beyond Series. Mr. Allen’s flair for writing brings the characters to life. His historical research is on point and is worked into the story without feeling like your reading a history textbook. I find myself getting lost in the story as if I’ve been transported back in time. While reading this book the characters brought out a range of emotions. At times I was even brought to tears! With each turn of a page I became more and more involved emotionally in the lives of the characters. I didn’t want to put this book down and carried it with me everywhere. Every spare moment I had was spent reading and anticipating what was going to happen next! I didn’t want it to end! If you are a historical fiction lover as I am this series is for you. Even though it is fiction many of the people and places were real. It takes quite a talent in my opinion to be able to weave the two together so effortlessly!

I will be anxiously awaiting the next book from this extremely talented author!

Another great read from A. Robert Allen

—Heidi Harsch

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Who knew a lesson in history could include love, patience, and suspense? Follow Vent’s emergence from a small contained life to one that has him standing on top of the world. The interwoven lives of ‘A Wave from Mama’s’ three main characters and the underlying presence of numbers captures the reader’s attention in this historical fiction page-turner.

With social rules guiding each and every facet of the lives we learn of, one can’t help but ponder the very rules that guide each of us. This read is both introspective and fascinating, as we learn more about ourselves and the societies we live in through each character.

The vision of clouds passing over the moon has now taken on a completely new meaning…find out for yourself !

A Wave from Mama

—Gail Simeone

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This book is like no other book that I have read. I found myself totally engrossed with the characters and where the story was going. The characters are well developed and you get a clear picture of who they are. I did not know until the end that this is a mix of fact and fiction. The author took one time period in New York history and told the story of a free slave called Vent. Vent has many issues and the biggest is he is alone in the world at eight years old. He has an unusual body build, along with a lack of social skills, he is a light-skinned black, small for his age and a deep, deep hatred for the men who killed his mama. He will get even if it’s the last thing he ever does. Vent has the ability to run, jump and flip in the air with great agility which helps him get a job on the new Brooklyn Bridge being built. This is a dangerous job some men can’t take it and some men die trying. There is so much to Vents’ life that will surprise, alarm, delight you and make you cry. Vent is taken in by a new family. Most of the family will love and guide him. Don’t be misled by that, there is nothing goody two shoes about this story. It is raw and honest and at times gut wrenching, remember this is the time when slaves were freed but times were slow to change. I must admit I did cry at times. I did receive this ebook in exchange for a fair and honest review. Treat yourself to a wonderful book with characters that won’t soon leave you. I absolutely loved it.


—Rhonda Holle

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We’ve all heard that saying, but have you ever actually done it purposefully? If not, A Wave From Mama by A. Robert Allen should be the first book you relax to.

There are so many wonderful things about this book form the history references to the strong developed characters, this novel is the book that keeps on giving. There are moments that will make you laugh. Moments that will make you cry . There are feel good moments and angry moments. All the while carrying you back into a time that requires thought and makes you want to be every character in the book…both good and bad.

I thoroughly enjoyed this second novel by A. Robert Allen in his Slavery and Beyond Series. Here’s to hopes there will be a volume III.

Sit back and relax with a good book

—Cyndi Williams-Curne

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This is not the type of book I usually read however I agreed to give the author an honest review based on a glowing recommendation from a close friend and I am so glad that I did!!

This book is beautifully written and I became completely enmeshed in the characters, plot and setting. There are a number of main characters and each one is unique and complex; I became indescribably attached from the beginning and found myself caring deeply about their stories. The characters were fully developed and seemed so real which I feel was down to the authors clever ability to encompass the frailties, strengths, weaknesses and evolution of each personality to the point where I felt I was genuinely watching them learn and grow

I felt the highs, I deeply felt the lows and I basked in the euphoria of the ending. A truly beautiful book which I can’t recommend highly enough.

Beautifully written

—Natalie Dianne