Thursday, November 29, 2018

Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile

I discovered author, Natalie Baszile, earlier this year when I listened to an episode of Pen & Place (a podcast). The Pen & Place podcast showcases the real world places that inspired each author's work. After listening to the Pen & Place episode featuring Natalie Baszile, I knew I had to read her novel, Queen Sugar!

I decided to listen to the unabridged audio version of Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile and narrated by Miriam Hyman. I downloaded it from Audible. Listening time for Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile is 13 hours, 42 minutes.

I really enjoyed listening to this novel! I enjoyed the characters, the plot, and storyline very much... And my listening experience was only enhanced by Miriam Hyman's superb narrating skills.

I liked that Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile was not only an entertaining read, but one that made you think as well. Racial issues/injustices play a large role in Queen Sugar in many different forms. How this effects the different characters is played out in different ways that are still so very relevant in lieu of today's current issues. 

I also liked how the main character, Charley Bordelon, starts her life over by moving to rural Louisiana from Los Angeles with her daughter and becomes a sugarcane farmer after inheriting the farm from her father. Charley faces many challenges and adversities in becoming a sugarcane farmer that go way beyond being a woman and an African American... But the fact that, Charley overcomes many difficult challenges and makes the best out of one bad situation after another showed grit and determination. She never gave up, when it would have been so easy to do just that early on in this novel... Reinvention, perseverance, and a lot of hard work + luck all played a hand in helping Charley become a successful sugarcane farmer. Charley finds a team of experienced people to help her succeed in sugarcane farming. Plus, the start of a budding romance makes the novel fun to read as well.

Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile is also filled with a cast of colorful characters not to be missed. I liked most of the characters in Queen Sugar... Prosper Denton had to be my character hands down... And Ralph Angel was my least favorite character in Queen Sugar.

The following is a plot summary for Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile from Audible:
A mother-daughter story of reinvention - about an African American woman who unexpectedly inherits a sugarcane farm in Louisiana.
Why exactly Charley Bordelon's late father left her 800 sprawling acres of sugarcane land in rural Louisiana is as mysterious as it was generous. Recognizing this as a chance to start over, Charley and her 11-year-old daughter, Micah, say good-bye to Los Angeles.
They arrive just in time for growing season but no amount of planning can prepare Charley for a Louisiana that's mired in the past: as her judgmental but big-hearted grandmother tells her, cane farming is always going to be a white man's business. As the sweltering summer unfolds, Charley must balance the overwhelming challenges of her farm with the demands of a homesick daughter, a bitter and troubled brother, and the startling desires of her own heart.
Penguin has a rich tradition of publishing strong Southern debut fiction - from Sue Monk Kidd to Kathryn Stockett to Beth Hoffman. In Queen Sugar, we now have a debut from the African American point of view. Stirring in its storytelling of one woman against the odds and intimate in its exploration of the complexities of contemporary southern life, Queen Sugar is an unforgettable tale of endurance and hope.
I am giving Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile a rating of 4 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!!


  1. Excellent! This looks like a great read. I have heard of the author somewhere. I will check it out.

    1. The Oprah Winfrey Network has created a television series loosely based on the novel, which I haven't seen. Maybe you've heard about the author and novel from the tv series?