A great YA historical fiction series starter

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Set in 1910s Chicago, THE DAVENPORTS tells the story of four young Black women navigating life within a family of wealth – an unusual status for Black families in the United States at this time. Formerly enslaved, William Davenport builds the Davenport Carriage Company, amassing his fortune and place within society. His daughters Olivia and Helen find themselves yearning to follow paths that are not acceptable to the family. Ruby, Olivia’s best friend, has interest in their brother but the relationship doesn’t go as planned. Amy-Rose grew up with the Davenport children and now works as their maid but has aspirations to open her own business and dreams of marrying someone that society deems is not right for her. Will each of the young women find a way to get what they want?

I loved that THE DAVENPORTS was inspired by a real family, the C.R. Pattersons who owned C.R. Patterson & Sons Carriage Company. All of the main characters are Black which was great to have that representation as I haven’t read much historical fiction from this time period lately and liked that it was focused on African American history. The narration rotates between each of the four young women. The characters are well-developed and felt very genuine. I enjoyed the dynamics between them and their families and the ways they questioned their places in the family and society, daring to challenge status quo while they explored how they aimed to move forward in life. Despite having wealth, the young women as well as their families faced difficulties and dangerous situations, giving a reminder that the power of money only goes so far during this turbulent time in the U.S., especially for Black families. There were parts that were difficult to read but are pieces of history that are necessary to be acknowledged. The plot moved along at a good pace that had me eagerly turning pages. I liked how the romance aspects were written. When I reached the conclusion, my heart sank as I had forgotten that this is the first book of a series. I was disappointed to not find out how each of the girls’ plot lines resolved, but that just leaves me with something to look forward to in the next book.

I thoroughly enjoyed THE DAVENPORTS and would highly recommend it. Although a YA book, I think it appeals to a wider audience. This is book one of Krystal Marquis’s The Davenports series. I will definitely be reading future books in this series.

Thank you to Dial Books for the giveaway ARC.