adult Books Fiction Historical Fiction review

The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr. – Review

Genre: Historical Fiction
Published: February 2021
Publisher: Riverrun
Pages: 388
My Rating: 🦋🦋🦋🦋/5

“Samuel and Isaiah were, after all, boys, oftentimes helpful ones who were one bluster and the other tranquil, but never callous or aloof.”

Robert Jones Jr, The Prophets

‘Isaiah was Samuel’s and Samuel was Isaiah’s. That was the way it was from the beginning.’ On a plantation in the Deep South, these two young enslaved men find comfort in each other. The barn was not only a place they cleaned and tended to the animals. It was their safe space. A space where they could be themselves and with each other. A place of refuge. Until another slave starts preaching from the Bible and threatens them and their existence and causes some of the other slaves to turn on them.

The Prophets must be one of the most beautifully written, but absolutely heartbreaking books I have ever read. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to express in words the kind of emotions I felt while reading this book.

“The world tried to make her feel some other way, though. It had tried to make her bitter about herself. It had tried to make her gaze upon her reflection and judge what she saw as repulsive.”

We are taken back to a time when slavery was the norm. Where families were torn apart without a second thought. Where human beings were treated as anything but, because of the colour their skin. They were used as tools for labour, chained, beaten, bred and treated like animals.

This was not an easy read, you definitely need to concentrate while reading this book. That being said I couldn’t put it down. It was an absolute emotional rollercoaster at the end.

I never cry when I read books, no matter how attached I am to the characters and no matter how sad the story is, but this book brought me very close to tears. The writing is beautiful and poetic. Chapters alternate the between different characters. Not just Isaiah and Samuel, but their fellow slaves and the slave owners.

I can see why this book is spoken so highly of and can definitely add it to my list of favourite historical fiction novels. It is a story that will stay with me for a very long time.

Disclaimer: I was sent this free copy for review by Jonathan Ball Publishers. This does not influence my review or rating in any way. All views and opinions expressed are my own.

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