Newlyweds Celestial and Roy are the embodiment of both the American Dream and the New South. He is a young executive, and she is an artist on the brink of an exciting career. But as they settle into the routine of their life together, they are ripped apart by circumstances neither could have imagined. Roy is arrested and sentenced to twelve years for a crime Celestial knows he didn’t commit. Though fiercely independent, Celestial finds herself bereft and unmoored, taking comfort in Andre, her childhood friend, and best man at their wedding. As Roy’s time in prison passes, she is unable to hold on to the love that has been her center. After five years, Roy’s conviction is suddenly overturned, and he returns to Atlanta ready to resume their life together.
This stirring love story is a profoundly insightful look into the hearts and minds of three people who are at once bound and separated by forces beyond their control. An American Marriage is a masterpiece of storytelling, an intimate look deep into the souls of people who must reckon with the past while moving forward–with hope and pain–into the future.
My Thoughts: In alternating voices, An American Marriage takes the reader along on a perilous journey, one fraught with injustice, separation, and pain.
Roy’s incarceration aroused my anger, as I could imagine a situation like this, one that is grossly unfair and which changes lives forever.
The story is told through letters and through the voices of Roy, Celestial, and Andre. Beautifully written, it unfolded slowly, making the five years seem interminable, but also very real.
What happens to these characters might seem predictable, as events such as these leave permanent marks on the soul and the body.
Could Roy and Celestial pick up the lives that were ripped from them? Would the years that had separated them reveal too much harm to be repaired? Would a tumultuous and passionate confrontation help them to reconnect with the lives they had left behind?
Even as I could see where the story would lead, I kept hoping for some kind of healing that would feel like justice had finally been done…but sometimes the only healing to be found is the kind that allows for new beginnings. 5 stars.