An unintended pregnancy, depending on one’s circumstance, is either a blessing or a curse. It also forces both the pregnant person (and their spouse/partner, if there is one) to make a decision that could border on difficult.
The House of Eve, by Sadeqa Johnson, was published last month. Taking place in the 1950s, it follows the stories of two young ladies who are in the family way. In Philadelphia, Ruby was born to a teenage mother who has more interest in keeping her boyfriend happy than being a parent. Despite this and the poverty she lives in, Ruby is determined to attend college. A wrench is thrown into that plan via a forbidden romance. Shimmy is the son of her aunt’s Jewish landlord. When Ruby discovers that she is to become a mother herself, their situation becomes infinitely more complicated.
In Washington D.C., Eleanor is a bright and determined university student. Coming from a working-class family, she wants to make her parents proud. Though she is not looking for love, it finds her. William is the eldest son of an elite upper-class black family. Eleanor is an unexpected choice for a daughter-in-law and not exactly welcomed with open arms. Once they are married, she hopes that bringing their child into the world will solidify their marriage and finally force the respect of her in-laws. But it seems that fate has other plans for her.
I enjoyed this book. The narrative is compelling, the characters are fully drawn, and the details of the era are pitch-perfect. Though Eleanor and Ruby seem to live very different lives, they have a lot in common. As the story intertwines and their combined destiny inches closer, universal questions about motherhood and the choices they make become real.
Do I recommend it? Absolutely.
The House of Eve is available wherever books are sold.