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Jenna Bush Hager picks 'engaging' multigenerational family saga for April 2022

"Her writing transported me and Memphis came to life as if it was a character in the book," said Jenna Bush Hager.

After reading Kentucky-based love story, "Groundskeeping" by Lee Cole, for March, the Read With Jenna book club will travel south to Tennessee for a story about a legacy handed down through three generations of Black women in a Southern family.

The April 2022 Read With Jenna book club pick is "Memphis" by Tara M. Stringfellow.

"Memphis," by Tara M. Stringfellow

"This debut novel is a magnificent, engaging book about how love, trauma and sacrifice are passed down through three generations of Black women," said Jenna Bush Hager.

This debut novel is told over 70 years from the shifting perspectives of Hazel, her daughters’, Miriam and August, and Miriam’s daughter, Joan. The book jumps back and forth through time as it slowly unveils the legacy each generation passes down to the next.

"While the women endure deep loss, racism and abuse, they also find healing in friendship, community and forgiveness," said Jenna.

Stringfellow was inspired to start writing the book just after the 2016 election.

"Trump had just won the 2016 presidential election," said Stringfellow, "and I was angry. I was fed up with this country, with its targeted racism against Black folk, immigrants, anyone brown, anyone who spoke a different language."

As an English teacher, Stringfellow spent her summer vacations writing. Having grown up in Memphis, Tennessee, Stringfellow knew the setting would play an important role in the novel from the beginning

The debut author said, "We're the greatest American city in the world, we're the greatest people in the world, it's the most beautiful land in the world, it's the most beautiful city in the world. It's a Black city. Why would I set it anywhere else?"

As the book goes out in to the world Stringfellow shared her greatest hope, "I hope my city is proud of me."

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