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Caribbean literature showcases an array of genres, spanning romance, historical fiction, magical realism, poetry, and memoirs. The region’s rich history, cultural fusion, and breathtaking landscapes set the stage for some of the most captivating stories you will ever read. From thrilling mysteries to insightful social commentary and tales of love and magical realism, Caribbean authors have a little something for everyone. Their voices are as diverse as the islands themselves, offering fresh perspectives on universal themes. As we read our way through 2024, let’s take a sneak peek at some of the most anticipated Caribbean book releases that you should add to your reading list.
Lux Cooper hesitated to wed Mario Blevins and join his elitist family days before Christmas. Coerced by familial pressure, Lux glimpsed her best friend, Hudson Falk, at the chapel. Seizing his offered hand, she fled, unaware of his divine heritage. Their escape unravelled unexpected love and a magical Christmas under Norway’s Northern Lights.
Set against the backdrop of the high seas, a historical romance unfolds. Lady Lisbeth Medford, a renowned spy, masquerades as the daring Bonnie Bess aboard a smuggling vessel en route to the West Indies. When her cover is compromised, she faces perilous seas and a new challenge in Raphael Saint, a charming yet enigmatic French duke. With secrets and danger swirling around them, they embark on a tumultuous journey, navigating storms, deception, and undeniable chemistry. Amid treachery, they find that unity might be the key to survival.
Kamilah Cole’s ‘So Let Them Burn,’ inaugurating the ‘Divine Traitors’ series, immerses readers in a Jamaican-inspired fantasy. Seventeen-year-old Faron Vincent, endowed with divine powers, liberated her island from the dragon-riding Langley Empire. Now hailed as a legend but viewed as a nuisance, she faces unexpected trials at an international summit, grappling with bonds, secrets, and choices that will alter destinies. Scheduled for release on January 16, 2024, this whip-smart narrative echoes themes of post-war impact and colonization, catering to enthusiasts of ‘Iron Widow’ and ‘The Priory of the Orange Tree.’
Broughtupsy by Christina Cooke, Jamaica, (January 23, 2024)
Christina Cooke’s debut novel ‘Broughtupsy’ follows Akúa, a young Jamaican woman seeking belonging after her brother’s death. Returning to Jamaica, she reunites with her estranged sister, confronting cultural estrangement. Exploring childhood haunts, she meets Jayda, sparking a deeper understanding of her identity, sexuality, and the complexities of family bonds. This poignant diasporic saga navigates home, sexuality, and familial obligations, set to release on January 23, 2024.
A mesmerizing tale unfolds in ‘The House of Plain Truth,’ chronicling a fractured Jamaican family and a daughter’s unwavering pursuit to reclaim her heritage. Following her father’s passing, Pearline rushes from Brooklyn to Jamaica, unprepared for his enigmatic dying wish: to reunite with long-lost siblings after 60 years and uncover a haunting family secret. Across Cuba, Montego Bay, Brooklyn, and Havana, Pearline grapples with reconciling her familial beliefs and uncovering the undeniable truths about her roots. Inspired by the author’s personal history, this nuanced novel explores familial divides, the essence of belonging, and the sacrifices one must make in the quest for personal fulfilment.
In a destitute village near Tanglewood Manor, Aoife, an Irish Indentured’s eldest daughter, loves George Oliver Williams. Rejected due to class bias, her unkindness towards heiress Dido Dubois leads to a curse from Belloko and Pouq, transforming her into the haunting Steel Donkey. Ten years on, John Jack, a compassionate freed slave, bonds with Aoife. Steel Donkey sightings spark rumors. “Tanglewood” in 1840s Barbados explores Irish Indentured isolation and the Steel Donkey’s enigmatic origin..
Anita de Monte, once an art world sensation, meets a tragic end in NYC, but her memory fades by 1998. Raquel, an art history student, grapples with alienation at College Hill, dominated by privileged peers. Entangled in a romance, Raquel’s ascent parallels Anita’s forgotten tale, probing power, love, and art’s selective remembrance in the elite circles. Told from both women’s perspectives, “Anita de Monte Laughs Last” navigates the dualities of recognition and neglect in society’s upper echelons.
Award-winning author Myriam J. A. Chancy weaves an enduring tale of two families united by country and hidden truths, following Gertie and Sisi, childhood friends despite social differences. Their bond fractures due to a revealing deathbed moment, leading separate lives during François Duvalier’s perilous reign. “Village Weavers” boldly confronts societal silences, depicting lives torn apart, as these girls, connected for life, endeavour to overcome inherited mistrust and rekindle their hearts’ connection across continents and time.
In “The Cemetery of Untold Stories,” acclaimed writer Alma Cruz seeks to avoid the fate of her novelist friend by not letting her untold stories haunt her mind. Inheriting a small plot in the Dominican Republic, she transforms it into a graveyard for her unrealized characters and drafts. Alma aims for closure, yet her characters defy her, unraveling their hidden narratives. Filomena, the caretaker, becomes a confidante as these stories unfold, including the forgotten tales of Bienvenida, Trujillo’s discarded wife, and Manuel Cruz, an underground fighter. The characters rebel, reshaping their stories and questioning whose narratives are heard or buried. Alvarez’s captivating novel explores the power and persistence of untold tales, resonating with themes of beauty, authenticity, and the everlasting essence of life stories, drawing parallels to Allende’s “Violeta” and Kingsolver’s “Demon Copperhead.
‘King of Dead Things,’ by Nevin Holness, intertwines Afro-Caribbean folklore into an urban young adult fantasy. Tracking the journey of Eli and Malcolm, two Black teens with extraordinary abilities, the narrative unveils their quest for a potent artifact in London’s hidden magical realm. Eli, gifted with healing and soul-bound magic, and Malcolm, burdened by lethal inherited powers, collide in pursuit of the fang of Osebo, a dangerous weapon. As they navigate through mystical encounters and face personal demons, their friendship, found family, and cultural heritage are at stake. Set for release on April 16, 2024, this debut promises an immersive adventure resonating with Caribbean legends, African diasporic mythologies, and a gripping plot akin to works by Neil Gaiman and Leigh Bardugo.
After a hiatus due to dissociative identity disorder, Kenetria Nash and her alters seize a chance as caretakers of a historic home on a remote Hudson River island. Amidst an unexpected visit and a storm, Ken becomes a murder suspect. To survive and unveil Kavanaugh Island’s secrets, Ken’s alters unite, racing against time to clear their name and unearth their enigmatic past.
Thirteen-year-old Pumkin Patterson resides in a cramped Kingston house with her ambitious grandmother, dreamy Aunt Sophie, and often absent mother. Sophie’s move to Paris promises a new life for Pumkin, contingent on her passing a French exam. When family dynamics shift, Pumkin embarks on a baking venture to fund her exam, facing household turmoil and unexpected challenges in her pursuit of freedom and belonging in “Sweetness in the Skin,” a poignant tale of self-discovery and resilience.
Eveen the Eviscerator is skilled, discreet, professional, and here for your most pressing needs in the ancient city of Tal Abisi. Her guild is strong, her blades are sharp, and her rules are simple. Those sworn to the Matron of Assassins—resurrected, deadly, wiped of their memories—have only three unbreakable vows.
First, the contract must be just. That’s above Eveen’s pay grade.
Second, even the most powerful assassin may only kill the contracted. Eveen’s a professional. She’s never missed her mark.
The third and the simplest: once you accept a job, you must carry it out. And if you stray? A ﬁnal death would be a mercy. When the Festival of the Clockwork King turns the city upside down, Eveen’s newest mission brings her face-to-face with a past she isn’t supposed to remember and a vow she can’t forget.
The Lost Love Songs of Boysie Singh by Ingrid Persaud, Trinidad and Tobago (April 25, 2024)
Meet four distinct women entangled in the web of Boysie Singh, a notorious gangster. Popo, determined to break free from her past; Mana Lala, devoted to her son amid a distant relationship; Doris seeks social ascension through her husband; Rosie longs for a peaceful life with her lover and store. Their lives, shaped by Boysie, unveil tales of hope, survival, and the lingering impact of his charisma.
Starting her final high school year, Karmen grapples with her brother Julian’s recent suicide. Amid school struggles and family tension, her quest for answers about Julian intensifies. With a newfound friend and budding romance, she faces distractions and uncertainties, questioning whether she can comprehend Julian’s pain and find the will to embrace life once more.
Georgina Wilcox, a shy woman with a hidden musical gift, fumes as her reclusive widowed sister refuses aid from the Duke of Torrance. To retaliate, Georgina impulsively kisses a stranger, Lord Mark Sebastian, in Anya House’s gardens. When the scandal spreads, Mark, a reserved composer, vows to protect her reputation and his shot at the prestigious Harlbert’s Prize. They devise a plan, feigning courtship while honing Georgina’s singing prowess, facing challenges and unexpected desires along the way.
Sarah Dass’s ‘It Waits in the Forest’ follows Selina DaSilva on St. Virgil Island, initially disbelieving in magic. Trauma anchors her to the island, where she deceives tourists. Strange murders unveil sinister forces, compelling her and ex-boyfriend Gabriel, a journalist, to investigate. As they probe, buried emotions and family secrets resurface, entwined with the malevolent presence lurking in the island’s woods, driving them to confront their haunting past.
In a war-torn world, Jerusalem, a fearless Saint with demigod-like abilities, fights alongside the Union against Confederates allied with vampires. Driven by vengeance and a quest for Black freedom, she begrudgingly partners with the vampire Alexei, a Union supporter. Their unlikely alliance aims to reshape history, seeking justice, and confronting personal demons, even if it means challenging divine forces.
Isabel Luna Valdes, the unnoticed Luna sister, embraces her role while using familial ties to the Mexican ambassador in London to hunt for British intelligence aiding Mexico during the French Occupation. Amid ballrooms and secret spaces, her quest faces obstacles like amorous pairs and lurking rogues—particularly the charismatic Captain Sirius Dawson. Their undeniable attraction clashes with Isabel’s determination to safeguard Mexico. Uncovering crucial correspondence, she risks her heart and courts danger for her country, challenging their budding romance.
For Such A Time As This by Shani Akilah, Guyana/Barbados/Jamaica (June 13, 2024)
Gabby and Jonathan’s encounter at a wedding sparks hope for a connection, but destiny takes an unexpected turn. Niah confronts her employer’s insincere stance on diversity, facing pervasive racism at its core. Sharna unravels family secrets during a Jamaica trip, reshaping her perception of their history. Shani Akilah’s compelling collection illuminates the lives of Black-British Londoners, intertwining tales of love, friendship, identity, and the intricate dynamics shaping their existence.
The Boy to Beat the Gods by Ashley Thorpe, Jamaica (July 4, 2024)
Ashley Thorpe’s ‘The Boy to Beat the Gods’ unfolds in pre-colonial Nigeria, drawing from West African Yoruba mythology. Kayode, the protagonist, harbors a dream to consume the forbidden fruit of the Orishas for their power, aiming to halt the tyranny imposed on his people. His quest ignites when a mystical fruit materializes after his sister’s abduction by the Orishas. Empowered but challenged to wield his newfound abilities, Kayode allies with a shapeshifting trickster god and a determined princess, endeavouring to rescue his sister and confront the formidable Orishas. As the escalating threats of these divine beings test his stolen godlike strength, an action-packed middle-grade fantasy unravels, merging historical accuracy, mythology, and high-stakes adventure. Scheduled for publication on July 4, 2024, this tale of unexpected alliances, formidable deities, epic clashes, and a boy’s daring sacrifice targets readers seeking gripping narratives of bravery and kinship
No Small Thing by Orlaine McDonald, Jamaica (18th July, 2024)
Orlaine McDonald’s ‘No Small Thing’ delves into the lives of three women residing below Earl’s flat in Blossom View Estate. The tale follows Livia, the Runner, forced to confront her past; Mickey, the Firecracker, grappling with abandonment; and Summer, the Child, navigating an unconventional family dynamic. Across a year, the narrative unravels the complexities of love’s impact, delving into motherhood, the amalgamation of class and race, and inherited histories. Laden with themes of hope, longing, and sorrow, this poignant novel, set for release on July 18, 2024, offers a profound exploration of human connections and the scars we inflict on those closest to us.
Jasmyn and King Williams relocate their family to Liberty, California, envisioning an ideal Black utopia fostering community and prosperity. While King assimilates seamlessly, relishing Liberty’s wellness hub, Jasmyn struggles amid a community more focused on luxury than racial justice. Alienated, she unearths a harrowing truth about Liberty’s founders, causing dread as loved ones embrace the town’s dark secret. “One of Our Kind” unfolds a thrilling narrative with profound social reflections, probing the complexities of freedom and our preconceived notions about identity and society.
Sleeping With the Enemy by Natalie Caña, Dominican Republic + Puerto Rico (October 29, 2024)
Leo Vega’s tumultuous love life endured long before a debilitating injury sidelined his firefighting career. Despite his return to work, reconciliation with Sofi—his sister’s friend and his intermittent love interest—remains elusive. Sofi, still grappling with past deception by her best friend, vows to sever ties with the Vega family, Leo included. Unexpected circumstances force them into a strained cohabitation, hindering Sofi’s attempts to move on. However, Papo Vega, spurred by Rosie’s insight, orchestrates a plan alongside Sofi’s mother to reunite the stubborn couple.
Remember, the world of Caribbean literature is vast and ever-evolving. This list is just a glimpse of what’s to come in 2024. As we keep an eye out for new releases, feel free to send us an email or a DM on Social media to help us expand this list. You can also join our Literary League over on Facebook.