I loved the heartfelt debut, In West Mills by De’Shawn Charles Winslow. In this charming story about an African American family in North Carolina spanning from the 1940s – 1987, and the difficult struggles and complexities of love, we meet Knot. She has an unconventional lifestyle, always reveling in her freedom, as she lives alone, reads books and drinks a lot and whenever she pleases. When Knot gets herself into a bit of trouble, she reaches out to her neighbor and friend, Otis Lee for help. Otis Lee is loyal and trustworthy and steps up for his friend, but there are deeply hidden family secrets he is unaware of that have unknowingly altered his life and are making an impact on the ones he loves.
The troubled past and longtime friendships weave this small town community together through the generations and De’Shawn Charles Winslow captures our attention with his vivid voice and memorable characters. From out of wedlock pregnancies to disowned family members, Winslow depicts this big-hearted, southern community as gossip-filled and passionate, with tension and hurt along with love and support. I loved this story and highly recommend the heart warming and heart breaking In West Mills.
If you enjoyed this African American North Carolina community, check out No One Is Coming To Save Us by Stephanie Powell Watts.
About the Author:
De’Shawn Charles Winslow’s recent book is In West Mills. He was born and raised in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and in 2003 moved to Brooklyn, New York. He is a 2017 graduate of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and holds a BFA in creative writing and an MA in English literature from Brooklyn College. He has received scholarships from the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. De’Shawn lives in East Harlem.