The Scent of Burnt Flowers

Ballantine. Jun. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9780593496237. $27. F
DEBUT Filmmaker, painter, and musician Bazawule makes his writing debut with a fast-paced story set in the 1960s. Melvin and Bernadette are on the run after an incident in a diner in segregated Alabama. They flee to Ghana to escape the predicament that could land them both in jail or worse. Melvin poses as a pastor, Bernadette as his wife. They chose Ghana because the nation’s president, Kwame Nkrumah, attended university with Melvin in the States, and Melvin saved Nkrumah’s life during a college prank. Melvin now seeks out Nkrumah for a return favor. As the story unfolds, readers learn details of the situation in Alabama and about an FBI agent who is tracking down Bernadette and Melvin. In Ghana, Melvin and Bernadette are assisted by a famous Ghanian musician.
VERDICT This story has magic, political conspiracy, and romance, along with the historical elements of the U.S. civil rights movement and Ghanian colonization. It will appeal to readers of many genres who enjoy an eccentric cast of characters in a vibrant historical setting.
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