From Bertice Berry comes this inspiring debut novel, both a modern love story and a tribute to the power of the written word.

Josephine Fina Chambers and Ross Buchannan meet in Black Images, a small, unique African-American bookstore both in search of Children of Grace, a slave woman's book of memories. But there is one problem: There is only one copy of this rare book in the store. So the owner of the store, Miss Cosy, insists that the book is not for sale, but agrees to let them both read it on two conditions: They must read it aloud together, and the book cannot leave the store.

I don't know when I was borned, but now I know why. I was put here to tell a story. A story of love. Cause love is powerful and can't nothing stop it. Not even the place I'm in can stop my love. They call it slavery. I call it death. And so begins Iona's story, her heart-breaking story of slavery, and a whole new world is opened to Fina and Ross. They enter the world of chains and of forbidden love. Iona tells of her intense, real love for the slave man Joe, a love which is not recognized within the bonds of slavery. They are torn from each other as Joe is sold to another plantation, and Iona comes to see what bitterness and pain life can hold.

Iona's story holds important lessons for Fina and Ross. They come to understand the importance of the connections between people even when painful, love is worth fighting for. They begin to cherish their heritage, and to learn from the past and the experiences of others. They see that people before them lived through tough times, and they can too. Finally, they come to recognize the power of books, their ability to influence people and change lives.

As Iona writes to conclude her story, Learn from this past that's yours. Take the gift of what I done seen and use it to love. This is the Recipe of Life, the road to freedom. Freedom just ain't about living free its about being free. The chains on our wrist ain't as strong as the ones on our mind. The only thing that can win over evil is love. Learn to love, strive to love, cause we ain't got time for nothing else.

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