Scarlet Carnation by Laila Ibrahim

"Historical Fiction" genre card with glasses and book photo

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This book is a continuation of a family saga series that I just absolutely love! It starts with Yellow Crocus, set in the 1800s and follows the life of two women, Lisbeth, a white plantation daughter, and Mattie, a slave and wet nurse. Each book after that one continues to follow those women and their descendants. I would absolutely recommend that you start at the beginning of this series, but I think you could read this as a stand-alone if you really wanted to.

With Scarlet Carnation, it’s 1915, and we follow May and Naomi. May finds herself in a difficult situation and needs to rely on her family to help her through. Naomi is such a supportive and loving person, and I enjoyed her in this story. She’s there for May, and she’s there for her whole family. I loved seeing her work toward her goals.

This series continues to speak to racial inequality, and I really appreciate Laila Ibrahim’s way of telling a story and bringing the issues to light. With one white and one black main character in each book, she shows the vast differences that each one experiences.

This story is told through alternating POVs between May and Naomi, and I enjoyed each view as they told their stories. The pace is pretty fast, so it felt like a quick read. I would highly recommend this one for readers that enjoy historical fiction!

Where to Find This Book:

Amazon ~ Goodreads

The Rest of This Series:

Yellow Crocus
Mustard Seed
Golden Poppies

Paper Wife isn’t part of this series, but it is another fantastic book from Laila Ibrahim!

In an early twentieth-century America roiling with racial injustice, class divides, and WWI, two women fight for their dreams in a galvanizing novel by the bestselling author of Golden Poppies.

1915. May and Naomi are extended family, their grandmothers’ lives inseparably entwined on a Virginia plantation in the volatile time leading up to the Civil War. For both women, the twentieth century promises social transformation and equal opportunity.

May, a young white woman, is on the brink of achieving the independent life she’s dreamed of since childhood. Naomi, a nurse, mother, and leader of the NAACP, has fulfilled her own dearest desire: buying a home for her family. But they both are about to learn that dreams can be destroyed in an instant. May’s future is upended, and she is forced to rely once again on her mother. Meanwhile, the white-majority neighborhood into which Naomi has moved is organizing against her while her sons are away fighting for their country.

In the tumult of a changing nation, these two women―whose grandmothers survived the Civil War―support each other’s quest for liberation and dignity. Both find the strength to confront injustice and the faith to thrive on their chosen paths.

Just the Facts:

Scarlet Carnation by Laila Ibrahim
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Pub Date: April 1, 2022


I was provided a gifted copy of this book for free. I am leaving my honest review voluntarily.

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