The Davenports (Hardcover)
January/February 2023 Kids Indie Next List
“The Davenports is an absolute delight and a fantastic historical YA exploring Black history and success at the turn of the century. I adored the four leading ladies learning, growing, falling in love, and seeking out their own paths.”
— Gabriella Crivilare, Prairie Fox Books, Ottawa, IL
"A fresh, utterly enchanting read.” —Ayana Gray, New York Times bestselling author of the Beasts of Prey trilogy
The Davenports are one of the few Black families of immense wealth and status in a changing United States, their fortune made through the entrepreneurship of William Davenport, a formerly enslaved man who founded the Davenport Carriage Company years ago. Now it's 1910, and the Davenports live surrounded by servants, crystal chandeliers, and endless parties, finding their way and finding love—even where they’re not supposed to.
There is Olivia, the beautiful elder Davenport daughter, ready to do her duty by getting married . . . until she meets the charismatic civil rights leader Washington DeWight and sparks fly. The younger daughter, Helen, is more interested in fixing cars than falling in love—unless it’s with her sister’s suitor. Amy-Rose, the childhood friend turned maid to the Davenport sisters, dreams of opening her own business—and marrying the one man she could never be with, Olivia and Helen’s brother, John. But Olivia’s best friend, Ruby, also has her sights set on John Davenport, though she can’t seem to keep his interest . . . until family pressure has her scheming to win his heart, just as someone else wins hers.
Inspired by the real-life story of the Patterson family, The Davenports is the tale of four determined and passionate young Black women discovering the courage to steer their own path in life—and love.
"Deftly written . . . A dazzling debut." —Kirkus (starred review)
"Stunningly wrought . . . Presents a cast of take-charge women." —PW (starred review)
"Compelling . . . distinct and satisfying." —BCCB
"Skilled . . . Well-written . . . Sure to please." —SLJ
"If this whole series existed right now, I’d tear through it to the exclusion of everything else in my life." —
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“With dazzling prose and whip-smart pacing, Krystal Marquis’s gorgeous debut spirits readers into a world of polished glamor, but also a world shadowed by painful reckonings. Through trial, defeat, defiance, and triumph, its characters offer heart and perspective. The Davenports is a fresh, utterly enchanting read, and a much-needed addition to the contemporary canon of Black literature.” —Ayana Gray, New York Times bestselling author of the Beasts of Prey trilogy
★ "This deftly written series opener examines the lives of Black elites following Reconstruction with a focus on the constraints of women. The strong characterization, developed through alternating third-person perspectives, and descriptive setting lure readers in. A dazzling debut." —Kirkus (starred review)
★ "This stunningly wrought historical fiction debut follows a group of Black teens navigating classism, familial expectations, gender norms, and racism in 1910 Chicago. . . . Marquis perceptively explores the history and momentous impact of Black achievements and wealth during an underreported period in U.S. history. Employing expert characterization and complex dynamics, the author presents a cast of take-charge women, undeterred by their struggles and pursuing their passions regardless of expectations." —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Marquis weaves the characters’ stories in such a way that leaves readers anticipating the next chapter each time [and] the author’s skilled descriptions give readers a real connection to the characters. This is a well-written novel, sure to please fans of historical fiction, romance, and Chicago history. Young adults and adults alike will learn from and enjoy this. Recommended." —SLJ
"Each girl brings a compelling arc to this series opener, and debut author Marquis crafts the rich setting with intriguing historical details and explorations of lesser-known Black history in the grand tradition of romance novelist Beverly Jenkins. . . . The distinct and satisfying emotional journeys of the four protagonists are wonderful [and] the book ends on a cliffhanger for the Davenport siblings, giving fans of historical fiction, and particularly those looking for Black representation without trauma, something to look forward to." —BCCB
"I loved this book . . . It’s all SO GOOD. And yes, it’s a lot about romance, which is great, but it’s also about so much more. [It's about] wealthy Black families in the early 1900s and seeing their stories, as they navigate spaces not necessarily welcoming to them, while building their own businesses, communities, and networks . . . The characters are all well-developed, leading rich, complicated lives . . . If this whole series existed right now, I’d tear through it to the exclusion of everything else in my life. An excellent debut about challenging expectations and finding your own path." —Teen Librarian Toolbox