From Thursday and throughout October, it is Black History Month in Europe. As well as being a tale of war, passion and motherhood, Lucia’s War refers to a lot of events and personalities who form part of Black British (and Caribbean) history during the WWI period. The book refers to the Coterie of Friends, an exclusive club for Black intellectuals and musicians founded by the composer Edmund Thornton Jenkins, whose symphony Charlestonia, mentioned briefly in the book, can be heard on YouTube. Such society also featured the decorated physician John Alcindor, who worked tirelessly to treat war wounded at rail stations in London. (On a personal note, he married an Englishwoman, whose family sadly disowned her for her choice.)
On a grimmer note, through the travails of Lucia’s brother Reginald with the British West Indies Regiment, the novel also touches on the mutiny at Taranto after the Caribbean infantry were kept in camp, and some even killed by British (white) officers.
It’s clear there was plenty going on and no shortage of interesting stories. War novels are in need of that. We can’t just have (a) boy goes off to the trenches or (b) woman gets to be spy with the French Resistance any more. I’m excited to see if writers like Mike Gayle and Lola Jaye are going to be in this space a bit more. I’ve already enjoyed the contributions of Kamila Shamsie, Isabella Hammad and Ruqaya Izzidien, though these writers are concerning themselves with different communities.
ANYWAY – In honour of Black History month UK/Europe, the Kindle edition of Lucia’s War is discounted to 99 pence sterling, or 1.08 euro. This discount will start from Friday and run through the whole weekend. Get it while it’s hot!