Tough times have a way of isolating a person, and while you’re living through them, sometimes you need a story that helps you back into the wider world. Romance novels do that. In their pages, you can find connection — even when it’s hard to do in real life.
Connection is lifesaving in Tia Williams’s new novel, A LOVE SONG FOR RICKI WILDE (Grand Central, 342 pp., $29). Ricki, in 2024, has left her job at her tyrannical family’s chain of funeral parlors and started a flower shop in a Harlem brownstone. Ezra, in 1924, has fled the racist violence of his hometown and is making a name for himself as a musician in the speakeasies of the Harlem Renaissance.
And then their lives begin to overlap.
Ricki has come to the city in pursuit of life, and Ezra has been fleeing death — a little too successfully, it turns out, because this is not a time-slip story. He has, through a curse, become immortal. His immortality is a kind of haunting, of being trapped in the world but apart from it: People forget him entirely within a month if he doesn’t keep in contact.
Even worse, Ezra’s cursed love for Ricki will mean her death — and it might already be too late.
The book’s calculus of love and loss is brutal, and grounds the dazzling prose and light magical element.
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