TLC Book Tours Presents: A Cupboard Full of Coats Review and Giveaway

A Cupboard Full of Coats: A Novel by Yvvette Edwards

Release date: 2012 / 336 pages

Synopsis(from Amazon):Plagued by guilt, paralyzed by shame, Jinx has spent the years since her mother’s death alone, estranged from her husband, withdrawn from her son, and entrenched in a childhood home filled with fierce and violent memories. When Lemon, an old family friend, appears unbidden at the door, he seduces Jinx with a heady mix of powerful storytelling and tender care. What follows is a tense and passionate weekend, as the two join forces to unravel the tragedy that binds them. Jinx has long carried the burden of the past; now, she must relive her mother’s last days, confront her grief head-on, and speak the truth as only she knows it.

Review:   A reader does not need to be particularly astute to anticipate a rough ride ahead after reading the following lines found on page one of A Cupboard Full of Coats:

He just knocked, that was all, knocked the front door and waited, like he’d just come back with the paper from the corner shop, and the fourteen years since he’d last stood there, the fourteen years since the night I’d killed my mother, hadn’t really happened at all.

Another hint might be that Edwards’ debut novel was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize — a prize often awarded to stunningly dark fiction.  On the other hand, Man Booker nominees also share the distinction of luminous writing and a sense of redemption at the end — both of which are exhibited in Edwards’ masterfully written novel:

Instantly, the room was filled with the aroma of soup beginnings, the earliest stage when all the ingredients still retained their own fresh and heightened smells, an aroma that was a group or sequence of different scents that assailed individually, till the fragrant thyme finally rose to dominate.

One of the great strengths of this novel, beyond the prose, is Edwards’ ability to create suspense.  Lemon, the man who arrives at the protagonist’s doorstep fourteen years after the death of her mother, also feels responsible for the murder — however, the reader must wait until the end to discover whether either are truly to blame.  Edwards tells the events leading up to the climax through the voices of both Lemon and Jinx — carefully crafting each to be unique and resonant, with glorious echoes of Zora Neale Hurston’s ear for dialect and instinct for spinning a tale that is difficult to walk away from, even at its most horrific, until the storyteller releases the reader.

However, despite a passing resemblance to Hurston, Edwards’ voice is truly singular and Jinx, Lemon and the woman they both believed they killed are inimitable.  The longed for redemption — by the characters as well as the reader — is both satisfying and authentic to the very last lines. While both characters are changed or at least influenced by the reunion, their personalities remain intact and distinct.

Beyond the luminous prose and fully dimensional characters, Edwards deftly explores difficult issues of race, beauty, gender, objectification and how they coalesce to create the identity we present to the world as well as ourselves.

Interested in experiencing this novel yourself?  Drop me a comment below and I’ll choose a winner soon!

Monday, August 20th: M. Denise C.

Tuesday, August 21st: Book Club Classics!

Wednesday, August 22nd: Reads for Pleasure

Tuesday, August 28th: BookNAround

Wednesday, August 29th: Peppermint PhD

Thursday, August 30th: The Feminist Texican [Reads]

Tuesday, August 4th: Shall Write

Wednesday, August 5th: Book Dilettante

Thursday, August 6th: My Bookshelf

Monday, August 10th: The Blog of Lit Wits

Wednesday, August 12th: Chaos is a Friend of Mine

Monday, August 17th: A Book Geek



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23 Responses to TLC Book Tours Presents: A Cupboard Full of Coats Review and Giveaway

  1. Michael says:

    I have to say the Title was misleading. It sounded more like chick lit till one reads the synopsis.

  2. Steve vetter says:

    Sounds like a good book.

  3. Jaime H. says:

    I agree with Michael- the title definitely sounds more like women’s fiction, and the cover really does not seem to be indicative of the story. I have seen an alternate cover for this through the tour, and I think it seems to suit it much better. Regardless, I would really like a chance to read this now that I am learning more about it! Thanks for the chance.

  4. Debbie says:

    I have definitely added this book to my “books to read” list. Winning a free copy would be the icing on the cake. Thanks for the great giveaways!

  5. Theresa Cain says:

    I’ve never read anything by Edwards. This sounds like a nice diversion. A good ‘take me away’ read. I’d love the chance to be a lucky winner.
    And thanks for the opportunity.

  6. ellie says:

    This book sounds appealing and special. thanks for this giveaway.

  7. diane says:

    thanks for this chance. this novel would be enjoyable and memorable.

  8. Anita Yancey says:

    Sounds like my kind of book, I would really enjoy reading it. I really like the cover. Thanks for the chance to read it.

  9. Lisa Garrett says:

    I want to know more about what lies between Lemon and Jinx.

  10. Nadine Tatum says:

    I am always searching for books of substance for the book club that I facilitate, and “A Cupboard Full of Coats” looks like a contender!

  11. pearl says:

    A Cupboard Full of Coats sounds captivating.

  12. Cierina says:

    I’m intrigued. Thank you for the chance to get a copy.

  13. Wendy says:

    Sounds like a great read. Please enter me in the Giveaway!
    Thank you!

  14. Mary says:

    I want it! (but so does everyone else) Thanks for the great review and the giveaways.

  15. Ruthie B says:

    sounds sooooo good!

  16. Teralee ElBasri says:

    Sounds like a very good read!

  17. nan says:

    Sounds disturbing but engrossing. Count me in, thanks.

  18. Margie says:

    Sounds like a fascinating book. Thanks for the giveaway.

  19. Gerri says:

    Thanks for your review. I have added this book to my “must read” list. I would also like to be entered into the giveaway. Thank you.

  20. Pingback: Yvette Edwards, author of A Cupboard Full of Coats, on tour August 2012 | TLC Book Tours

  21. That sense of redemption you mention is extremely important to me; I can’t really enjoy a book that doesn’t give me that in some manner.

    Thanks for being on the tour.

  22. Patti Smith says:

    The “turning point” of that redemption was a little quick for me in the end…but otherwise, A Cupboard Full of Coats kept me reading and thinking all the way through…and still afterwards. I was also reminded of Toni Morrison to a certain extent…books that stay with you. 🙂

  23. Pingback: Chaos Is A Friend of Mine » Blog Archive » Book Review: A Cupboard Full of Coats

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