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  • Writer's pictureTheLittLibrarian

The Davenports - Review

*I received a physical copy from Dial Books via Hear Our Voices book Tour. All views are my own*

By now, we have all heard of Shonda Rhimes's reimagined show, The Bridgertons. All it took was the handsome Regé-Jean Page to make the girls fall out and crave the series. Lord, when the people found out that the book the show was inspired by was full of Caucasians from the mountains of Caucasus! I think many people were blinded by the Netflix glitz, glamour, and diversity of high society in 1813. Well, if you truly are in love with the show yet wish there was a more diverse cast in book form, look no further because Krystal Marquis's The Davenports is Shonda Rhimes' wet dream come true!

"In 1910, 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 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.
The first book in a breathless new series, The Davenports offers a glimpse into a period of African American history often overlooked, while delivering a totally escapist, swoon-worthy read. Inspired by the real-life story of C.R. Patterson and his family, it's the tale of four determined and passionate young Black women discovering the courage to steer their own path in life—and love."


This book has been out for a while and is now getting the paperback treatment. While we gear up for the sophomore, More Than This, I listened to the audio version to speed up my reading process. Ah, the life of an influencer double-booking herself on tours. Anyway, I wasn't a fan of Joniece Abbott-Pratt's performance. Every character she voiced sounded young and slightly immature. Granted, I understand the time factor of girls getting married at a young age, straight from their parent's home, so the innocence is pure. But Abbott-Pratt's delivery of the novel almost tricked me into thinking this was a transition from middle grade to young adult.


As stated above, The Davenports are essentially The Bridgertons, but Black. The story is inspired by C.R. Patterson & Sons Carriage Company. I need to do my research on this. Still, evidently, Patterson founded his company after escaping enslavement, becoming one of the rare wealthiest black families in Chicago during the rise of Ford automobiles. The story takes this element to introduce four POVs in the prime season picking for marriage.


 I don't know how to explain it clearly, but the story became muddled and overwhelming between the four POVs of the Davenport children (Olivia & Helen), their friend/maid Amy-Rose, and Olivia's best friend Ruby. YET each character had the same dilemma. Somebody was interested in somebody else's man, the pressures of marrying off well, and performing for high society. There were a few personality traits and story directions that I liked. I liked Amy-Rose's drive to become a self-made woman in the hair care industry. I also like Helen's ambition to become a mechanic in an elite class, which was not a woman's place. I liked that Olivia was introduced to poverty and wanted to lend a helping hand as much as possible, and I even liked the older brother in his small role. But the pacing was off; it was too much fluff and not enough substance. We can guess how each character's storyline will end, which took away my anticipation, especially with that lackluster cliffhanger.


Overall, I gave it 3-stars. I was looking for a well-balanced Historical Romance. I got plenty of the mushy gushy stuff, but I would have loved to learn more about The Davenports' rare class position. We don't hear much about elitism with Black people in the early 1900s, let alone enslaved people. It would have made the story more interesting to learn their come up and how they navigated during that period.

The Davenports is available now!

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