Title: Here Comes the Sun
Author: Nicole Dennis-Benn
Published Date: July 5, 2016
My copy of Here Comes the Sun is an advance reader copy I grabbed at work (I work at a bookstore). The cover caught my eye first, then I flipped it over on the back and saw it was written by a black author and called dibs on it. I read the first chapter while on my lunch break and I decided to bring it home with me.
Here Comes the Sun by Nicole Dennis-Benn is set in Jamaica during the early(?)’90s. We are introduced to Margot who works in Montego Bay at a resort hotel. By day she checks in guest and supervises the hotel staff. At night she sneaks into the rooms of the male guests and provide “turndown” service to make extra money. She also maintains a sexual relationship with the hotel’s heir, a white Jamaican, in hopes that he will make her the manager of a new resort he’s building on the island. Margot’s main goal is to make enough money so her teen sister, Thandi, can continue to attend private school and go to college. Trading sex for money is not the only secret she hides; she and her childhood friend, Verdene, are secret lovers.
Margot and her sister live with their mother Delores, a stone-cold bitch. Delores has her own secrets and demons she’s battling, but in her eyes, Margot is the cause of all the problems the family faces and Thandi will be the one who pulls them out of poverty. As Thandi carries the weight of being the family’s ticket out of the slums, she hides secrets of her own. She doesn’t fit in with her peers and is overlooked at school; she blames her dark complexion for making her an outcast. She feels that if she had lighter skin she would be able to accomplish more and live a happier life.
This is a tragedy full of suffering, sorrow, and betrayal. There is no happy ending, so brace yourself. Majority of the story is narrated by Margot, but you also get Thandi’s perspective of things. It was a roller coaster ride watching Margot and Thandi make one bad decision after another. Margot is determined and fierce; she doesn’t let anyone stand in the way of her pursuing what she wants. However, her determination turns into greed and she ultimately becomes just as callous as her mother–destroying her relationship with Verdene and exposing her sister to the life she worked so hard to protect her from.
Thandi is intelligent and uninterested in being the person her mom and sister are planning for her to be; she’s also discovering what’s it like to be wanted as a local boy shows interest in her. She allows her need for independence and her longing for acceptance (and love) take her down an ugly path.
All characters were well developed; anytime they were being described or had any dialogue, especially when they spoke in Jamaican Patois, I could picture them clearly. Nicole Dennis-Benn does a great job of showing how racism, colorism, homophobia, and tourism affect Jamaica. This is a great read that I gave 4 stars on Goodreads. Here Comes the Sun is scheduled to be released on July 5th, so make sure you add it to your summer reading list. However, if you’re planning a trip to Jamaica don’t pack this book!