Friday, April 1, 2022

Book Review: Scarlet Carnation by Laila Ibrahim

 Book Review

Scarlet Carnation

Laila Ibrahim


Book Description:

In an early twentieth-century America roiling with racial injustice, class divides, and WWI, two women fight for their dreams in a galvanizing novel by the bestselling author of Golden Poppies.

1915. May and Naomi are extended family, their grandmothers’ lives inseparably entwined on a Virginia plantation in the volatile time leading up to the Civil War. For both women, the twentieth century promises social transformation and equal opportunity.

May, a young white woman, is on the brink of achieving the independent life she’s dreamed of since childhood. Naomi, a nurse, mother, and leader of the NAACP, has fulfilled her own dearest desire: buying a home for her family. But they both are about to learn that dreams can be destroyed in an instant. May’s future is upended, and she is forced to rely once again on her mother. Meanwhile, the white-majority neighborhood into which Naomi has moved is organizing against her while her sons are away fighting for their country.

In the tumult of a changing nation, these two women—whose grandmothers survived the Civil War—support each other’s quest for liberation and dignity. Both find the strength to confront injustice and the faith to thrive on their chosen paths.


Lake Union Publishing

Publish Date: April 1, 2022

Buy Now on Amazon


My 5-Star Review:

In 1915, two women of different racial backgrounds are striving to fulfil their dreams of a successful life. May, a young white woman, dreams of independence and finding an honorable man while Naomi, a middle-aged black woman, strives to create a better life for her family. These two women, bonded together by the past relationship of their grandmothers, wish for equality and opportunity. But both are derailed by forces beyond their control and must fight for what is right.


Scarlet Carnation by Laila Ibrahim is a powerful story about oppression, injustice, and working toward a better future. But most of all, it is a story about the power of family, and the bonds a family shares over the generations. I’ve read several of Laila’s novels and they are always powerfully written and well-researched, and this novel is no exception. She’s an amazing storyteller who can keep you reading long into the night. I highly recommend this novel, as well as all of her novels.



About the Author:

Laila Ibrahim is the bestselling author of Golden PoppiesPaper WifeMustard Seed, and Yellow Crocus. She spent much of her career as a preschool director, a birth doula, and a religious educator. That work, coupled with her education in developmental psychology and attachment theory, provided ample fodder for her novels.

She’s a devout Unitarian Universalist, determined to do her part to add a little more love and justice to our beautiful and painful world. She lives with her wonderful wife, Rinda, and two other families in a small cohousing community in Berkeley, California. Her young adult children are her pride and joy.

Laila is blessed to be working full-time as a novelist. When she isn’t writing, she likes to take walks with friends, do jigsaw puzzles, play games, work in the garden, travel, cook, and eat all kinds of delicious food. Visit the author at


Read my review of Laila Ibrahim’s novel, YELLOW CROCUS.

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