The Attic Child By Lola Jaye

    A hauntingly powerful and emotionally charged novel about family secrets, love and loss, identity and belonging.

    Two children trapped in the same attic, almost a century apart, bound by a shared secret.

    Early 1900s London: Taken from his homeland, twelve-year-old Celestine spends most of the time locked away in the attic of a large house by the sea. The only time Celestine isn't bound by confines of the small space is when he is acting as an unpaid servant to English explorer Sir Richard Babbington, As the years pass, he desperately clings on to memories of his family in Africa, even as he struggles to remember his mother's face, and sometimes his real name . . .

    1974: Lowra, a young orphan girl born into wealth and privilege whose fortunes have now changed, finds herself trapped in the same attic. Searching for a ray of light in the darkness of the attic, Lowra finds under the floorboards an old-fashioned pen, a porcelain doll, a beaded necklace, and a message carved on the wall, written in an unidentifiable language. Providing comfort for her when all hope is lost, these clues will lead her to uncover the secrets of the attic.

    The Attic Child

    “Although my story started a certain way, it ended with love.”

    What! A! Journey!!!!

    I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: I’ll always be jealous of authors who can use words to captivate you in ways you never imagined! This one has been immediately added to my favorite books of 2022 for how amazing it was!

    The story’s premise is that these two people, Lowra and Dikembe (Celestine), are connected because of a time in their lives when they were locked in an attic. For most of the story, I was definitely more engrossed in Dikembe’s story as even though I felt sorry for Lowra, I found Dikemebe’s story more in line with what I was looking for in historical fiction.

    Dikembe’s story was truly heartbreaking, yet so inspirational. When someone goes through what he went through, we expect them to come out of it being a certain kind of person. Dikembe however came out of his dark times with a goal to uplift other black people around him! Of course, Jaye still allowed us to see how such things affected him: mainly his inability to open up. Scenes that exposed this had me shedding tears because Jaye refused to hold anything back. Looking at the big picture, Dikembe’s life was used to tell the dark history of colonialism and racism, which is more clear when learning about the inspiration for the story. Learning about this history is never easy, as Monty, one of the characters illustrated as he expresses many times the pain in researching this area of history.

    I will be honest in saying that I thought I might end up finding this book boring because at first it just felt like regular storytelling. When it started to get a mystery vibe and I started to infer the themes embedded in this book including what it means to win in life and reclaim one's identity, my attention was undoubtedly bought. Jaye even managed to chip in a really beautiful romance.

    I would highly recommend!!

    0063260379 There are many silent people out there, through choice, through historical events or through fear.

    Abuse, racism, identity and displacement, it’s here, right here within these pages.

    Dikembe, his story was so sad.

    So was Lowly.

    Each 90 years apart. Each within the confines of the attic.

    This is told in interment chapters.

    Dikembe, a man thought to buy him as a pony.

    I’m nearly 64 and in school this sort of thing was taught in history class, yes, the slaves, the treatment that the White people used these humans for, despicable.
    It’s history.
    Learn from it.

    I never understood it and I don’t now!

    In this book, who has the right to be virtuous, controlling, superior and treat others who they feel are no consequences?

    90 years later.
    Had things changed?
    He was the next child in the same attic.

    Why are they connected?
    Does Lowly know about the last child in the attic?
    Does he know what happened to him?
    What will happen to himself?
    How did they get there?
    Who put them there?why?

    This is such a powerful story.

    Survival, and a beautiful twist at the end that will break your heart.
    Emotional. 0063260379 The Attic Child by Lola Jaye. One of the best books I have read in along time. About a boy born in Africa. His father dies and he is taken to England by a stranger to be a companion to him. It goes into his life. The good times and the abuse he was subjected to until he grew older and took advantage of his education and knowledge. On another timeline 1993. A girl born to a mother and father. Mother dies. Father marries the most evil of step mothers. Father dies. The girl and the man now in his 90s eventually meet. She discovers their great similarities. Wonderful, captivating book. Great knowledge of Africa and England in the times. 0063260379 “Like Humans, Trees tell a Story. In 9 Months, they go from nakedness to half dressed, to fully flourishing bloom. Then they repeat the process all over again.”

    “If You Can’t Give Back, then What is the Point?”

    I found this to be an incredible book. It exposes horrors, that occurred, but also is filled with love and remarkable resilience.

    It was considered acceptable to take black children living in the Congo from about 1885-1920, and traffic those children usually with a hunter or explorer and bring them to the UK. This is how Dikembe Kabili’s story begins, as an 11 year old boy in 1907. Richard Babbington was considered a wonderful man who explored the Congo. He collected many artifacts and wrote books on the area. So, when he decides to take Dikembe, and completely change his name to Celestine, take him from his family, dress him as a proper gentleman, and to educate him, no one thought anything of this. There was a famous exhibit and pictures of young Celestine dressed in different attire that Sir Richard had a photographer take. You could see the pain behind his eyes easily. Eventually, Celestine ends up in this same house, but living in an attic.

    There is a dual-time line, but it worked well. Lowra, in the 1990’s is at an exhibit and sees those pictures of Celestine, yet recognizes a necklace she has found because she was living for several years in the same home and attic and found that necklace. From there she wants to find out the story of Dikembe (Celestine) and is uncertain of her own life lineage. With a 90 year difference was it possible there was a connection between the two?

    So, yes this is a very sad story of the exploitation of children in the early 20th Century. Colonialism was not what one learned in school. We learn that in the Congo, during the Leopold Regime, that about 10 million people were killed. Abuse, trafficking, and stealing children was accepted. All the years later, Lowra seemed to have a beautiful upbringing, but we learn she was abused, too. Yet, ultimately the story has a message of strength, love, and emotion that completely enraptured me.

    I listened to this on Audio for about half the book and really liked it. The reading of the narrated story was great. Definitely, could do this with just audio, but I like switching between book and 🎧 Audio if I can.

    The author, Lola Jaye does a fantastic job with this book. I thoroughly loved it and recommend it 💖💖💖 0063260379
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    For Black History Month, I decided to read as many of the books by Black authors on my Kindle that I had, that I hadn't been able to get to during the rest of the year. One of these was THE ATTIC CHILD, a book I bought on a whim because the summary sounded so intriguing. It almost gave me FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC vibes, only without the breathless sensationalism, instead being more historically focused.

    THE ATTIC CHILD is a dual-timeline story about two children who both have their own trauma to bear. In the early 20th century, our narrator is Dikembe/Celestine, a boy who is taken from the Congo to be a companion to a British explorer. In the present timeline, set in the early 90s, our narrator is Lowra, a young woman who works as a cleaner but is forcibly thrust back into her past when she finds out that her stepmother has passed and her childhood home has fallen to her.

    I don't want to say too much because it will spoil the book because part of the fun is how the two timelines converge and what really became of Dikembe. But there was so much about this book that I loved: the immersive storylines, the way it talks about trauma, how history gets whitewashed and how one culture's heroes can be another's oppressor's, and also so many important and interesting dialogues on racism, internalized racism, colorism, and microaggressions. Also, there's a little bit of a romance between Lowra and a bumbling Black professor who has a penchant for cheese and pickle sandwiches and I STAN IT.

    For most of this book, I was thinking FIVE STARS! FIVE STARS! FIVE STARS! But the ending started to really drag at 80%. Part of what kept me turning pages like a fiend was my emotional investment in the storylines of both characters and wanting to find out what happened to Dikembe. I would say that the ending is ultimately a happy and touching one, but it took a while to get there. Also major trigger warnings for racism and child abuse. The author doesn't get too graphic or go into detail, and the worst stuff is hinted at, but it's still disturbing and upsetting.

    Also, if you, like me, were wondering if Celestine/Dikembe was based off an actual historical figure, read the afterword. There's an author's note where Jaye talks about a photograph she saw that partially inspired her book and why she decided to set the book in the Congo in the beginning.

    Overall, this was just a really great thriller/historical fiction/lit-fic hybrid and I'm SO glad I randomly took a chance on it. I hope the author writes another book very, very soon!

    4 to 4.5 stars 0063260379

    A bold, powerful saga of injustice, identity, and triumph. Based on very real atrocities, but also rooted in strength and perseverance, we quickly grow to love our narrators as they navigate a shared experience nearly a century apart. We see how family and love arrive when we least expect it, and there is nothing so enduring as our names, our faith, and our conviction. An emotional and gratifying journey for any historical reader, anyone who knows the power of words, memories, and narratives. 0063260379 This was a moving and harrowing read, with a dual timeline to thread two stories together.
    The story of Dikembe is a powerful one to start with, and as the story moved to Lowra, I found myself wanting to go back to Dikembe.
    The two characters are warm and likeable, and I loved how the attic was the common thing to join them together, separated by many years.
    and the ending has stayed with me some several months after finishing it. 0063260379 Dikembe and Lowra, 90 years apart, both end up in the same attic.
    What is this place and why? And what is their connection?
    Rotating chapters tell their heartfelt stories. Well written and perfectly paced.
    This powerful novel speaks of survival, strength of character and love eventually.
    A beautiful twist rounds up this impressive read.

    Thank you Netgalley and Pan Macmillan for the ARC. 0063260379 With such powerful emotions, beautiful story telling, and an interwoven history that packed one heck of an emotional punch… a full review will come soon after these raw feelings have somewhat abetted themselves. Just know this journey and the shared secret of two children almost 100 years apart … and the connection they share … is a 5/5 star read and this is a novel that everyone with a heart should partake of. Kudos to the author for reimagining the fate of a 12 year old child’s short life … reimagined a new way. Wow wow wow! 0063260379 Amazing journey! One of the best books I've read this year. 0063260379

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