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The Roux in the Gumbo Reviews


NEW REVISED PHOTO EDITION BOOK COVER

Capa Nominee 2005

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With the same intricacy of intertwining tree limbs, Kim Robinson retells the fast lives of those that came before her in the novel The Roux in the Gumbo.

From the struggles of slavery in 1850’s Louisiana through twenty-first century California, we follow the family’s women and their men while they take on the search for prosperity.

Each generation of women, including Voodoo darlings, housekeepers, and switch-blade toting club owners manage the antics of their precocious children, freeloading lovers and scheming husbands.

Robinson not only shows us the power struggles between races but the struggle that exists between men and women. The Roux in the Gumbo reveals the result of faith and perseverance as well as the dangers of maintaining the hustle.

I thoroughly enjoyed following the raw emotion that permeated throughout the book. Robinson captured the essence of every character and painted the vivid ups and downs of the Bayou.

Moments in this book had me laughing out loud and other parts reminded me of times I spent laughing and joking with my own extended family.

I highly recommend The Roux in the Gumbo for an entertaining read- 5 Sable Seals


Gumbo is soothing to the soul...
An emotional and inspirational historical account which spans from 1800 to 1997, describing Louisiana's flair, Southern culture and experiences which contribute to the shaping of these generations in spite of the obstacles and struggles brought their way. _Literary Lifestyle


"THE ROUX IN THE GUMBO" BY KIM ROBINSON IS A WORK OF SHEER EXCELLENCE, READY FOR BOOKSTORE SHELVES & WILL REACH NO.1!"
Personally Reviewed by Heather Covington

Disilgold Soul Literary Review

Reviewer and Award Official of Top Referred Works Since 2001

www.Disilgold.com

Kim Robinson delivers a POWERFUL and ENGAGING saga spanning three generations of an African-American family from the era of slavery during 1850 to modern day times in Southern California up until 1997. This inviting work will capture avide readers of quality works from PAGE 1!

The true-to-life story with a mixture of fiction for entertainment purposes as honestly mentioned by the author, reflects the life of Kim Robinson’s great grandmother, Annie Thomas, and her grandmother, Helen Simpson’s life story. Prepare to read the work of one of the most talented writers of our time!

Robinson’s poignant flair for capturing each era with vivid details is captivating. She's a young writer, but it seems as if her work is from a ten year veteran. The Roux in the Gumbo is based in the heart of quaint Louisiana which sets Robinson's book at the top of its class. You also capture the true essence of Louisiana which Ms. Robinson has done a remarkable job.

There are disturbing incidences of rape, hangings, whippings, deceit, and everyday struggles for survival that intertwine to create a provoking story with the quality of stories such as Beloved and the Color Purple. The correlation is made to exude the greatness of this work in the company of two of the most masterful works of our time.

Characters like Mason, Grayman, Annie, Helen, Gizelle, Kim, Johnny, Melvin Jr., Curley, GiGi and Scarface are unforgettable. What we have here is a book that can easily lend to a stage or big screen production. Kim holds the ingredients for engaging stories YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO PUT DOWN.

Robinson’s years spent listening to the stories of her elders will help readers discover how family’s of today have transcended through time and many obstacles, but still reject their freedom by sometimes engaging in SELF- DESTRUCTIVE behavior in hopes of surviving for another day. However, some people do break through and are the chosen one’s.

Kim is indeed living her dreams today and is poised for success. She leaves not a single truth unturned. A COMPELLING, PROVOCATIVE and DYNAMIC work has arrived. THE ROUX IN THE GUMBO IS A MUST READ WORK OF THE YEAR AND WORTHY OF A BOOK AND MOVIE DEAL!

Kim Robinson is an author to watch. I highly recommend this book for immediate transition to a fast growing and quality small press, and immediate exposure on bookstore shelves.

Suggestions: The ending of the novel deserves expansion into possibly a sequel and a more extensive reader's guide should be included. I would like to find out more about the author herself. It seems as if she casually mentions "escort services," "gang activity," and "selling drugs" in her brief biography. This information is shocking.

*****5 STARS!-The DLNA YOUnity Reviewers


One of the most dynamic and popular authors on the literary scene is Kim Robinson. In her latest novel, "The Roux in the Gumbo," now published by Neshee Publication, “Kim Robinson delivers a POWERFUL and ENGAGING saga spanning three generations of an African- American family from the era of slavery during 1850 to modern day times in Southern California up until 1997. This inviting work will capture avid readers of quality works from PAGE 1!"

The true-to-life story with a mixture of fiction for entertainment purposes as honestly mentioned by the author, reflects the life of Kim Robinson’s great grandmother, Annie Thomas, and her grandmother, Helen Simpson’s life story. Prepare to read the work of one of the most talented writers of our time! Robinson’s poignant flair for capturing each era with vivid details is captivating. She's a young writer, but it seems as if her work is from a ten year veteran. The Roux in the Gumbo is based in the heart of quaint Louisiana which sets Robinson's book at the top of its class. You also capture the true essence of Louisiana which Ms. Robinson has done a remarkable job with details at its' finest. There are disturbing incidences of rape, hangings, whippings, deceit, and everyday struggles for survival that intertwine to create a provoking story with the quality of stories such as Beloved and the Color Purple. The correlation is made to exude the greatness of this work in the company of two of the most masterful works of our time. Characters like Mason, Grayman, Annie, Helen, Gizelle, Kim, Johnny, Melvin Jr., Curley, GiGi and Scarface are unforgettable. Kim holds the ingredients for engaging stories YOU WON'T BE ABLE TO PUT DOWN.

Robinson’s years spent listening to the stories of her elders will help readers discover how family’s of today have transcended through time and many obstacles, but still reject their freedom by sometimes engaging in SELF- DESTRUCTIVE behavior in hopes of surviving for another day. However, some people do break through and are the chosen one’s. Kim is indeed living her dreams today and is poised for success. She leaves not a single truth unturned. A COMPELLING, PROVOCATIVE and DYNAMIC work has arrived. THE ROUX IN THE GUMBO IS A MUST READ WORK OF THE YEAR AND WORTHY OF A BOOK AND MOVIE DEAL! Kim Robinson is an author to watch. I highly recommend this book for immediate exposure on bookstore shelves. What a beautiful cover and storyline to match.

Suggestions: The ending of the novel deserves expansion into possibly a sequel and a more extensive reader's guide should be included. I would like to find out more about the author herself. It seems as if she casually mentions involvement with "escort services," "gang activity," and "selling drugs" in her brief biography. National Best selling author Vicki Stringer expresses the dark belly of an underworld she experienced and it brought her heartfelt support from the African-American community at large. Another talented author by the name of Desheen Evans once called us on the phone and revealed her trial and tribulations with a dark world. Today, she is a newly published author of the talented Kashamba Williams, CEO of PreciousTymesEntertainment.

NOW Kim arrives and while the cover seems more demure and along the lines of a warm family story, make no mistake about it, the fine details of each chapter will thrillify readers just like a Nikki Turner novel. The information she reveals is shocking.

MORE NEWS:

What drew us to Kim Robinson's site initially were the beautifully inspiring words of a song by Candace Mahogany Johnson as cited on the Magazine Award Cover Spotlight for Kim Robinson. Her email is mmpinfo@yahoo.com if you would like to purchase a copy of her song along with Kim Robinson's book available on all online bookstores.

On behalf of the Disilgold Soul Magazine family and Top Advisory Board, Kim Robinson's "The Roux in The Gumbo receives*****5 STARS!- The DLNA YOUnity Reviewers

This review will be transferred to www.DisigoldSoul.com under title order and post debut at Disilgold.com, you may visit the YOUnity Bookstore at www.DisilgoldBooks.com to connect directly with the author.


Featured in the Literary Lifestyle Newsletter



In the following pages you will read about the hardships and events of a struggling black family, their history, their beliefs, and their lives. The events described in this book did in fact happen as told by Kim’s Great Grandmother and Grandmother. Then passed down each generation adding new memories as the family grows.
It all started back in 1865, the country was young and fighting to survive. Black people were just a commodity easily replaced in the eyes of most plantation owners. Yet with all the hardships and persecutions brought on them by those who would use them to line their own pockets. They never gave up on their lives or their freedom.
This is the history of four generations of women who raised their families through slavery, depression and racism. They watched a nation struggle and grow to be a better place to live. With a will of iron forged by the sweat, blood and lives of there forbears. They share the joy of love and laughter to all who knew them.

I will remember this story as long as I live. The details in this book are so powerful. Some of the contents are very graphic and bloody. One scene in particular I’ll never forget. But this reviewer feels that it gives the reader a better understanding of just what this family dealt with throughout their lives. Sometimes there is no easy way to say something. Kim Robinson gives a vivid recollection of family trials, some good and some bad. You will be spell bound by each experience. She also throws in some spirits and Voodoo to add a slight paranormal twist to this story. Through laughter and tears this family has shared it all. Ms. Robinson writes with passion and heart. I’m sure we will be seeing more of her work in the future. This story reminds me of my own grand mother and the wonderful times I spent listening to her tales of growing up in the same era. It made my heart laugh and cry, as I remember where my own roots come from. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if one day I see this story on the big screen. It’s every bit as good as Alex Haley’s Roots. I recommend this book highly. Enjoy! Reviewer: Diane T., Love and Romance


Through her descriptive narration Kim has succeeded to bring a family history to life. The story of Helen is compelling, 7 children, 24 grandchildren and 38 great grandchildren, shows a woman’s will to face adversity. As if being black wasn’t enough, being a slave to a white man was synonymous to being part of the ‘herd.’ The poems used by Kim at the beginning and the end of the book are striking, and on their own tell of a human struggle to love, be loved and accepted in society.

Just as Helen said; “Every person’s life is like a pot of gumbo, you get out what you put in!”

The Roux in the Gumbo takes you step by step through the life of a slave that any of today’s women would not want to experience. The twentieth century, at least the beginning of it through the 70’s was not kind to African Americans. As we fight terrorism in the 21st Century we should not forget that America had it’s own terrorists for almost a hundred years, “the Ku Klux Klan,” which the authorities were reluctant to do anything about.

I have never been in Louisiana, but after reading ‘The Roux in the Gumbo,’ I feel like I’ve known it all my life. This book is a must read for everyone interested in history and more importantly; in humanity.

Guy Verreault, Author of; “The Jacob Schreiber Mystery” series.


Review: The Roux In The Gumbo is a story that is a biography with a little bit of fiction thrown into the mixture. This story tells the tale of author Kim Robinson's family starting generations back and especially her grandmother, Helen. Who was a very special woman with a big caring heart. The story starts in Louisianna and the days of slavery and moves up through history until present day in California.

We follow the story that tells of the life of slaves and how they were beated, raped and overworked. We also learn of voodoo, healing with herbs and spices, the war, the fight with the KKK, illegal drinking and gambling establishments.

One young girl escapes, left for dead, hoping to die until one kind hearted soul offers refuge, freedom and a new life. She learns the art of healing from a great healer who raised her like she was her own child. We then follow her story and watch as she finds true love and has a family of her own.

As this story progresses, we follow the life of each child of every generation. Their ups and downs. The happiness and sadness. Their fight for the right to exist and thrive in a world that had other ideas. Even though this family had to overcome great obsticles, they still had big and caring hearts to welcome others in need into their close knit fold. Never once bemoaning their life or what fate has offered them. One I have to say I admired for their loving and strength.

This story was aptly named....The Roux in The Gumbo....roux, is a gravy base and the foundation of the the gumbo dish. In this story we find that Helen was the mainstay..the foundation of this author's family. Strong, steadfast, caring and lovable. We all have our own "roux" in each of our families. Whether it is a mother, father, grandmother or grandfather.....that one person who holds the rest of the chaos together....who teaches us right from wrong, is strong willed but soft hearted when it counts. Reading this story, I got to know Helen. I watched as she grew up, gone through some rough times and still ended up being a very special and caring woman. A woman I wish I had the chance to meet in real life. I could tell she touched everyone she came into contact with.

The Roux in The Gumbo is author, Kim Robinson's first story and hopefully not the last. At the beginning, this story was a bit confusing to read until I got into the feeling and flow of things. I say confusing because Ms Robinson constantly changes points of view or I should say switches from one person's story to another's. But don't let this stop you from reading this story, it takes just a short time to get the feel and into the flow of the writing and it's really worth reading. The Roux in The Gumbo is an incredibly inspirational, heart felt and amazing story that should not be missed. New author, Kim Robinson, shows much potential in her writing. She writes with feeling and from the heart and because of this trait the reader can't help but feel the ups and downs....the happiness and sadness along with the characters while reading. I know if her grandmother was alive today....she would be very proud of her. Kim also includes one of her families Gumbo recipes that has this reviewer itching to try it out for her very first taste of Gumbo. <g> I can't help but highly recommend this story to readers......I know you will feel as moved as I after reading this wonderful and special story.

Reviewer: Lisa Lambrecht


Initially, I was going to do this month’s book review in Restoration because of the content being genealogy. Yet, as I read this book, I found it to be more fitting inside Motivation. It depicts the purpose of striving for the better life. Striving to preserve one’s history. Yes, I know, I promised you a romance and it is coming, but this summer I find myself delving a little deeper. I guess I am ready once again to read more literary works that would propel my way of thinking. Graduate school has been out of the way for a couple of years now and I no longer cringe at the thought of expanding the intellect. I am no longer overwhelmed by gaining knowledge (smile). Anyway, this author sent me an email asking if her book is something that I think would be useful to the readers of IB. Page after page my answer strongly said yes, yes, oh YES.
Robinson starts her book by sharing a glimpse of her grandmother, Helen’s life as it draws to an end.
Theresa S. Kearns, PsyD


THE ROUX IN THE GUMBO by Kim Robinson begins in 1850 Louisiana when the United States still practiced slavery. The first person we meet is Gizelle, a 12-year-old girl who was so miserable from the beatings and horrors of slavery that she prayed for death. Instead of dying, Gizelle was found by Tullulah, a mixed Indian and white healer, who nursed her back to health. She then removed Gizelle from slavery. As the story moves on, we are treated to the life stories of many people; some were slaves, others were not. Frequently the slave master took advantage of his female slaves, even going so far as to sexually abuse their own daughters they had sired with slaves. Many of the women felt helpless, but one French woman, on learning that her husband was abusing his slave daughters as well as her daughter, fought back. She visited a voodoo priestess and took care of him. After the Civil War was fought, we find the black women still being abused, but they had more options. Annie, whose white lover abandoned her to marry his sweetheart, opened a speakeasy and made illegal liquor. She also refused to take abuse from anyone and was adept with a pistol, a shotgun and a knife. People learned, sometimes the hard way, not to mess with Annie. There were many fascinating stories about the members of this large and interesting family.

Kim Robinson has penned a truly wonderful novel that traces one black family from California back to its roots in slave-holding Louisiana. Her descriptions are so well done that you can smell the smoke and taste the homemade booze as you gamble in Annie's speakeasy. Sympathy for the slaves overwhelms you as the author describes brutal, uncaring overseers, masters and mistresses. Yet you can laugh at the antics of the family members as they make the very best of a poor situation. Even though there are many, many characters parading through the book, they are very easy to follow. It was fascinating reading about this family and how they overcame so much adversity. There is even the family gumbo recipe in the book. It is well worth reading, and if it were possible, I'd rate it at least a six. I couldn't put it down.
Reviewed by alice Holman
of The RAWSISTAZ™ Reviewers


What a compelling story The Roux in the Gumbo is!

Roux in the Gumbo rises from the power of silent strength, through roots set in slavery from the cotton fields of Louisiana, to the African American power today. Kim Robinson, the author’s ancestors walk with the heat and passion of black families entwined as the reaching branches of deep-rooted towering trees.

From those early roots, Gizelle was taken back to 1850. She was twelve, scared, tired, hungry and sick. She sat crying and shivering under a huge magnolia tree in driving rain deep in the bayou. This is where Kim Robinson begins the story of her ancestors fight for the annihilable rights of Freedom.

Gizelle was a Voodooist. Her husband Grayson practiced Hoodoo, Bad Medicine. Gizelle predicted the future for generations who walk through the storytelling of The Roux in the Gumbo.

Annie Thomas was born in Louisiana in 1904. Annie was fourteen when the plantation owner’s son Willie Simpson III planted his seed, only to cast Annie’s love aside and marry a Southern Bell of the same color. As it was, Caroline proved barren of an heir. It was then Willie sought out Annie to lay claim to the child who resembled him in color and looks.

Helen was the beloved child Annie fought furiously to keep. She was no different when it came to running her club; Annie was swift with the switchblade knife, to leave many a scar on the unsavory types who frequented the nightlife with a thirst for moonshine and the pleasures whore houses provided. She always had the town Judge on her side. The Judge was to haul Annie out of many a tight spot with the law.

One night Horace stepped into Annie’s club with the confidence of a Mob Boss. This handsome black man was to slip the diamond ring from his finger to hers with a grin and the words, “With this ring I thee wed”. Disappearing for two weeks Horace left Annie hankering for more of her man. Their love would conceive Genevieve, a sister for Helen.

The future had been foreseen for Annie, she would face the worst of adversities through her life. From strength to strength the generations grew in numbers. Helen would have many children after Annie marched the confident Melvin before the Judge in the early hours of morning, with a shotgun pointing the way.

The Roux in the Gumbo is a story of faith, hope, and the strength of the African American people who rose above the cruelties of slavery in a newly developing Nation. A story to equal the storytelling of the series, Roots!

Reviewed By

Pamela Faye
November 2005 ©

Rolling Seas Reviews
www.rollingseas.com.au
pamela@rollingseas.com.au


A Black Family’s Odyssey in America

Author Kim Robinson has written a remarkable account of her family’s history gathered from stories she was told as she was growing up. The life stories of her great grandmother, Annie Thomas and her grandmother, Helen Simpson are the roux in this gumbo; a very rich and entertaining read. The author acknowledges that a lot of people in her family helped her to write this book by giving her their memories. More African American families should share memories such as these. Rich in culture and historical events it’s a perfect course assignment for Black History classes.

The story opens in the early 1800s, near Lake Charles, Louisiana where a young slave girl has escaped from the Sunrise Plantation. She is laying under a magnolia tree in the driving rain; scared, tired, hungry and sick. Asking the Lord for mercy, she is determined not to return to the horrors of living on the plantation. As the story unfolds and the young girl remembers how life changed for her on that dark night, you are reminded of the many slave narratives written long ago. Ending in 1997; this book is a journey in Black history told in bits and pieces, sewn together like a patchwork quilt. I really enjoyed it.

Her visions of later day New Orleans are rich in the bayou land as Kim’s family lives as farmers, toiling the land and as entrepreneurs running every type of business from midwives and medicine women, root workers and hoo-doo men and livery services and prohibition time night spots complete with good food, gambling and home-made liquor. Kim’s ancestors were some very colorful personalities. But, they worked hard and were basically good people who stuck together and helped out a neighbor. Their dealings with the Klan and racist encounters in other parts of the South were also portrayed. They stood up for themselves and soon relocated to California for a better way of life.

I laughed and cried with this family as good money went bad and troubles touched the lives of the large and sometimes dysfunctional tribe. But; they always found a way to make ends meet and to support one another through their trials.

Great Grandmother Annie and Grandmother Helen were two very strong Black women who although did not have a formal education, used mother wit to overcome their lack of schooling.

Annie did not hesitate to pull out her trusty blade to defend herself or her family from violence and good deeds gone bad. Trouble did not last always for this family and on the whole, they lived and loved well. Always respected in the community of Compton, California; they carved a life out of their situations that left a legacy for the future generations.

The Roux in the Gumbo is a book that you will enjoy. It is both entertaining and interesting. It is also a saga of African American life told from the viewpoint of four generations in American. I found it good reading, and especially appreciated Kim’s grandmother’s recipe for Gumbo in the front of the book. The recipe makes a great pot of Gumbo.

Reviewed by: Idrissa Uqdah

 


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