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Johnson published the novel in called The Secret of Magic. The story begins in when a young female attorney from New York City attempts to attain justice for a black man in the Deep South. The letter is from famous Southern author M. Calhoun, and he is asking for an investigation of the murder of Joe Howard Wilson. Previously Johnson had written four books published by Kensington Press that were considered historical romances under the pen name Deborah Johns. Deborah Johnson signs The Secret of Magic in Johnson's next book!

Jul 30, Mom rated it liked it. Usually books about the Southern states are one of my favorite reads. However this book is a vivid reminder that the South is not just about glasses of iced tea, and a piece of pie, grits, beautiful fragrant magnolias and warmer climate.

The struggle with racial integration is a continuing conflict that is a stain in this country and especially obvious in the South. Jun 03, Stephanie rated it it was ok. This was a difficult book to read. The story is set in the s in Mississippi and is listed as a mystery.

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The topic of desegration is on the minds of all the people in the small town of Revere. Two doctors one white and one black and their lives are the main focus of the story, but others they encounter are pulled in as supporting characters.

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The book began with the death of a poor white man Billie Ray Puckett that was delivered to the hospital by a young black child Critter Tate. During This was a difficult book to read. During the course of the book, I often forgot that Billie Ray had died under suspicious circumstances. The lives of the people in Revere seemed to overtake the death. The constant jumping around and interjection of thoughts made by various characters made it difficult to read this book.

I could see the story being written as a series where each character or group had their own opportunity to share their thoughts and how they related to the main focus of the story. It wasn't until the end that Billie Ray's death ties back in to the events that have occurred throughout the book. Perhaps the author intended to write the book in such a choppy manner, only she knows that. I thought the mystery was Billie Ray's death, even after completing the book, I'm not so sure. Jan 19, Deanne rated it it was ok.

I just finished this book and still can't decide if I liked it or not. It was a good premise and definitely a story worth telling, but I'm just not sure the author did it justice.

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She seemed to try awfully hard to flesh out the characters, but I didn't really find any of them to be particularly likeable. Plus, I thought she spent too much time defining minor characters who only ended up being a small part of the story. All in all, it made for a somewhat slow and awkward read. I kind of liked the I just finished this book and still can't decide if I liked it or not. I kind of liked the ending because it felt as though everything had finally started to come together and make sense.

However, after the long buildup, which I felt like I had to push myself though, I thought the resolution was a bit too rushed. I love this book, and find myself surprised at the loving. I did not expect to become so wrapped up with the story and the characters. This story was expertly developed, and believably told. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Nov 18, Susan rated it liked it. Interesting perspective of life in the south in the sixties. Mar 07, Kristin rated it it was ok. Set in the tumultuous 60's in Mississippi getting ready for integration, not much happens.

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Starts with a white man being brought to the hospital by a young black boy and goes downhill from there. Secrets are revealed but it is pretty anti-climatic. I enjoyed this book because it focuses on a different dimension of the segregation theme. I do not want to spoil it by saying more than this. I love books that totally surprise me and this one's revelation certainly did that! Sep 06, Shelly rated it really liked it Shelves: historical-fiction. As I often end up doing, I read this book after the the author's second book set in the small town of Revere, Mississippi.

That one, The Secret of Magic, was set in the s, just after World War II ended and revolved around the murder of a returning black war hero. This book, set in the mids, is focused on the federally mandated school desegregation's affect on the town, while also serving up a mystery involving a poor white man's death due to a supposedly self-inflicted gunshot wound. Th As I often end up doing, I read this book after the the author's second book set in the small town of Revere, Mississippi. The blurb on the back of the trade paperback makes it seem to be more a mystery tale than it truly is.

This is as much a story about a town in the deep South as the author's second one is, with fully realized characters possessing complexity and contradictions. In a town where whites and blacks don't mingle and everyone seems to know everyone's business, there are plenty of secrets that, if revealed, could change everything. There is a vague connection to the second book, but otherwise, each stands on its own. I enjoyed spending time with these characters and hope Johnson keeps writing about the generations of people who call Revere their home. Mar 13, Ckopphills rated it really liked it.

The Air Between Us is a novel that attempts to cross a lot of divides. Not only does the story itself address those notions of self that divide us race, gender, class , but the format of the novel attempts several different genres it's part mystery, part medical drama, part social history of a small town in the deep South during the Civil Rights era. Ostensibly about two male doctors--black doctor Reese Jackson and white doctor Cooper Connelly-- and their struggles to live and practice in a t The Air Between Us is a novel that attempts to cross a lot of divides.

Ostensibly about two male doctors--black doctor Reese Jackson and white doctor Cooper Connelly-- and their struggles to live and practice in a town that is itself struggling to live through integration, the novel's real stars are its women: Jackson's wife, Deanie, and her next-door neighbor, Melba. They have to piece together stories from the sidelines they're observers on the porch, watchers of stories on TV, readers of novels, even voyeurs who drive through the white part of town to see, quite literally, how the other half live.

For all the stories within a story or perhaps because of them , the book is uneven in both its plotting and its characterizations. There were moments particularly in the beginning when I almost gave up on the book, and there were other moments when I found an event or character unbelievable. Yet, there were also sections I found completely absorbing, and by the end, I felt Johnson had found her voice.


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I struggle with rating books, this one in particular, but I landed on four stars because, for all the unevenness, the stand-out moments and the ambition of the novel made this book worth it for me. Also, there aren't enough stories about integration out there, and I appreciated Johnson's attempt to tell her story within this setting.

And given the setting, it would have been easy for Johnson to create simple heroes and villains, but her characters are more complex than that. Feb 27, Michelle rated it really liked it. Deborah Johnson has built upon her own family experiences to share a fictional account that gives her readers a front row seat to the complexities of life in the rural south in the 's.

Her many well-developed characters show multiple sides of the struggle against racial and economic segregation. I learned something entirely knew, too, in the term "ghost doctor. This book gives an interesting perspective on many things: race, friendship, lies, culpability, class distinction , racism and more. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and recommend it highly. It is a look into a southern town that is ungracefully facing integration and finds its underpinnings threatened and shattered.

Loved the start of this book, really gripping, which was great as I could get my teeth into it early. It waned a little in the middle as it seemed to drag a little with some of the characters. However I did like the twist at the end and overall found it an enjoyable read with good subject matter and issues raised.

This story follows warm characters through a turbulent time in our history! I enjoyed the fast pace shot through with innuendo, angst, and love in a time when people didn't talk about such things. Secrets were real and could be devastatingly for good or bad. Sep 22, Erica rated it it was amazing. Another knockout by Deborah Johnson. Jun 28, Kathy Gilliland rated it really liked it. Book is set in the s in Mississippi. Really makes you think. We still have a ways to go in this country. This book was such a page-turner! I loved it!!!

The Air Between Us by Deborah Johnson

Jan 07, LeAnna rated it liked it Shelves: a-to-z-challenge. Chosen for one of my book clubs. I literally flew through this, rather unexpectedly. I enjoyed it -- not my usual fare. I liked the setup a bit more than the ending which felt a little Mar 06, Juniper rated it really liked it.

Set in the South during the 60s.

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Part mystery, love story and a study of racial relations and tensions. I liked it a lot. Apr 16, Hope rated it liked it. These authors are destined to become trail blazers in the field of psychological suspense books that explode in your hands! As I turned the final pages of this compelling read, I know that this one will linger for a long time, if not forever. The perfect wife, the perfect husband, yes and they seem to have it all, perfection and lots of money. However, we soon see a very dark side of all of this, and wife number three will soon walk down the aisle.

The mind pictures are vivid, and now I see that this manuscript has been optioned for a movie, a must see, and I can see how awesome it will be, and now I can't wait to see how it transforms to the screen. It might take a bit to wrap your mind around all you are reading, but keep going, and wow to the ending, I never saw it all coming, and it keeps unwrapping right to the last page.

I really don't want to give very much away here, you need to read this and do it at your own pace and explore with your mind and decisions, just don't miss this one. I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher St. Martin's Press, and was not required to give a positive review. This was quite a thrilling book to say the least. This is the kind of story where you think it's about one thing, but it's actually about this other thing, but wait, not even that thing, it's more about this thing over here.

It's hard to even describe the plot here, except for maybe saying marriage troubles, divorce, and exes and a lot of secrets. Trust me, you will not be disappointed with this book. Absolutely a 5 star read and I cannot wait to see what other books come from these authors in the future. There are a number of little puzzles for the reader to solve from the very beginning of this novel. While the narrator is mainly Richard Thompson's ex-wife the authors played around with the time line so nothing is straightforward. The plot darts back and forth across events from before Richard and Nellie met until well after their marriage has collapsed.

But the truth of why the marriage collapsed and what Nellie is up to are far from simple. This is an engrossing thriller. Well worth the read. This book will definitely keep you guessing! Is Vanessa a jealous wife?


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Who's Nellie? What about Richard? As the chapters go by we learn more and more about these people.. But who's deceiving whom? Then we meet Emma.. More twists! A must read and the twists don't stop until the very last page. Highly recommended! Disclaimer: I received an advance reader cooy in exchange for an honest review. I enjoyed this but the very end was weak. I did not expect the initial twist. I actually thought about it while I was reading but I didn't really think it was going to happen, I thought it more as a joke and was surprised when it actually did happen.

I also did not anticipate the second twist. I was waiting for a very specific third twist to occur with a third character I actually completely forgot this was cowritten while I was reading. Nothing indicates two different writing styles, at least to me. I was intrigued to keep reading because of the writing style, even when the story was progressing at a rather slow rate. However, I did have some issues with the final few chapters and the epilogue. I really enjoyed how our main character pulled off her plan but the aftermath was messy.