Title: A Dark Iris
Author: Elizabeth J Jones
Genre & Theme: Drama, History, Art, YA
Published: July 15, 2019
It is 1972 and 12-Year-old Rebekah Eve is excited to be on her way to the prestigious Meridian Institute with her best friend, Wanda. But Rebekah’s joy is dampened by her parents’ separation. She misses having her father at home and the fun things they did together. Most of all, she dislikes her mother’s new ‘friend’ – Thomas Forrest – who is trying way too hard to win her over. These personal changes take place while her country, goes through dramatic changes of its own and life gets even more complicated when her new friend John is arrested for the attempted assassination of the Governor.
To cope, Rebekah turns to her art. But her paintings take on new, or rather ‘old’ life, as figures from the past seep in and replace her usual subjects. She is thrust into a whirlwind of emotion as her visions and the resulting paintings unveil wounds of the past that are not buried as deeply as some would like. With help from the mysterious Lady of the Library and her new art tutor Mr. Stowe, Rebekah makes sense of these visions and unearths the truth behind one of Bermuda’s legends. But some truths are difficult for anyone, especially a young girl, to digest. Ultimately, she must learn to trust herself, believe in her talents, and that even a little black girl from a small island, could one day become a famous artist.
A Dark Iris seamlessly combines the historical novel with magical realism as it explores history and identity. It was a finalist for the 2018 CODE Burt Award for Caribbean Young Adult Literature.