"A tinderbox of a novel . . . and one that deftly blends historical fact with fiction." (The Boston Globe)
From the critics:
...[an] intense and frightening novel...compelling...
...superb...with great passion and conviction, Askew has turned the story of the riot into a work of compelling fiction...
Dallas Morning News
Ms. Askew's vivid account of the harrowing times makes her most recent novel hard to put down.
San Jose Mercury News
...a moving, troubling story, passionately told...
Fire in Beulah
From Black Issues Book Review:
Askew has crafted a gripping drama, infusing this novel with the rich details of human dilemmas--greed, power, secrecy, sibling rivalry. Althea Dedmeyer has escaped a difficult childhood and marries an oil wildcatter. Their pursuit of wealth and the ends towards which it drives them, are situated within the difficult relationship between Althea and Graceful Whiteside, a daughter of the successful, all-black town of Greenwood, who must eke out an existence of life as a domestic in a white world.
FIRE IN BEULAH also addresses the "problem" of race in the 1920s, and the changing notions of blackness and whiteness. Set in Oklahoma, during the "black gold rush," Askew tells the story of two women's lives and how they are intertwined with the events leading up to the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921.
Askew adeptly shows the hardships and heroicism of her characters lives. There are no pat machinations here, and Fire in Beulah is unflinchingly brutal--the author notes, "... the incidents of racial violence are real; they took place almost exactly as described." Askew's characters are complex, fraught with those concerns, tendencies and motivations that make us the best and worst of who we are. Ultimately, as the story whirls towards its maddening, surreal climax, FIRE IN BEULAH touches on the substance of morality and the composition of the human spirit, underscoring the fact that our lives transcend perceived boundaries.