“TaNellie” by Richmond Lafayette Holton takes place at the end of the Depression in Cleveland, Ohio. TaNellie is a well-educated, polite and sophisticated black pimp, and all his working girls are white. He protected and treated all of his girls well, didn’t abuse them, let them keep their tips and didn’t even force them to stay with him, but he did also set some important rules. TaNellie builds a relationship with everyone in Cleveland’s under world thanks to his charm and good heart.
The reader is then taken into the past to learn about how TaNellie got to be born in Cleveland. It is here that the author creates an unbelievable plot by people connecting with each other through the twists and turns of life.
Holton’s story is like nothing I have read before. He presents a well written storyline filled with unexpected and thought provoking twists in this complex piece. The characters are well developed, colorful, and interesting. Cleveland set in the late 30’s and 40’s gave the story the perfect canvas. Although Holton takes the reader back in time more than once, the plot flowed perfectly throughout.
I must admit that when I picked up this book I thought I was going to read another typical mob story. I was wrong; instead I found a complex, colorful, thought provoking, and well written novel which entertained me and surprised me from the beginning to the end. Holton also presented the reader with a refreshing view of an era in American history which is usually presented through a clichéd lens. The crafting of the book was also of great quality: well written, professionally edited, a pleasure to read.
I truly enjoyed “TaNellie” by Richmond Lafayette Holton and recommend it to anyone who likes different depictions of topics that have been overdone by Hollywood. “TaNellie” was definitely a great read and a novel with a twist!