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The Blackwoods (Hardcover)
From Boston Globe/Horn Book Award–winning author Brandy Colbert comes the story of four generations of a Hollywood family—an unforgettable tale of ambition, fame, struggle, loss, and love in America.
The Blackwoods. Everyone knows their name.
Blossom Blackwood burst onto the silver screen in 1962, and in the decades that followed, she would become one of the most celebrated actors of our time—and the matriarch of the most famous Black family in Hollywood. To her great-granddaughters, Hollis and Ardith, she has always just been Bebe. And when she passes away, it changes everything.
Hollis Blackwood was never interested in fame. Still, she’s surrounded by it, whether at home with her family or at the prestigious Dupree Academy among Los Angeles’ elite. When private photos of Hollis are leaked in the wake of Blossom’s death, she is thrust into the spotlight she’s long avoided—and finds that trust may be a luxury even she can’t afford.
Ardith Blackwood has always lived in the public eye. A television star since childhood, she was perhaps closer with Blossom than anyone—especially after Ardith’s mother died in a drug overdose. Ever since, she has worked to be everything her family, her church, and the public want her to be. But as a family secret comes to light and the pressures from all sides begin to mount, she wonders what is left beneath the face she shows the world.
Weaving together the narratives of Hollis, Ardith, and Blossom, award-winning author Brandy Colbert tells an unforgettable story set in an America where everything is personal, and nothing is private.
About the Author
Brandy Colbert is the award-winning author of several books for children and teens, including Black Birds in the Sky: The Story and Legacy of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, which was the winner of the 2022 Boston Globe–Horn Book Award for Nonfiction and a finalist for the American Library Association's Excellence in Young Adult Nonfiction Award. Her other acclaimed books include Pointe, The Voting Booth, The Only Black Girls in Town, and the Stonewall Book Award winner Little & Lion. A member of the faculty at Hamline University's MFA program in writing for children, Brandy lives in Los Angeles. You can find her online at brandycolbert.com.
“Colbert’s sprawling novel is a deeply felt love letter to Black Hollywood’s groundbreaking forebears and a tribute to the transformative power of maternal love, providing rich emotional insights layered with thoughtful explorations of the intersectionalities around race, class, and gender. A striking testament to the bonds of family and a perceptive study in how events can echo throughout generations.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
"An absorbing intergenerational tale about a famous Black Hollywood family, their relationship with notoriety, and the ramifications that come with it." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Colbert beautifully describes the complex lives of three young women through the alternating perspectives of Blossom in 1942, and Ardith and Hollis in the present day. Carefully tackles serious themes of race, family, sexual harassment, and addiction, and invites readers into the joyous highs and painful lows of fame and its legacy." — Shelf Awareness (starred review)
"Told in two time periods and following the perspectives of a young Blossom Blackwood and her two great-granddaughters, Colbert's novel explores the difficult choices each has to make to stay true to themselves." — Booklist
"Colbert delivers a heartfelt, layered story that delves into themes of identity, societal expectations, and the blurred boundaries between private and public lives. The exploration of family secrets [and] the weight of expected gender roles add elements of intrigue and suspense, keeping readers engaged and eager to unravel the truth." — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
"Brandy Colbert delivers yet again with a whip-smart look at gender, Blackness, and aspiration, and what the Hollywood machine has historically given and taken from performers of color. The Blackwoods is a story about the messiness of family and the burdens and triumphs of carrying the legacy of Black excellence. As a family, the Blackwoods are so tenderly drawn and beautifully human, I found myself wishing I could spend even longer with them well after I'd turned the final page." — Christina Hammonds Reed, New York Times-bestselling author of The Black Kids
"A gorgeously layered, expansive, and emotionally generous page-turner, The Blackwoods made me think about fame and family and legacy in ways I never had before. To put it simply, it swept me off my feet." — Nina LaCour, author of the Michael L. Printz Award-winner We Are Okay
"Wholly absorbing and meticulously researched, I was captivated from page one by this multigenerational story of Black Hollywood royalty. You will fall in love with Blossom Blackwood, her ambitions, and her entire family." — Malinda Lo, National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of Last Night at the Telegraph Club
“Binge-able as the best movies, this epic, beautifully-written tale of one famous Hollywood family is Brandy Colbert at the top of her game. Full of secrets and lies, loss and love, history and destiny, The Blackwoods shines." — Laura Ruby, National Book Award finalist and author of Thirteen Doorways, Wolves Behind Them All