Author: Lloyd G. Francis
Publisher: MarWay Publishing
Publication Date: August 6, 2013
In 1937 near Portland Cottage in southern Jamaica, on a huge sugar estate, Linton McMann, the illegitimate son of the owner of the plantation, works making rum.
Meanwhile in Kingston, Daisy helps her mother manage an ice business and dreams of joining her elder sister in New York.
Seeking opportunity, Linton leaves the deep Jamaican countryside for New York and the collapse of the ice business and family crises force Daisy to leave Kingston, seeking a new start in the United States. They encounter a vibrant Jamaican-American community in New York, where they meet at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. They become American citizens, marry, and start a family. Ambition drives them to start a business and Linton capitalizes on a skill he learned as a young man in Jamaica, making a drink known in Jamaica as “Roots.” It proves wildly popular and the company, Family Roots, prospers beyond Linton’s and Daisy’s
By 1986, the drink is a sensation. Money flows in, but something is missing. Happiness is as scarce as freshwater in the middle of the sea. Wrestling with their past while living in a land of plenty, Linton and Daisy discover that truth is the only avenue to happiness.
I was given a free copy of this book for an honest review.
From Rum to Roots starts in Jamaica in the 1930s. It contains a lot of history and gives the reader a good idea of the people of Jamaica, their traditions, and the hierarchy during that time. Many of the conversations are written in patois, which made the story more interesting, but it was difficult for me to follow a times. There is a key in the back of the book, however, that is helpful.
The characters are complex and well developed. Major is a typical plantation owner but it is easy to dislike him. On the other hand, I felt sorry for Linton, at least when he was young.
Linton and Daisy both overcome poverty and difficult beginnings in Jamaica and both had dreams of coming to America to find a new life. It was sad to read how they continued to hide from their pasts and tried to find happiness through success and money. It got to the point that I could not stand how Daisy neglected her two oldest girls. Both Daisy and Linton finally figured out what is most important in life but, in my opinion, it was much too late.
After studying engineering, Lloyd became a staff photographer for the San Jose Mercury News. He left newspapers to work for Yahoo Financial News Network and returned to journalism after 9-11. In 2001 Lloyd reported from Iraq for Newsweek Magazine, and went on to cover the war in Afghanistan. In 2004 he accepted a job with the Army Times Publishing Company and worked in Iraq intermittently for two years.
Lloyd returned to San Francisco in 2006. He lives with his wife, Leanne, his two sons,Marley and Waylon, a yellow nape Amazon parrot named Aquila and a rambunctious Red Lored Amazon parrot named Cosmo. He frequently takes long walks around SanFrancisco and Golden Gate Park, looking for great Instagram photographs.