Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Book Review | Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

Title: Renaissance: The Nora White Story
Author: Yecheilyah Ysrayl
July 15, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
How I got the book: I received a free eARC from the author in exchange for an honest review


When seventeen-year-old NoraWhite successfully graduates High School in 1922 Mississippi and is College bound, everyone is overjoyed and excited. Everyone except Nora. She dreams of Harlem, Cotton Clubs, Fancy Dresses, and Langston Hughes. For years, she’s sat under Mr. Oak, the big oak tree on the plush green grass of her families five acres, and daydreamed of The Black Mecca.

The ambitious, young Nora is fascinated by the prospect of being a famous writer in The Harlem Renaissance and decides she doesn’t want to go to College. Despite her parent’s staunch protest, Nora finds herself in Jacobsville, New York, a small town forty-five minutes outside of Harlem.

Shocked by their daughter’s disappearance, Gideon and Molly White are plagued with visions of the deadly south, like the brutal lynching of Gideon’s sister years ago. As the couple embark on a frightening and gut wrenching search for Nora, they are each stalked by their own traumatic past. Meanwhile, Noralearns that the North is not all it’s cracked up to be and struggles to accept her prestigious family’s dark secrets.

Can Gideon and Molly overcome their disturbing past in time to find their daughter before it’s too late?

My Review:


I heard about this book through the author’s bio when she contacted me to do a guest post on my blog. I asked for more information and the book sounded intriguing with a little mystery twist to it.


The story follows Nora as she tries to follow her dreams. The novel takes place in the 1920s, so it’s hard for a young woman to go after what she wants, especially if she’s also black.

As her parents try to convince Nora that her dreams aren’t good enough, Nora decides to take fate into her own hands and leaves without a word. From there, we go back and forth between Nora and her parents following both as her parents try to find her and as Nora tries to make her dreams a reality.

It’s a great plot idea and the time period makes it all the more interesting.


While I enjoyed all the characters and they were all unique from one another, I felt as though I didn’t get a good chance to get to know them all.

Judging from the title, this story should be about Nora, but as the novel went on we learned more about her parents and less about Nora.

By the end of the novel, I felt I had a good grasp on Gideon and Molly, but Nora was still somewhat of a mystery to me as was her friend, Lisa.


I was confused at the beginning of most chapters. Some chapters had headings such as which point of view we were in, but not all of them. Some chapters mentioned the year date, other chapters mentioned a location and one chapter even indicated the time. Some chapter headings didn’t say anything at all and I found this be really confusing. I couldn’t keep track of who I was supposed to be following or where I was.The author’s writing is beautiful. She captivates the dialect of the southern speak wonderfully

However, the author’s writing is beautiful. She captivates the dialect of the southern speak wonderfully and I found the description of each and every action and location to just roll off my tongue as I read.


The novel stands at about 150-pages long. I felt as though much more could have been done with it. By the end of the story, I realized book one seems to be a build-up for book two. Still, I’m interested in reading book two when it comes out.

Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl gets…
4 stars book review4 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“And the arts… could not exist without the continual growth of emerging talent.” –Yecheilyah Ysrayl, Renaissance: The Nora White Story

Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl will be available JULY 15, 2017.

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28 thoughts on “Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl

  1. Reblogged this on Pearls Before Swine and commented:
    I am off today as usual and I’m actually not at home but I wanted to share the first official review for Nora. A special thank you to Rachel for taking the time to read and review my book. Her honest feedback is just what I need to make improvements before the big day.

  2. Thanks for your honest review, Rachel. The Nora White story sounds like one I’d be interested in reading. I love the time period and I’d like to see how young Nora reconciles her desires with reality.

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