How do you choose between your country, your people, and yourself?
Do you fight for change or get out while you can?
1946. Bebe Hammond, a shy bookworm with a wild imagination yearns to find her own voice in the world, but is held captive by the expectations of her family and the realities of the Jim Crow south. When faced with an odds-defying opportunity, does she risk her life in the fight for Civil Rights, or abandon her home, and fiancé, and flee to Paris to live a life she's always dreamed of? Returning the Bones is a novel that will transport you through many miles, perspectives, and epiphanies.
Seattle Repertory Theater
"With the publication of "Returning the Bones", author Gin Hammond has written a complex, deftly crafted, entertaining, and thought-provoking novel that asks her readers 'how do you choose between your country, your people, and yourself?. Authentic, original, memorable, inherently fascinating, "Returning the Bones" will have a special and particular appeal for readers with an interest in African-American biographical fiction. Especially and unreservedly recommended for community library Historical Fiction collections."
The Midwest Book Review - Established in 1976, the Midwest Book Review is an organization committed to promoting literacy, library usage, and small press publishing.
"Gin Hammond's Returning the Bones is a masterpiece of storytelling. The author weaves a tale of the gripping and extraordinary life of the heroine of the piece, Carolyn Beatrice Hammond, fondly referred to as Bebe, with a language so descriptive that you can see every piece of gravel in the road and feel the heat of the sun. The depth and breadth of the journey that unfolds on every page is breathtaking and I was swept away on a sea of -emotions that ran the gamut from joy, fear, rage, love and everything in between. This is a novel that you want to savor and draw out but you won't be able to stop yourself from staying up all night so as to not miss a moment.. It's hard to believe that Bebe crammed all this living into her journey and Gin does an excellent job of taking us on it with her. "
Melanie Nicholls-King - Actor: The Wire, Anne with an E, Little Fires Everywhere, Your Honor and, Black Bird, and Playwright’s Horizons · Producer
“A book with deep resonance. Returning the Bones has scope, history, romance and magical realism. It’s a fascinating journey.”
Steve Harper - Playwright · TV Writer
“It’s beautiful writing, ... heart-rending and chilling."
Judd Parkin - Author · Screenwriter · Producer
"The unforgettable true story of an extraordinary woman. . . both revelatory and sobering. I couldn't put this down and learned so much. It's highly recommended."
Maggie Brookes - Novelist · Poet · Former BBC Television Producer · Journalist
"Gin Hammond's "Returning the Bones" is a captivating story that weaves family history with world events and personal challenges for its main character. While certain groups are currently trying to erase the reality of racial struggles from the history books, Hammond manages to engage and educate the reader with excellent prose rather than blatant denial. "Returning the Bones" is an engaging read, intersperced with amazing references to notable people (i.e. Eleanor Roosevelt/James Baldwin) encountered by Bebe."
"This captivating novel exceeds all expectations, delivering a powerful narrative that transcends boundaries. Set in the complex realm between Black and White communities from the Great Depression onwards, it intricately explores the concept of "passing" and the diverse tapestry of races, religions, and cultures. Moreover, it delves into the intersections of wealth and poverty (and how they intersect with race and even religion), love and duty, and the contrasts of of people North and South, East and West, (as well Europe and America).
Building upon the foundation of a remarkable play, the book unveils a wealth of backstory and depth, and the story skillfully blends humor and heartbreak.
This remarkable novel (based on a true story) is both delightful and painful. Its exploration of social dynamics and identity is both thought-provoking and emotionally powerful. I’ll be thinking about this book for a long time!"
"Gin Hammond has written a beautiful, poetic, humorous and moving story of the remarkable life of Carolyn “Bebe” Hammond. Too many times Black American history and culture is presented as a monolith. This book shines a light on a family that was able to thrive and prosper in the face of difficulty and danger.
Bebe’s story is a uniquely American one, and I encourage everyone who wants to learn more about our history to read this wonderful and entertaining book."
"This coming of age story is compelling and full of heart. It’s an utter joy to experience life through the eyes of Bebe, brilliant, spunky and conflicted about her future, as she discovers herself on her journey from her home in small town Texas, to Howard University in DC and through her travels in post WWII Europe and back home again. Full of insight from a genuine voice, that needs to be heard and represented in our American literature."
"This book is about to join its equals on the shelves labeled “The Classics”. It will fit right in next to its sister masterpieces, the works of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and Ralph Ellison. The story of persistent shame and duty, paradox of privilege and apartheid in one existence, is also filled with joys of both imagination and reality. The beautiful play with magical realism and often bone-chilling (or, as the author often offers, “short-circuiting”) reality is captivating. The detailed imagery and immaculate storytelling by the heroine will surely make you not want to put the book down and simultaneously want to prolong this beautiful journey.
Go on and order your copy."
"As a child of the South, I recognize and remember the segregation and the separate, but not equal, lives endured by all. Gin Hammond has written a book to honor her Aunt, Carolyn Beatrice Hammond. In the telling of "Bebe's" remarkable life story, the author paints the world as Bebe experienced it and effortlessly encompasses the history of Reconstruction, Jim Crow, the Depression, and World War II for the reader. As Bebe travels from Texas to Howard University, to London, and Europe after the War, we learn about the tragedy of dehumanizing others, and the story of Bebe's individual victory as a physician and a woman of color. As Americans, Returning the Bones, is an important part of our history. Read it Now. Thank you!"
"A well-written, refreshing, coming-of-age story, and a glimpse into a wholly unfamiliar world."
"From one moment to the next, I didn't know if I'd be laughing out loud or feeling stunned at the many historical moments that mirror what's in the news today. This page-turner made me think about how I made choices in my own life ."