Key Party 2: Brown Sugar by Lena Matthews Publisher: Loose ID, LLC
Genre: Recent Historical
Length: Short Story (94 pgs)
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Reviewed by Fuchsia
In the era of Disco and bell bottoms, one neighborhood is keeping free love alive, one key at a time.
As a proponent for free love and women’s rights, Shayna is more than happy to attending her friend’s key party even though she has no desire to sample the wares herself. Her plan is to just be there for immoral support. Nothing more, nothing less, or at least that was her intention before she spotted the man she spent one unforgettable night with, her best friend’s brother, Embry.
They only had one night together, but to Embry it was the first of many to come. Despite the wall Shayna had erected between them, Embry has no intention of backing down. It had taken him a long time to get Shayna to see him as a man and not just Edith’s brother and he refused to allow her to put him back in the friend column now.
Despite the differences in their social status and ethnicity, he knows that they are perfect for each other. Now all he has to do is get the stubborn beauty to admit it.
Shayna Hingham is black and in love with her best friend Edith’s brother, Embry, who is white. Embry can’t think of anything better than to have Shayna in his arms, loving her for eternity. The problem is that they live in Maryland in 1978 and interracial dating is still looked upon with distaste. Shayna tries to keep her distance from Embry but every time she gets close to him or even thinks of him her body gets warm and all she can do is remember how he felt touching and loving her the last time they were together. Realizing that there are so many reasons for them not to be together, Shayna tries to make Embry understand that a relationship would only end in hurt.
Embry has been in love with Shayna for as long as he can remember. Their first night together was one that he wants to repeat over and over again. However, he has to convince Shayna that it’s a good idea for them to be together, and to not worry about what others say. He understands that there will be people, maybe some in their own family that will be against them being together, but Embry hopes that his love for her will be enough to sway her to his way of thinking. He is not giving up on her and he will do whatever he can to make her his.
Lena Matthews’ Key Party 2: Brown Sugar explored the world of interracial love in the 1970’s. It was hard for interracial couples to go public because of the hatred they would face which would put their love to the test. There was a part in the book where a waitress refused to serve them because of this, which helped to depict the attitude of that time. I found this story to be informative but enjoyable at the same time. Shayna and Embry were wonderful characters whose interaction or verbal sparring was funny and entertaining. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who would want to take a glimpse at the world of interracial dating in 1978. Things have changed since then, although interracial dating is not completely accepted today, it’s not as frowned upon as it used to be. Key Party 2: Brown Sugar helped this reader spend an enjoyable afternoon getting to know Shayna and Embry and adding Lena Matthews to my list of talented authors.