Midnight on Julia Street

Written by Ciji Ware
Review by Wisteria Leigh

Ciji Ware’s Midnight on Julia Street is a spellbinding story that promises relevance for today as it uncovers the truth of America’s past. The author has chosen the luscious and culturally flavorful setting of New Orleans, pre-Hurricane Katrina, along with a seductive plot. As with a sculpture made of clay, each character emerges as the chapters progress. The two main characters, one-time enemies, unite to save a part of New Orleans history.

Corlis McCullough is a popular television reporter. Strong fragrances take her back into the past, an ability that proves invaluable. Kingsbury Duvallon is a handsome history professor and preservationist. His latest mission is to save a structure built around 1840 that contains twenty-three row houses which had served as commercial and residential spaces at the time. However, in 1960 an aluminum face that now is a visual eyesore covered the architectural beauty, and with it a valuable history lesson. Corlis and King learn that prior to the Civil War nearly half of the city’s population consisted of free men and women of color. Its genealogy is a mixed racial blend of marriages and offspring.

In court, in the present day, each side is determined to win at all costs. The developer wants to demolish the building to restore the downtown. The preservationists, headed by King Duvallon, present their case to save history. When the building’s owner and heritage are discovered, it is a surprise to all, including Corlis and King. Corlis comes to learn that what people have told her is true: New Orleans is a really small town where everyone knows everybody.

The many novels by Ciji Ware are among the best in the historical fiction genre. Midnight on Julia Street is unforgettable entertainment.