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Publisher's Summary

A haunting novel about a black woman who returns to her hometown for a plantation wedding and the horror that ensues as she reconnects with the blood-soaked history of the land and the best friends she left behind.

More than a decade ago, Mira fled her small, segregated hometown in the south to forget. With every mile she traveled, she distanced herself from her past: from her best friend Celine, mocked by their town as the only white girl with black friends; from her old neighborhood; from the eerie Woodsman plantation rumored to be haunted by the spirits of slaves; from the terrifying memory of a ghost she saw that terrible day when a dare-gone-wrong almost got Jesse—the boy she secretly loved—arrested for murder.

But now Mira is back in Kipsen to attend Celine's wedding at the plantation, which has been transformed into a lush vacation resort. Mira hopes to reconnect with her friends, and especially, Jesse, to finally tell him the truth about her feelings and the events of that devastating long-ago day.

But for all its fancy renovations, the Woodsman remains a monument to its oppressive racist history. The bar serves antebellum drinks, entertainments include horrifying reenactments, and the service staff is nearly all black. Yet the darkest elements of the plantation's past have been carefully erased—rumors that slaves were tortured mercilessly and that ghosts roam the lands, seeking vengeance on the descendants of those who tormented them, which includes most of the wedding guests. 

As the weekend unfolds, Mira, Jesse, and Celine are forced to acknowledge their history together, and to save themselves from what is to come.

©2021 LaTanya McQueen (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

Editor's Pick

Listen if you liked Get Out
As soon as Kara Young’s smooth-as-honey voice poured into my ears, I didn’t want to hit pause on When the Reckoning Comes. This haunting debut from LaTanya McQueen is a horror story, but it’s deeper than ghosts and ghouls. As Mira returns to her North Carolina hometown to attend her childhood best friend’s wedding, she’s forced to confront the oppressive history of the land she left behind 10 years ago. Mira believes she has reinvented herself, putting that fateful night when she sneaked onto the local Woodsman plantation firmly in the past. But she’s wrong. The plantation may have been restyled as an idyllic wedding venue, but the secrets buried there won’t remain hidden much longer. As a first-time narrator, Young’s performance is pitch perfect, reflecting the trepidation of Mira’s return to her roots and the lingering trauma of slavery on this troubled community. What a wonderful pairing of debut author and narrator—I can’t wait to hear more from them both. —Margaret H., Audible Editor

What listeners say about When the Reckoning Comes

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Great Book!

This was my first novel by this author and she did not disappoint! I loved the way the story went from the past to the present and the characters evolved. It definitely kept me wondering on what was going to happen next! Narration was excellent! Great Read!

3 people found this helpful

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I don’t think I’m the audience

The book was written very well, but I don’t think I was the audience. The summary was a little misleading (imo), so I was expecting horror, and this wasn’t that. Additionally, the narrator’s off-putting performance of “Black” and/or “southern” dialect really took me out of the story a lot of the time.

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Dark, amazing, and heart wrenching

Inspired by history, this book is a prime example of why I love the horror genre. The story and the performance were perfect

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  • 11-14-21

Beautifully written and narrated!

Kara did an excellent job of narrating a great story. There was anticipation at each chapter. Loved the book!

1 person found this helpful

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Great story!

Loved this! it would make an amazing movie! a can't wait to see what else the author has written.

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Wasted Potential

The story line had great potential but fell short. I was very disappointed with the ending of the book and the narrator did little justice in regards to capturing the characters.

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Tomato tomato

That was the worst! The narrator was so dry. The story went nowhere very slowly!

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Yes! Read !

This story depicts the black experience based on a variety of perspectives on how to make things better for them in the eyes of their white counterparts….nothing helps!

Great story. Will read again