This is the 1st of 2 readers’ reviews for “Kuimba” by multi-award-winning author Priscilla B Shuler. It is the recipient of the BREW Readers’ Choice Award for November 2021 and the BREW Readers’ Choice Award – African-American Historical Fiction of 2021/2022.


Ophelia’s life changed in an instant when she birthed a baby boy with stunning blue eyes. Although unable to talk, the child, christened Kuimba, could sing a melodious tune that would fill the listener’s heart. His celestial song would attract the wildlife that would gather near him, mesmerized. As Kuimba grew up, stories of miraculous healings started circulating. In several instances, he even resurrected people from death. While he was undoubtedly a child of God, what was his true purpose on earth? When R.Ed, a notorious and misguided youth, set his mind upon hurting Kuimba, why didn’t he protect himself? Will R.Ed’s nefarious plans succeed? You can find out in Kuimba, a novel by Priscilla B. Shuler.

The book maintained a smooth and flowing pace from the very beginning. Apart from a few scattered events, there was barely any tension or upheaval in the plot. This tempo felt quite soothing for the soul. When Shuler described Ophelia’s daily chores, such as doing the laundry or cooking for her family, I found even these mundane jobs charming. The dialect used in the conversations made the read more authentic, effortlessly transporting me to a different time and place.

As an atheist, I was skeptical about fully appreciating this religious-themed book. Surprisingly, my religious views or absence thereof did not affect my enjoyment in the slightest. Much like the characters, I learned to accept the events as they came. While some of them filled me with utter joy, the negative ones failed to unsettle me. The story convinced me that everything was happening for a reason and all will be fine in the end. I kept going with the flow, and the novel did not disappoint me.

Love was one of the central themes in this novel, expressing itself in many forms, including filial and romantic love. Kuimba’s parents loved him to bits, but their neighbor, Lucy, harbored great affection for him as well. It made us realize that family transcends blood relations. Kuimba’s love and acceptance for everyone and everything were unparalleled. His mission to deliver the people from evil closely was reminiscent of Lord Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice. Another poignant theme was redemption, transforming even a sinful person into a pious man capable of receiving and spreading love. Shuler assigned a satisfying character arc to everyone, even the minor characters, whereby they realize their follies and vow to do better.

Shuler explored various social issues in her novel. She demonstrated the far-reaching effects of racial injustice and slavery. Touched by Kuimba’s love, her characters gradually grew out of their age-old dogma and prejudices, urging the others to do so as well. It was mind-blowing how one of the most comforting books I have ever read could drive home such powerful messages at the same time.

Since this book praises God’s glory, I believe it would be a perfect read for any religious person. However, even a non-religious reader would love this heart-warming, magical tale. I would recommend this to anyone looking for an uplifting, spiritual read.

SC, 28 November 2021

Book Details

  • Title: Kuimba
  • Author: Priscilla B Shuler
  • Genre: Black & African American Literary Fiction
  • Publication Date: 12 January 2017
  • ISBN or ASIN: B01N224LG4

Book Themes

Themes (Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)

  • Sexual: TBDL
  • Religious: TBDL
  • Violence, self-harm, etc.: TBDL
  • Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: TBDL
  • Other adult tones: TBDL


  • Content: 4 stars
  • Writing Style: 4 stars
  • Appeal to Target Audience: 4 stars
  • Uniqueness: 4 stars
  • Editing: 4 stars
  • Other factors: 4 stars
  • Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

Note: The views expressed in book reviews are the review authors’ own and do not necessarily reflect the entire site’s.

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By Shrabastee Chakraborty

An avid reader, a reviewer, and a beta-reader, I love books from diverse genres.

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