London, 1936. Two sisters are ready to take the city and the world by storm.
Bath, 2012. Two young Black men are figuring out who they are, and who they want to become.
Manny Powell is forthright, intellectual, and determined to make her mark on the London literary scene. Her younger sister, Rita ‘The Baby’, just wants to dance. Chasing their dreams across smoky Soho jazz clubs, they soon find themselves part of the burgeoning Black ambition movement, and must learn how to navigate it as women. As tensions rise, and fascism and war snap at their heels, Rita finds herself drawn to the mysterious mimic and trumpeter, Ezekiel Brown, from Jamaica, and the trio are faced with choices that will alter their lives forever.
Itai has fled London to his late father’s flat in Bath. Listening to cassette tapes his father made, he realises there is a lot he doesn’t know about the man’s life — who is Rita? Why did his father record her life story? And might she hold the answers to Itai’s questions? Meanwhile, his developing friendship with Josh, a young athlete who moonlights as a dealer to fund his training, is on unsteady ground. As the country prepares for the 2012 Olympics, Josh is under increasing pressure from his bosses to find out just what the hell Itai is really doing in their city.
Manny and the Baby is a character-driven debut novel, full of heart, about what it means to be Black and British, now and in the past.