Promotional materials for "Marching to Zion" by Mary Glickman — a November of 2013 release from Open Road Media — focused on an impossible relationship that mirrors the Montagues and Capulets of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet," but the star-crossed lovers aspect of the book is secondary to the fierce studies of individual characters with the story.
The book launches in the middle of World War I with the reader looking over the shoulder of a young black woman who travels to St. Louis from a rural area in response to an advertisement in a newspaper. Mags Preacher hopes to learn the beauty trade when she reaches the city, and it is easy to feel like the book will merge into a cautionary tale with Mags serving as its centerpiece.
However, the book becomes much more very quickly as Mags finds accommodations in a boarding house and secures employment in a funeral home owned by a Jewish emigre from Eastern Europe named Fishbein and develops a relationship with another employee she marries.
Despite the turnaround in her life, Mags' happiness is short-lived as a combination labor and race-riot rips through East St. Louis and drastically alters her position and security.
Here the book transitions into its main focus and its core relationship between Fishbein's mentally unstable daughter, and his business partner. The crux of the book details the internal and outside forces that conspire to keep the couple apart across a period of several years.
The deep character portraits present from beginning to end, make this a worthwhile and fulfilling read.