Mary Monroe

Mary Monroe started her writing career as a teenager, penning stories for confession magazines like Bronze Thrills to earn spending money. She has won rave reviews from critics and readers alike with her novels, God Don’t Like Ugly (Kensington), The Upper Room (Kensington), Gonna Lay Down My Burdens (Dafina), God Still Don't Like Ugly (Kensington), Red Light Wives (Dafina), and In Sheep's Clothing (Kensington). Her latest work is titled God Don't Play (Dafina).

Published in Authors

The Upper Room

by Mary Monroe

Mama Ruby may not be all crazy, but she's at least halfway there. She's known for taking things that aren't rightfully hers, like her best friend's stillborn baby — a tiny brown girl that she brought back to life with her legendary healing hands and christened Maureen. She's also rumored to have done away with her husband (True, he deserved it, but still.) Some fear her. Others try their best to avoid her. But most everyone agrees the devil has got hold of Mama Ruby's soul.

With her God-fearing neighbors watching her every step, it's all Mama Ruby can do to stay ahead of the law. One desperate night, she flees to Goons, a dirt-poor migrant settlement in the Florida Everglades — and, strange to say — it feels something like home. There's folks she likes (the low-down, wild-eyed Fast Black), folks she mostly loves (like Big Red, her law enforcement “connection”), and more than a few folks she just plain can't stand. Through it all, she remains downright nuts about the one gift God gave her — her precious daughter Maureen.

But growing up with a mama like Ruby is enough to make any half-sane girl wish for something — anything — else. And when Maureen gets the chance to explore the “real” world, you can bet she's going to take it… and run like hell.

Published in Fiction

Gonna Lay Down My Burdens

by Mary Monroe

In the sweltering little town of Belle Helene, Alabama, Carmen Taylor keeps her weaknesses, her frustrations, and her sorrows to herself. She’s too busy dealing with the dramas of troubled friends like Desiree Lucienne, the petite, pampered daughter of a doctor who tries to beat the wildness out of her. But that doesn’t stop Desiree from trawling for men, and trying to drag Carmen along.

It’s not that Carmen hasn’t had her share of boozy pick-ups — only that they can’t compare to the one steamy night she spent with the man she’s loved since they were both kids. Now a local cop, all-too-fine Chester Sheffield keeps showing up in Carmen’s life, wanting to do something about the feelings they obviously share. But that would mean abandoning her “boyfriend” Burl Tupper, and that’s something Carmen just can’t do. Ever since a foolish teenage prank of Carmen’s landed Burl in a wheelchair, she’s been trying to make it up to him. When Carmen doesn’t take her chance with Chester, Desiree does. And although the women’s friendship stays solid, greater challenges await.

On a sultry, reckless moonlit night, Carmen commits a desperate crime of passion, and, with Desiree, hits the road running. But she can’t run from the truth. Now she has two choices — a life on the lam, or a return to Belle Helene, the place where it all began… and the only place Carmen can lay down her burdens and seize her one true chance at love and redemption.

Published in Fiction

Red Light Wives

by Mary Monroe

With Red Light Wives, Monroe casts her eye on six extremely different women — haughty and humble, beautiful and plain, young and not-so-young, black, white, Latina, and origins unknown. Lula Mae, Ester, Megan, Rosalee, Helen and Rockelle are “colleagues” — in the world’s oldest profession — and despite their surface differences, all have a gift for laughing in the face of hardship. “Managed” by Clyde, who calls the women his “wives,” they do what wives are expected to do — take care of him, not to mention his young daughter, Keisha, but see no way out. That is until one day, a daring act of defiance changes everything.

Published in Fiction

In Sheep's Clothing

by Mary Monroe

Faced with a depressing future of cooking, cleaning, and unsatisfying sex with her husband, Trudy Bell tries to escape her boring lifestyle with a new job. When she lands a position as a secretary for a travel agency, she feels like a new woman. Her warm personality wins over all of her colleagues, except for fellow African-American Ann Oliver, who sneers at her black working-class lifestyle. In light of this resentment, Trudy doesn't hesitate when she realizes that her secretarial position grants her access to Ann's company credit cards. What begins as a few expensive lunches quickly spirals into a case of mistake identity with a man looking to kill Ann. Now, unless Trudy can convince him she's not the woman he's after, she may pay the highest price of all...

Published in Fiction

God Still Don't Like Ugly

by Mary Monroe

Growing up, Annette Goode thought all men were as low-down as the father who abandoned her. There was Mr. Boatwright, the boarder who abused her for years — until her best friend Rhoda murdered him. And what about the men she slept with to earn the money she needed to run away from her life? None of them was exactly the picture of chivalry. But now, after decades of soul searching and heartache, Annette has reunited with the father she never really knew. She’s severed all ties with the dangerously unstable Rhoda. And finally her real life has started to take shape. Or so she thinks…

Things start to fall apart at — of all places — Annette’s own pre-wedding celebration, where a guest reveals that the beautiful bride-to-be once turned tricks for a living. When her fiancé pulls a disappearing act, Annette reunites with Pee Wee Davis — the man who has been her on-again, off-again sweetheart since childhood. It’s not a great life, but it’s a pretty good one.

Yet Annette still holds the secret of her ex-friend Rhoda’s murderous past deep in her heart. She knows it’s a burden that will torment her until she can put it to rest. So when Rhoda suddenly walks back into her life, Annette must decide what she should believe — and what she can forgive — as she tries to salvage the one relationship that she just can’t seem to let go…

Published in Fiction

God Don't Like Ugly

by Mary Monroe

National Bestseller

Mary Monroe brings to life the bond between two girls from opposite sides of the track – and the shattering event that changes their lives forever. In this coming-of-age story, Annette Goode is an overweight child with a bad case of low self-esteem. Fatherless, poor, and repeatedly raped by her mother's lodger, she suffers in silence until she makes a friend of Rhoda Nelson, who helps her speak up for herself.

Set on the streets, porches, and parlors of 1960’s and ‘70s Ohio, God Don't Like Ugly resonates with clear-eyed wit and uncompromising honesty. Readers will find it full of laughter, inspiration and pure enjoyment.

Published in Fiction