Set in the aftermath of the Michael Brown protests in Ferguson, Bone Broth follows the lives of Justine, a newly widowed woman, who despite seeing an end to a marriage that was rather complicated (they lived apart), is still struggling with the next stage in her life. She has three kids who have distanced themselves in various ways and are struggling with their own losses. When her eldest daughter Raynah starts a social justice museum, she uncovers a secret about her mother that calls into question everything she’s believed about her family. Ellis has written an absorbing and nuanced family drama, packed with St. Louis details and unforgettable characters. Bone Broth highlights the burdens of racism over generations and the resulting trauma that can ensue, and how activism, while vital, can lead to burnout with its own lasting scars.— Daniel Goldin
Justine Holmes is a widow, former activist, and funeral thief, mourning her husband's death during the aftermath of the Ferguson unrest in St. Louis, Missouri. As family tensions deepen between Justine and her three grown children - a former Bay Area activist at odds with her hometown's customs, a social climbing realtor stifled by the loss of her only child, and a disillusioned politician struggling with his sexual identity, the matriarch is forced to face her grief head-on. By reconciling a past tied to her secret involvement in civil rights activism during the early 1970's in St. Louis, Justine quickly learns the more she attempts to make peace with her history, the more skeletons continue to rise to the surface.
Excerpts from BONE BROTH have been featured in Eleven Eleven, The Offing, Joyland, The Stockholm Review of Literature and Entropy.