Description

This “exuberant celebration of Black women’s joy as well as their achievements” (Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author) novelizes the life of real estate magnate Josephine N. Leary in a previously untold story of passion, perseverance, and building a legacy after emancipation in North Carolina.

Josephine N. Leary is determined to build a life of her own and a future for her family. When she moves to Edenton, North Carolina, from the plantation where she was born, she is free, newly married, and ready to follow her dreams.

As the demands of life pull Josephine’s attention away, it becomes increasingly difficult for her to pursue her real estate aspirations. She finds herself immersed in deepening her marriage, mothering her daughters, and being a dutiful daughter and granddaughter. Still, she manages to teach herself to be a businesswoman, to manage her finances, and to make smart investments in the local real estate market. But with each passing year, it grows more and more difficult to focus on building her legacy from the ground up.

“Filled with passion and perseverance, Josephine Leary is frankly a woman that everyone should know” (Sadeqa Johnson, author of Yellow Wife) and her story speaks to the part of us that dares to dream bigger, tear down whatever stands in our way, and build something better for the loved ones we leave behind.

About the author(s)

Kianna Alexander wears many hats: doting mother, advice dispensing sister, and voracious reader. The author of more than twenty novels, she currently lives in her home state of North Carolina.

Reviews

“[Josephine Leary’s] inspiring story transcends one life in the years after emancipation to encompass all women who take the chance to secure their own happiness.”
Booklist

“Based on the life of the awe-inspiring Josephine N. Leary, Kianna Alexander’s Carolina Built tells the previously untold story of the real estate luminary’s climb to freedom. Readers are invited to follow Leary after emancipation in North Carolina as she chases her dreams and equips herself with the tools she needs to be a successful businesswoman in real estate. Building a legacy becomes challenging amidst maintaining a marriage and caring for her daughters, but she pushes forward against all odds — as Black women remarkably do.”
Refinery29

“Kianna Alexander breathes life into forgotten historical matriarch Josephine Leary, a budding entrepreneur born into slavery and raising herself to power after the Civil War as a community investor and savvy businesswoman. Josephine's moving struggle to build family and fortune will strike a chord in a story that is both timely and timeless—Carolina Built is an exuberant celebration of Black women's joy as well as their achievements!”
—Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Rose Code

“In Kianna Alexander's moving Carolina Built, readers are afforded a look at the life of newly emancipated Josephine Leary and her courageous efforts to build a real estate business in post-Civil War North Carolina, all the while balancing the ever-increasing demands of her traditional responsibilities.”
— Marie Benedict, New York Times bestselling author of The Mystery of Mrs. Christie and Her Hidden Genius