Book Review: Havansu Means Blue Water by Ivory Simone

At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to get in to this book, but in the end I absolutely loved it and had a hard time putting it down, even as I grew increasingly tired.

The story is about Lyla, a graduate student who is working on her thesis paper.  She chooses a tough subject that brings her to Willburn, Arizona in order to research why a woman was lynched – Mary Alice, or “Black Mary”, many years ago. She meets all kinds of people in Willburn as she goes about her research.  All of the characters were interesting with their own quirks and kept me interested in the story.

This book can be purchased at

Q&A with the author

What inspired you to write Havasu Means Blue Water

My family history. I grew up listening to my grandfather who told me stories about his grandfather–a black Indian who came out of slavery as a boy.  I found a 1780s census record with my great-great-grandfather’s name and background information. The record confirms my grandfather’s oral history was correct. This family history took on new meaning when I worked for a Native American Tribe years later. Both of these invents laid the foundation for Havasu Means Blue Water.

Does “havasu” mean blue water?

Yes, it does. In the Mojave language it means “blue water”. One of the characters in the story is a descendant of a Mojave tribe decimated by disease and other anti-Indian government policies.

About the Book

Wilburn, Arizona is a dying town full of broken people. A town with a violent past and a festering grudge held against all those responsible for its plight. When feisty graduate student, Lyla Amir, comes to the town to research the 1918 lynching of a black farmer and his wife by the people of Wilburn, she becomes the catalyst for a series of transformative events that will rewrite the town’s history and give it a chance for redemption.

Author Bio
Ivory Simone is an author and poet currently living in Bangkok, Thailand. Ms. Simone is the author of two books, “Havasu Means Blue Water”, a literary fiction about a dying southwestern town’s rocky road to redemption, and, “The Rainy Season, The Poems, Prose and Writings of Ivory Simone”, a collection of poems, prose and essays written. Both books are available at Ms. Simone is the creator and host of two online programs: “Bangkok Poetry Streams”, podcasts devoted to the reading and enjoyment of poetry and prose (, and, “Take A Bite Out The Big Mango”, a popular blogtalkradio show about ex-pat lifestyles and happenings in-and-around Bangkok ( ). Ms. Simone is the founder of the OneWoman/OneHouse Organization. A grassroots group committed to helping rebuild Haiti by using art as a tool for social justice. She is currently raising funds to build a safe house for rape victims in Haiti. For more information about this effort go to the:OneWoman/OneHouse website.  Ms. Simone also launched a facebook action group to raise public awareness about the pervasive racial discrimination people of African descent face in countries all around the world called, “The Lift Every Voice Campaign: A Million Voices Raised Against Global Racism”.   Follow this link to find out more about the campaign:

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