Hillary Jordan has written a very good debut novel that speaks on war, racism, marriage, and living off the land. The story is told by various narrators throughout the book. Henry and Laura are a white married couple who move to the Mississippi delta to raise cotton. Henry loves the land, but Laura misses city life and is deeply unhappy. She also has to live and deal with her racist father-in-law for the first time.
Hap and Florence are a black couple living on Henry’s farm as renters. Hap is a preacher, while Florence is a midwife who also helps Laura with some of her housework. Their oldest child Ronsel is in the military and serving in Germany, and when he comes back, he has to adjust back to a way of life that he is no longer accustomed to. He does find a friend, however, in Jamie, Henry’s younger brother. But, this doesn’t sit well with Henry and Jamie’s father, and trouble ensues.
This book all too painfully illustrates how much African-Americans have had to go through in this country. It does seem like the tide has changed with the historic election of our first black President, Barack Obama. I sincerely hope that this event will be the turning point in race relations in the United States.
(All along while reading this book, I was thinking it was going to receive a 4.5 rating, but then at the end something is stated by Jamie that I was deeply offended by, and I changed my rating to a 4. It didn’t ruin the book for me, but I think a better choice of words should have been uilized to avoid offending some readers.)
2008, 328 pp.