My reviewrating: 4 of 5 stars
"What difference does race make in our relationships with people?" is the question explored in this book, sent in the early 1930s in a small town in Virginia. The main character is a Jessilyn, a White thirteen year old who doesn't really fit in with her peers. She likes to read, she is independent and sees boys as a nuisance. Her only real friend is a neighbor a few years older than she is. That girl's parents work for her parents--and they are African-American. A storm strikes and her friend Gemma's parents are killed in a fire. Against all convention, her parents take her friend in as a foster-daugher, rather than a servant. This decision alienates them from both the White and Black communities. The Klan gets involved. First love is involved. In the end there is betrayal, redemption, and a new chance at love. It is Christian fiction, but not heavy-handed. It is a story of separate and unequal justice, a justice that unfortunately has not been unknown in our country's history.
While one character in the book shows that he is not all bad, unfortunately most of the others are either all good (and treat all races equally and with respect) or all bad (and are Klan members). I think this would have been a perfect story in which to show that good people could be products of their culture. In some ways Jessilyn's mother is like that--she likes her daughter's friend, but isn't comfortable taking her into their home, but later comes to accept it.
This is a First Wildcard book. Check back January 7 to read the first chapter.
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