Although the three interconnected women faced sometimes staggeringly tragic challenges, Spera injects moments of joy and wonderful details of 1924 life in South Carolina.
I worried during the first chapter that Gertrude was going to feel like a caricature of a backwoods Southern woman. But she and the other characters were developed fully. And although the three interconnected women faced sometimes staggeringly tragic challenges, Spera injects some moments of joy—often related to their relationships to each other.
You can see where one of the storylines is going before the character involved understands it, and it might make your blood boil to see the evil situation go on unchecked. And I wasn’t sure I bought into the reasoning for a character’s drastic and sudden turnaround in thinking—it seemed that she’d had reminders of this reasoning without being inspired to shift course. But the details of cooking, surviving, race relations, and life in 1924 South Carolina were wonderful, and I still think about this book although I read it almost a year ago.
What did you think?
We read this in my book club, and I think we generally agreed that the scene with the diphtheria and the feather was horrifying and absolutely fascinating. I think it's going to haunt me forever!
This is Deb Spera's first novel.
I mentioned this book in the Greedy Reading List Six Historical Fiction Books I Loved This Year.