As the novel opens we are immediately drawn into the thread of the story. The two Allen brothers are covertly burying their father. Why are they so secretive and what caused his demise?
Equally involving is the story of the McAllen family. Laura is a city bred woman who has been transplanted to a farm on the Mississippi Delta. Her back story with her future husband Henry, his father Pappy and his brother Jamie is compelling and the story only gets better as we meet the other characters in the story. Jamie’s friendship with Ronsel Jackson, a black sharecropper, is based on their shared war experiences. Jamie has turned to alcohol for comfort and Ronsel is faced again with southern bigotry after having equality during his war service. Although they should not be friends in their circumstances, they find common ground.
Told in alternating chapters by Laura, Henry, Jamie, Ronsel, and his parents, Florence and Hap, the story of deep mindless prejudice and cruelty unfolds with a chilling inevitability. I could not choose which character’s viewpoint was better. All were so fully formed and compelling. And the ending left me speechless…I did not see it coming. The writing is exceptional, the story always forceful.
Highly recommended for all readers. There is so much to discuss here and this would make an excellent choice for book groups.