My first word of advice for this book is to not read any reviews that spell out the story, and certainly don’t read the book jacket – unfortunately it provides a summary of the plot, which I’m sure spoilt my overall experience.
That said, I did love this book, it’s characters, and it’s progression. Set in Georgia, in the 60’s, it tells the story of Adie Jenkins, a young girl who is devestated by the death of her young sister. This is an event that will prove to remain with her as she grows, along with the secrets surrounding the event.
Adie grows to be a rather strong young woman, dealing with an unfaithful husband, and his difficult family; problems in her own family; the difficult births of her own children; and her close friendships with others. She has a wonderfully warm character, which you can’t help but love.
Whilst in labour with her first child, she meets Willa Mae, a midwife who becomes a friend. Willa Mae starts to read to her, from a diary written by Tempe, a slave who lived a century before. She becomes drawn into her story, which we share throughout the book.
The journal is written as Tempe would have written it, which makes it a little more difficult to read.. but the passages are short, so this does not present too much of a problem. I also felt that Jackie over used foreshadowing a little too much.. we were told many times that something bad or tragic was about to occur, and it could have been a little more subtle.
However, the book is strong enough to not really be affected by these points. Both stories grabbed hold of me, and I sat up late far too often, trying to find out what would happen to them all. There are themes of family, love and the effect of secrets, and I highly recommend it.