Betty Jewel, dying of cancer, is looking for someone to care for her 10 year old daughter, Billie. Someone who is NOT the child’s father. Shakerag, Mississippi, in the middle 1950’s, is a hotbed of racial unrest. When a white journalist hears Betty Jewel’s story and appears to want to raise the black child, both women are in danger.
This is a wonderful story with plenty of twists and turns to keep the plot moving along. The characters are real, speak truly and in character and are people you want to know. This story will live with you long after you finish the book. Friends are a vital part of the tale for both women, both those who stand by them and their decisions and those who vehemently voice their opposition.
Book groups will find this a great book to spark a discussion of racism, friendship, marriage, trust, adoption, journalism, community, illness and hope. A minor theme is music and its ability to heal and support both the music makers and the hearers.