Branchville, South Carolina is still reeling from the ravages of the boll weevil and with the glimmer of the Great Depression on the horizon, more hard times are to come. But for three of the town's citizens, the challenges they face are far more personal.
From different walks of life but connected through their individual circumstances, Retta Bootles, a first-generation freed slave, Annie Cole, her employer and matriarch of an influential family, and Gertrude Pardee, a mother of four daughters, each experience the prejudices of class and race that are a harsh reality of the era.
With its alternating narration, the distinctive voices of its strong characters, and its passionate depiction of motherhood, this is a gritty and unforgettable story of the Deep South. [Larger font]
Well-written for a first novel, we were able to visualise the story and setting.
Our book club felt this book provided an interesting insight into American history pertaining to the South, both post-slavery and pre-Depression. Although, at times, it was a harrowing and disturbing read, fortunately not a lot of detail was given.
Everyone loved this book. Extremely moving and thought provoking.
We loved this book. Easy to read with so much depth.
Really good book. The strong female characters and their individual 'voices' stay in your head. Powerful read.
Everybody though this was an excellent novel, especially for a first novel. Very well-written and lots of interesting historical information about the southern states of America just before the Depression.
We all loved this book, one of the better ones this year. So much in the book, as well as great character development, there was culture, relationships, class, race, womens' place in society and food. A lengthy discussion followed!
We all enjoyed this book very much. We thought it was very well-written. The characters were well drawn and the plot developed really nicely. We felt the story highlighted the commonality of women, irrespective of race or class. The author's ability to evoke the situation and create a tense situation was excellent.
We all really enjoyed this book. It created a lot of discussion and it was interesting how we would've done things differently, but also realised how lucky we were to live in the times that we do now - it's easy to sit back and say that now. Quite a discussion about the camps because we didn't know anything about them and that they still exist. Great story.
We all felt this was a well researched and well-written book which described a time of extreme hardships. The strength of the three central women characters and how they dealt with guilt, deceit and the struggles of their time, was inspiring. We had a good discussion about the keeping of secrets within a family.
Great first book, especially for a group of midwives. Lots of discussion around motherhood, womanhood and female strength.
All of the group loved this read and would thoroughly recommend.
Good discussion from the group, we thought this was a well-written book on a difficult topic. Some odd gaps in the storyline but we read to the end! A few in the group chose this, and it didn't disappoint.
An interesting story set in Carolina in 1924, with well drawn characters. It emphasized the powerlessness of women in that era, but also the strength when they banded together to face adversity.
This was a great book. One of our best reads this year.
A polarising book. Reactions ranged from loved it and couldn't put it down, to struggled and gave up. The bleakness got to some, whereas others liked how the 3 women often cleverly fought against the different types of patriarchal suppression they experienced.
Mixed views on this book. A good portrayal of the racial situation at the time.
A wide range of ratings - from some loving it down to others feeling it had no plot. Some didn't like the writing style of switching characters with each chapter. All agreed it was an insight into a world we didn't know much about.
A great read, all enjoyed the book, particularly the strong women characters.
An enjoyable easy read. Plenty of discussion about the conditions and attitudes of the times.
Nearly everyone really enjoyed this book. They felt it was really well researched and covered a lot of strands which were woven together very well. We liked the strong characters of the women. It opened our minds to a lot of aspects of pre depression days. All the characters became very real and we could feel the emotion. It created a lot of very good discussion. Recommended.
Everybody loved this book. A great story of three strong women in difficult times in 1920s Southern U.S.A. Covered big themes of poverty, patriarchal society, relationships, trauma and race. We think it will make a great movie.
Our group had a great discussion with this book even though members had mixed feelings about it. Some fell straight into it whereas others found the narrative style annoying. We all liked the world that Deb Spera created and felt we got a good sense of what life was like in the south during the 1920s. At times this was very confronting. We thought the theme of friendship was explored well.
Overall the group enjoyed this book. Well-written.
Majority of readers loved this book, but all agreed it was a bit slow getting into it. Great first book to start our book club.
Everyone enjoyed reading this book. There was plenty of discussion as many topics were brought up in the book. The history mentioned of that part of America and the customs of small town living were most interesting, and prompted some to do more research about slavery etc. and the "camp".
Overall, a very much-loved book; great description of characters, the country etc. The author's background in movies etc. showed in her ability to create pictures with words. She also cleverly narrated each character in her own language. A very good book for a first publication. There was interesting discussion about the three different women, and their motivations.
This book created some thoughtful discussion about women's roles in the 1920s in Southern USA. It was quite confronting around poverty, race and abuse, and for some the narration of each character was a little annoying. But the novel portrayed the role of women, their lives and the challenges they faced within their families and the wider community in an extremely difficult time. Each of the characters were wives and had daughters and those daughters and those relationships were interwoven into the story as well as to each other. An emotional read. Most of our group would recommend this book .
We all enjoyed this book. One of our group read it twice!
Universally popular due to the great characters, engaging storyline, and slice of 1920s American life.
Popular read for all although definitely portrayed some confronting themes and life changing moments. It gave a very real picture of the life and challenges of that era, and particularly for women and their place in relationships and society.. Our discussion focused mostly on the lives of the women, their strengths, but also their vulnerabilities and need for survival. Discussion about the title and who exactly was called home posed interesting thoughts. Provoking warm story.
The whole group really enjoyed this interesting book which is unusual!
We all enjoyed the book; found it thought-provoking and the setting interesting.
We all enjoyed this book.
We loved this book. It was well-written and one we couldn't put down. A brilliant first novel.
Really good read. A page turner from the beginning. The ensuing discussion was very lively re family dynamics and responsibilities. Highly recommend this book.
Pacy novel - very much enjoyed by all in the group. What happened to the characters really mattered to the reader. The strong female characters were a particular favourite. Highly recommended.