Author: Cathy Gohlke
Release Date: January 5, 2021
Fantastic character development mixed with well researched history make this a must read to start off 2021!
After years of watching her mother in an abusive relationship, Lilliana finds herself in a similar situation. After her mother dies, she overhears her husband and father discussing her future so that her husband can divorce her with the church’s sympathy so that he can freely remarry. Lilliana musters what strength she has coupled with a ring that her mom gave her and flees from Philadelphia to her Great Aunt Hyacinth’s house in the small town of No Creek, North Carolina. Her aunt is overjoyed to see her and works to provide her a safe place, but she isn’t in the best health and won’t be on this earth for long. She begins to make some new friends with those that help her Great Aunt and before long, great plans to restore the house’s library surface. This library will become a lending library for the town to promote the joy of reading to anyone in town regardless of the color of their skin. However, some feel that this library should only be used by the whites and don’t like change. As war in Europe begins to brew, so do the dangers in this small community. There are secrets that could change everything that Lilliana holds dear!
Cathy Gohlke is a master of creating stories set during difficult times. She has such an inspiring ability to create real conflict between her characters that makes her stories move along as such a suspenseful pace that readers can’t help but be intrigued. Her ability to create a world to bring readers to the time of the Klan mixed with a young woman who had never experienced the Jim Crow era of the South that was suddenly thrust into it was just masterful.
The development of the main characters was brilliant as well. Lilliana was extremely flawed having been involved in two abusive relationships, her father and husband, and was extremely untrustworthy of men. Yet she had the courage and backbone to stand up to several men she didn’t know. Celia was loud, outspoken, and yet yearned for a father figure to keep her dreams alive. Ruby Lynne was such a heartbroken character in so many ways that you just wanted to reach through the pages to hold and comfort her. Not many authors can successfully create that level of emotional connection with so many characters.
This will be a difficult novel to read for some as it deals with abusive relationships, Jim Crow era violence, drinking, and rape. However, the story is so genuine that it is well worth the read!
I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.