Category Archives: Rated A+

Review: Pack Up the Moon by Kristan Higgins

Title: Pack Up the Moon by Kristan Higgins
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 464 pages
Book Rating: A+ & A Recommended Read

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Every month, a letter. That’s what Lauren decides to leave her husband when she finds out she’s dying. Each month, she gives Josh a letter containing a task to help him face this first year without her, leading him on a heartrending, beautiful, often humorous journey to find happiness again in this new novel from the New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins.
Joshua and Lauren are the perfect couple. Newly married, they’re wildly in love, each on a successful and rewarding career path. Then Lauren is diagnosed with a terminal illness.

As Lauren’s disease progresses, Joshua struggles to make the most of the time he has left with his wife and to come to terms with his future–a future without the only woman he’s ever loved. He’s so consumed with finding a way to avoid the inevitable ending that he never imagines his life after Lauren.

But Lauren has a plan to keep her husband moving forward. A plan hidden in the letters she leaves him. In those letters, one for every month in the year after her death, Lauren leads Joshua on a journey through pain, anger, and denial. It’s a journey that will take Joshua from his attempt at a dinner party for family and friends to getting rid of their bed…from a visit with a psychic medium to a kiss with a woman who isn’t Lauren. As his grief makes room for laughter and new relationships, Joshua learns Lauren’s most valuable lesson: The path to happiness doesn’t follow a straight line.

Sometimes heartbreaking, often funny, and always uplifting, this novel from New York Times bestselling author Kristan Higgins illuminates how life’s greatest joys are often hiding in plain sight.


Pack Up the Moon by Kristan Higgins is a captivating novel that packs a powerful emotional punch.

Josh and Lauren Park have their entire married lives in front of them when Lauren is diagnosed with a terminal diagnosis. Josh is a medical device engineer who is a workaholic. He is also socially awkward and has a difficult time figuring out social cues. Thankfully with his bubbly wife at his side, he has become much more adept in social situations. They are very close to Josh’s mom, Steph, and her neighbors, Ben & Sumi Kim, a wonderful couple whom he thinks of as parents. They also enjoy a delightful relationship with Lauren’s sister, Jen, her husband, Darius and their adorable children. Her mom has not been the same since her father’s death but she is a part of their lives as well. Lauren’s best friend from childhood, Sarah, rounds out their social group. Everyone is stunned by Lauren’s diagnosis but they are a strong support system both before and after her death.

Josh is heartbroken and barely functional after Lauren passes away. He steadfastly refuses to remember the day of her death and he is overwhelmed with crushing grief.  But for the next twelve months he receives letters from Lauren that give him tasks to perform. His first month’s assignment is simple yet so very difficult to accomplish due to the memories that assail him at every turn. Josh looks forward to receiving the missives and they soon begin having a surprising impact on his life. He finds an unexpected friendship in a compassionate store clerk and although it takes months, Josh does begin to move forward.

The chapters alternate between Josh and Lauren’s points of view. Lauren’s chapters provide heartwarming peeks into their life together. She also pens letters to her deceased father in order to remain close to him. Lauren and Josh are deeply in love and while her diagnosis shocks them to the core, they become closer than ever. They are grateful for the time they have but at the same time, but it takes Lauren a while to come to terms with the inevitable outcome of her disease.

Pack Up the Moon is a deeply affecting novel of love, loss and healing. It is also a story of new beginnings as Josh comes to terms with Lauren’s death.  All of the characters are multi-dimensional and their reactions to Lauren’s fate are realistically depicted. Josh’s grief is palpable and it is impossible not to react to the depth of his loss.  The storyline is well-written and the story unfolds at a brisk pace. Kristan Higgins brings this touching novel to an incredibly heartfelt conclusion. I laughed, cried and absolutely loved this brilliant novel.

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Filed under Berkley, Contemporary, Kristan Higgins, Pack Up the Moon, Rated A+, Recommended Read, Review, Women's Fiction

Review: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

Title: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Genre: Historical, Fiction
Length: 450 pages
Book Rating: A+ & A Recommended Read

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes a powerful American epic about love and heroism and hope, set during the Great Depression, a time when the country was in crisis and at war with itself, when millions were out of work and even the land seemed to have turned against them.

My land tells its story if you listen. The story of our family.”

Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the bounty of the land is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman’s only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: marriage to a man she barely knows.

By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa’s tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.

In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa—like so many of her neighbors—must make an agonizing choice: fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family.

The Four Winds is a rich, sweeping novel that stunningly brings to life the Great Depression and the people who lived through it—the harsh realities that divided us as a nation and the enduring battle between the haves and the have-nots. A testament to hope, resilience, and the strength of the human spirit to survive adversity, The Four Winds is an indelible portrait of America and the American dream, as seen through the eyes of one indomitable woman whose courage and sacrifice will come to define a generation.


The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah is a poignant, true to life novel which realistically depicts the hardships of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl.

In 1921, Elsinore “Elsa” Wolcott is a twenty-five year old spinster with few hopes of marriage. Her family has crushed her self-esteem and they refuse to support her efforts for higher education.  A chance meeting with Rafe Martinelli changes the trajectory of her life after they marry and live with his parents Tony and Rosa on their wheat farm in Texas.  While Elsa loves Rafe, he instead dreams of leaving the farm and in his disappointment, he drinks too much and works too little. Even after the stock market crashes, the Martinelli farm hold its own. But when drought strikes and turns their land to dust,  Elsa works alongside her beloved in-laws to hold onto their land for her two children Loreda and Anthony. But as the Dust Bowl worsens, Elsa, Loreda and Anthony leave Texas for California with hopes for a brighter future.

Elsa is a pragmatic, hard worker who fears rejection so she avoids speaking of her love her for husband and children. She is proud and continues to hold out hope the weather will turn and the Martinelli farm will once again prosper. Not only is Elsa battling the elements and to keep food on the table, she is at odds with Loreda who is entering the teen years. Her daughter is close to Rafe who fills her head with dreams and hopes far away from Texas.

In order to find a better life, Elsa, Loreda and Anthony embark on a dangerous journey across the southwest to California. With their funds dwindling, Elsa and the children camp alongside other people looking to support their families. Living in tents, Elsa battles the locals’ prejudice for the migrants, struggles to keep her children in school and find work. With few options open, Elsa and her children travel with other migrants and pick various crop for extremely low wages.  Finally finding a permanent position, they discover that trying to get financially ahead is still elusively out of reach.

This is also the time period when protestors are trying to rouse support for unions and better wages. They find resistance with farm owners who seize on the migrants desperation to find work to pay them low wages for their backbreaking work. These owners utilize every tool (including violence) at their disposal to  prevent the workers from the protest. Loreda has the fire and passion to fight for migrants’ rights but will Elsa’s fears for supporting her family stop her from joining the protests?

The Four Winds is a captivating novel of heartbreak and resilience.  Elsa is a strong woman whose anxiety sometimes gets in the way of making hard choices. Loreda is a firebrand whose dedication to the fight for migrant workers is admirable… and dangerous. The various settings spring vividly to life which it makes it easy to visualize the sometimes horrific living and working conditions. Kristin Hannah brings this heartfelt and realistic novel to a bit of sad yet completely uplifting conclusion. I thoroughly enjoyed and HIGHLY recommend  this incredible novel.

Personal Note:  The Four Winds is not based on my family’s story. Yet it is my family’s story. My great-grandparents, grandparents, dad, aunts, uncles, and cousins lived in Oklahoma during the depression and the Dust Bowl. This novel matches completely with my relatives’ accounts of living through this terrible time. My grandmother was a migrant farm worker who took my dad with her throughout the south where they picked cotton and other crops. It was backbreaking work for extremely low pay, but they survived and as the years passed, finally prospered.

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Filed under Fiction, Historical, Kristin Hannah, Rated A+, Recommended Read, Review, St Martin's Press, The Four Winds

Review: The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

Title: The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline
Publisher: Custom House
Genre: Historical, Literary Fiction
Length: 380 pages
Book Rating: A+ & A Recommend Read

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


The author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Orphan Train returns with an ambitious, emotionally resonant novel that captures the hardship, oppression, opportunity and hope of a trio of women’s lives in nineteenth-century Australia.

Seduced by her employer’s son, Evangeline, a naïve young governess in early nineteenth-century London, is discharged when her pregnancy is discovered and sent to the notorious Newgate Prison. After months in the fetid, overcrowded jail, she learns she is sentenced to “the land beyond the seas,” Van Diemen’s Land, a penal colony in Australia. Though uncertain of what awaits, Evangeline knows one thing: the child she carries will be born on the months-long voyage to this distant land.

During the journey on a repurposed slave ship, the Medea, Evangeline strikes up a friendship with Hazel, a girl little older than her former pupils who was sentenced to seven years transport for stealing a silver spoon. Canny where Evangeline is guileless, Hazel—a skilled midwife and herbalist—is soon offering home remedies to both prisoners and sailors in return for a variety of favors.

Though Australia has been home to Aboriginal people for more than 50,000 years, the British government in the 1840s considers its fledgling colony uninhabited and unsettled, and views the natives as an unpleasant nuisance. By the time the Medea arrives, many of them have been forcibly relocated, their land seized by white colonists. One of these relocated people is Mathinna, the orphaned daughter of the Chief of the Lowreenne tribe, who has been adopted by the new governor of Van Diemen’s Land.

In this gorgeous novel, Christina Baker Kline brilliantly recreates the beginnings of a new society in a beautiful and challenging land, telling the story of Australia from a fresh perspective, through the experiences of Evangeline, Hazel, and Mathinna. While life in Australia is punishing and often brutally unfair, it is also, for some, an opportunity: for redemption, for a new way of life, for unimagined freedom. Told in exquisite detail and incisive prose, The Exiles is a story of grace born from hardship, the unbreakable bonds of female friendships, and the unfettering of legacy.


The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline is a captivating historical novel that offers a poignant and thought-provoking glimpse of the British transportation of convicted criminals to Australia. This riveting novel also highlights the heartrending plight of the Aboriginal people as the British seize their land.

Eight year old Mathinna is the daughter of an Aboriginal chief who lives with her stepfather on Flinders Island. Although forced to assimilate to the British way of life, Mathinna fights to hold her heritage close.  Catching the eye of Lady Jane Franklin, the wife of the governor of Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania), Mathinna is whisked away from her home. Lady Jane views Mathinna as a part of her collection of exotic objects that catch her eye and the young girl is forced to perform for her benefactresses friends. The British harbor a deep prejudice against the Aboriginals and their remarks about and attitude toward Mathinna reflect this abysmal attitude.

In Britain, Evangeline Stokes is the orphaned daughter of a vicar and now works as a governess for a wealthy family.  Seduced by the eldest son and heir, she is sent to prison and sentenced to 14 years at the penal colony on Van Diemen’s Land.  Evangeline holds out hope she will she rescued, but as the months pass, she becomes resigned to her fate. She and the other prisoners are transported to Australia on the Medea, a former slave ship. Their journey is somewhat perilous as they endure illness, storms, heat and unwanted attention from unsavory crew members.

Evangeline befriends Hazel Ferguson, a teenager from Glasglow.  After she and her midwife mother  fall on hard times, Hazel is neglected and forced to steal in order to survive.  Her knowledge of herbal remedies turns out to benefit her as she uses her skills to barter with the other passengers. Hazel eventually assists the ship’s doctor Caleb Dunne who is surprisingly kind and compassionate as he takes care of the prisoners and crew members.

Life in the Cascades Female Factory is not easy as they provide free labor for the settlers.  Their day to day life is uncertain as they try to abide by the rules in hopes of being released early from their sentences. At the same time, young Mathinna’s fate is tied to the whims of the Franklin family and her future is uncertain.

The Exiles is a well-researched novel that shines a much needed light on the brutality of the penal colonies and the mistreatment of the Aboriginal people. The characters are well-developed with realistic flaws and strengths. The storyline is engrossing and features shocking twists and unexpected turns. The conditions at Newgate prison, the sea journey and the penal colony are harsh and these details are not downplayed. The British treatment of the Aboriginal people is horrendous and they endure jaw-dropping prejudice and misconceptions. Christina Baker Kline brings the trials, tribulations and hopes of this shameful period in British history vividly to life. A deeply affecting novel that I found impossible to put down and highly recommend.

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Filed under Christina Baker Kline, Custom House, Historical, Rated A+, Recommended Read, Review, The Exiles

Review: Before & After by Judy Christie & Lisa Wingate

Title: Before & After by Judy Christie & Lisa Wingate
The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children’s Home Society
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Non-Fiction
Length: 295 pages
Book Rating: A+ & Recommended Read

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher


The compelling, poignant true stories of victims of a notorious adoption scandal—some of whom learned the truth from Lisa Wingate’s bestselling novel Before We Were Yours and were reunited with birth family members as a result of its wide reach

From the 1920s to 1950, Georgia Tann ran a black-market baby business at the Tennessee Children’s Home Society in Memphis. She offered up more than 5,000 orphans tailored to the wish lists of eager parents—hiding the fact that many weren’t orphans at all, but stolen sons and daughters of poor families, desperate single mothers, and women told in maternity wards that their babies had died.

The publication of Lisa Wingate’s novel Before We Were Yours brought new awareness of Tann’s lucrative career in child trafficking. Adoptees who knew little about their pasts gained insight into the startling facts behind their family histories. Encouraged by their contact with Wingate and award-winning journalist Judy Christie, who documented the stories of fifteen adoptees in this book, many determined Tann survivors set out to trace their roots and find their birth families.

Before and After includes moving and sometimes shocking accounts of the ways in which adoptees were separated from their first families. Often raised as only children, many have joyfully reunited with siblings in the final decades of their lives. Christie and Wingate tell of first meetings that are all the sweeter and more intense for time missed and of families from very different social backgrounds reaching out to embrace better-late-than-never brothers, sisters, and cousins. In a poignant culmination of art meeting life, many of the long-silent victims of the tragically corrupt system return to Memphis with the authors to reclaim their stories at a Tennessee Children’s Home Society reunion . . . with extraordinary results.


Before & After by Judy Christie & Lisa Wingate is the non-fiction follow-up novel to Ms. Wingate’s blockbuster bestseller, Before We Were Yours (read my review HERE).

This emotionally compelling book documents the stories of real life adoptees whose adoptions were part of Georgia Tann’s black-market adoptions through the Tennessee Children’s Home Society (TCHS). Following the release of Before We Were Yours in 2017, many of the adoptees were compelled to shared their stories after reading the heartrending novel.  Several people reached out to Ms. Wingate to tell her of their deeply personal connection to the Georgia Tann scandal.  At the suggestion of one of the last babies adopted through the TCHS, a reunion of adoptees was set in motion.

After hearing the adoptees’ stories, Ms. Wingate teamed up with Ms. Christie to ensure their histories would be told. Although their identities have been protected, through in-depth interviews by Ms. Christie, their heartrending accounts have been now memorialized in this poignant and captivating book. While some of the children grew up in happy homes, many of them struggled with feelings of loss and abandonment by their birth mothers. Their respective searches for their birth families has been an long and arduous journey that, in some cases, culminated with happy reunions with siblings and extended family members.

Before & After is a bittersweet book that is heartbreaking yet also uplifting.  While the narrative focuses mainly on the adoptees, the story also touches on the manner in which Georgia Tann stole children from their families in order to sell them to adoptive families. Through pictures and poignant narratives from the adopted children,  Judy Christie & Lisa Wingate have given a voice to the many victims of a horrifying crime that spanned over 25 years.  Keep tissues handy because it is impossible not to shed tears while reading this deeply affecting book. HIGHLY recommend.

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Filed under Ballantine Books, Before and After: The Incredible Real-Life Stories of Orphans Who Survived the Tennessee Children's Home Society, Contemporary, Judy Christie, Lisa Wingate, Non-Fiction, Rated A+, Recommended Read, Review

Review: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Title: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Contemporary, Historical, Women’s Fiction
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: A+ & A Recommended Read

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher


Two families, generations apart, are forever changed by a heartbreaking injustice in this poignant novel, inspired by a true story, for readers of Orphan Train and The Nightingale.

Memphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge–until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents–but they quickly realize the dark truth. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions and compels her to take a journey through her family’s long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or to redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals–in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country–Lisa Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.


Alternating back and forth in time, Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is a heartwrenching fictionalized account of the horrifying real-life adoption scandal involving Georgia Tate and the Tennessee Children’s Home Society.

In 1939, the Foss children are unscrupulously removed from their parents by Georgia Tate who then places the children in an abusive group home until they are adopted. Twelve year old Rill is extremely protective of her younger siblings and she is determined to escape and return to their parents. While Rill makes a valiant effort to prevent her siblings from being adopted by other families, she is heartbroken as one by one, her sisters and brother disappear from the home. As luck would have it, Rill and her younger sister are adopted by the same family but she loses touches with her other siblings.

In the present, Avery Stafford returns home after her father Senator Wells Stafford is diagnosed with cancer. In the event he is unable to continue with his senatorial duties, she is being groomed to run for his seat. During an event at a local nursing home, she encounters May Crandall, who is a resident at the home. After she sees a photo that closely resembles her Grandma Judy, Avery tries to uncover the connection between her grandmother and May.

Avery has lived a privileged and somewhat sheltered life but she has blazed her own path professionally. She is engaged to a family friend and although they have yet to set a wedding date, they are well-suited. Close to her grandmother who is suffering from dementia, Avery cannot resist trying to find out the link between Judy and May. A perplexing discovery takes her to the family vacation home where she meets Trent Turner who is in possession of  documents that belong to her grandmother.  Avery’s attempts to make sense of the puzzling bits of the information she has uncovered leads to a stunning secret that has remained hidden for decades.

In 1939, Rill’s experiences with Georgia Tate and her illegal adoptions are absolutely horrendous. Rill’s chapters begin right before they are taken from their parents until she is placed with an adoptive family. Conditions at the children’s home are appalling and she and her siblings are subject to all types of abuse.  Rill is surprisingly resilient although she continues to feel extremely guilty over not being able to keep her family together.

In Before We Were Yours, Lisa Wingate seamlessly weaves past and present into a compelling and informative novel that is poignant yet also heartwarming. The chapters which follow Rill and her siblings after Georgia Tate wrenches them from their parents are heartbreaking but highly illuminating as they shine a much needed light on a horrendous adoption scandal.  Although these chapters are dark and the children’ experiences are heartrending, Rill is a resourceful young girl who never lets her tragic past define her.  Avery’s investigation into the link between Grandma Judy and May is  life-altering and in the aftermath of her discovery, she rethinks what she wants out of life.

Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate is a thought-provoking and captivating novel. The characters are vibrantly developed and incredibly life-like.  The storyline is impeccably researched and the chapters easily flow from one time period into the next. I absolutely loved and highly recommend this thoroughly engrossing and informative novel.


Filed under Ballantine Books, Before We Were Yours, Contemporary, Historical (30s), Historical (40s), Lisa Wingate, Rated A+, Recommended Read, Review, Women's Fiction

Review: The Last Road Home by Danny Johnson

Title: The Last Road Home by Danny Johnson
Publisher: Kensington
Genre: Historical (’50s, ’60s & ’70s), Literary Fiction
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: A+ & A Recommended Read

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


From Pushcart Prize nominee Danny Johnson comes a powerful, lyrical debut novel that explores race relations, first love, and coming-of-age in North Carolina in the 1950s and ’60s.

At eight years old, Raeford “Junebug” Hurley has known more than his share of hard lessons. After the sudden death of his parents, he goes to live with his grandparents on a farm surrounded by tobacco fields and lonesome woods. There he meets Fancy Stroud and her twin brother, Lightning, the children of black sharecroppers on a neighboring farm. As years pass, the friendship between Junebug and bright, compassionate Fancy takes on a deeper intensity. Junebug, aware of all the ways in which he and Fancy are more alike than different, habitually bucks against the casual bigotry that surrounds them–dangerous in a community ruled by the Klan.

On the brink of adulthood, Junebug is drawn into a moneymaking scheme that goes awry–and leaves him with a dark secret he must keep from those he loves. And as Fancy, tired of saying yes’um and living scared, tries to find her place in the world, Junebug embarks on a journey that will take him through loss and war toward a hard-won understanding.

At once tender and unflinching, The Last Road Home delves deep into the gritty, violent realities of the South’s turbulent past, yet evokes the universal hunger for belonging.


The Last Road Home is a heartbreakingly poignant coming of age novel that takes place in rural North Carolina in the years leading up the Civil Rights Movement. This powerful debut by Danny Johnson is a realistic portrayal of race relations and farm life that is incredibly relevant in today’s volatile climate where racism, bigotry and hatred are sadly once again on the rise.

After eight year old Raeford “Junebug” Hurley’s parents are killed in a car accident, he goes to live full-time with his grandparents on their tobacco farm. Junebug is deeply influenced by his surprisingly forward thinking grandparents who do not share their fellow Southerners prejudices and he forms a close friendship with Lightning and Fancy, the children of sharecroppers from a nearby farm.  Unlike his grandparents whose faith is unshakeable, he does not view his religious teachings as absolute truth and as he endures loss after loss, he is pretty much done with religion. Although his relationship with Lightning becomes tense off and on throughout the years, Junebug and Fancy always remain close therefore it is no surprise to those closest to them when their friendship deepens into forbidden love. With the ugly specter of the Ku Klux Klan looming over them and the harsh reality of the hatred that surrounds them, is Junebug and Fancy’s relationship doomed to fail?

Despite the losses he has endured and the sometimes cruel nature of farm living, Junebug is a sensitive, kindhearted and thoughtful young man. He thinks for himself and he is lucky to have grandparents who allow him the freedom to question the injustices that occur around them. Although he is accustomed to the racial slurs and epitaphs of his neighbors, Junebug never allows other people’s prejudices to sway him and he is angered by the bigotry that is so deeply ingrained in Southern culture. Even with his grandmother’s thoughtful explanation of why people are unable to let the past go, Junebug refuses to accept racism as the status quo and he will not give up his friendship with Fancy, Lightning and their parents.

Junebug’s innocence is endearing but it is inevitable that his life and friendship will eventually be touched by the ugliness of his neighbors and the Klan. Through his friendship with Fancy, he experiences firsthand the harsh reality of segregation and Jim Crow laws. Junebug naively believes his relationship with Fancy will go unnoticed by those around him and while they do not flaunt their liaison, it is only a matter of time before someone uncovers the truth about them. Fancy is much more realistic about their future than Junebug and she makes a decision that irrevocably changes Junebug’s life.

Written in first person from Junebug’s point of view, The Last Road Home is a realistic depiction of life in the South and while some of the content is difficult to read, it is a heartwrenchingly honest representation of the time period. While it would be nice to believe these dark days are behind us, recent events indicate that racism, prejudice and hatred are alive and well and now extend well beyond Southern borders. This debut novel by Danny Johnson highlights a horrifying and shameful period in American history that should never be forgotten or repeated.

An absolutely outstanding piece of literary fiction that should be on EVERYONE’S reading list.

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Filed under 1950s-1970s, Danny Johnson, Historical, Kensington, Literary Fiction, Rated A+, Recommended Read, Review, The Last Road Home