Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Coming of Age Story in the Turbulent South of the “70s


Mudas Summers is approaching her seventeenth birthday. Her parents are divorced, and she lives with her father, but she and her mother have a special relationship. On the eve of her birthday, she visits her mother to show off her birthday present, a new Mustang. The next morning her mother is found hanging from the rafters in her house. The sheriff wants to call it suicide, but Mudas knows her mother wouldn't commit suicide.

Her mother's suicide parallels the hanging of a slave, Frannie Crow, in 1860. Frannie's mistress claimed that Frannie poisoned her, but it was a lie. From Frannie's gallows a Liar's Bench was built. Now people in town use the bench across from the courthouse, but often for telling lies.

Mudas is a believable character. Starting as a frightened seventeen-year-old, she grows into an adult trying to find out what happened to her mother. Mudas is helped by Bobby Marshal, a mixed-race boy. The town is not pleased with their relationship, but Mudas vows to defy the town.

The story is very Southern which includes the dialog, but without too much dialect. I though the author did a good job of portraying the racial tensions of the '70s without laboring the issue. It made the novel believable.

If you enjoy Southern fiction laced with history and a present day mystery, you may enjoy this book.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.