Publication date: 8th February, 2021.
For readers of The Help, Orphan Train and Before We Were Yours comes a heartbreaking and inspirational novel about redemption, family secrets and the spirit of survival found at the hardest time.
Montgomery, Alabama, 1955
On a cold December evening, Mattie Banks packs a suitcase and leaves her family home. Sixteen years old and pregnant, she has already made the mistake that will ruin her life and disgrace her widowed mother. Boarding the 2857 bus, she sits with her case on her lap, hoping that the driver will take her away from disaster. Instead, Mattie witnesses an act of bravery by a woman named Rosa Parks that changes everything. But as Mattie strives to turn her life around, the dangers that first led her to run are never far away. Forging a new life in a harsh world at constant risk of exposure, Mattie will need to fight to keep her baby safe.
Atlanta, Georgia, present day
Ashlee Turner is going home. Her relationship in ruins, her career held back by prejudice, she is returning to the family who have always been her rock. But Ashlee’s home is not the safe haven she remembers. Her beloved grandmother is dying and is determined to share her story before she leaves…
When Ashlee finds a stack of yellowing letters hidden in her nana’s closet, she can’t help the curiosity that compels her to read, and she uncovers an old secret that could wreak havoc on her already grieving family. As she tries to make sense of what she has learned, Ashlee faces a devastating choice: to protect her loved ones from the revelations, or honor her grandmother’s wishes and follow the path to the truth, no matter where it may lead.
This book is brilliant! It’s injustice; heartbreak; love; abuse of power; tenacity; fighting against the odds; and it’s a triumph as the story is incredibly captivating. I love how Rosa Parks’s iconic historical stand has such a profound effect on Mattie’s decisions and life.
There are two POV’s; Mattie’s and Ashlee’s. I was hooked on both in equal measures. The story unravelled at just the right pace and I couldn’t wait to find out how it was all going to end; so much so, I read it into the early hours.
I found myself in a perpetual state of anger at the injustice of how racist and misogynistic a society these characters were living in. I’m even more angry when I think that we still do in many ways and I feel that we should never stop challenging it. If ever there was a story that reminded a woman of the power and abuse of the patriarchy, this is it. I admire the themes tackled and unfortunately, their relevance today is just as strong. The fight to end racism and misogyny goes on.
This story is also heartwarming and heartbreaking in abundance. Ashlee and Mattie’s close-knit family made me smile and there are moments where a few tears were shed.
If you love a powerful, exceptionally told novel with strong and emotive themes that will have you clenching you’re fists, this is it! Excellent top read!
Thanks for reading!
Why not check out one of my other reviews? Maybe you’ll find your perfect read.
The Newlyweds by Arianne Richmonde- review. https://griffbuck.wordpress.com/2021/02/01/the-newlyweds-by-arianne-richmonde-review/
Carla Kovach – author of Amazon and iBooks bestselling DI Gina Harte crime series.