Picture it: Rudell, Mississippi, 1927. Cora Harvey, blessed with an incredible voice, that has only been used to give praise to God, has no home and no parents after they are tragically killed. She is left with nothing but a dream. A dream to see something more in the world than the narrow, segregated confines of Rudell. Nothing that is, except a man who loves her more than life itself. A man who loves her enough to let her go to pursue her dreams of making it big in Chicago.
Cora, however, is like a fish out of water on the mean streets of Chi-town. After a vicious and horrific encounter with her white employer, Cora returns to Rudell, and David, wanting to do nothing more than to put the horrible past behind her. Fate, however, decides to play a cruel trick on not only Cora, but her daughter Emma as well.
Emma, who has been blessed or cursed, depending on how you choose to look at it, to look nothing like her mother or her people. Deciding to 'cross-over' Emma leaves everything she has ever known in too-small, too narrow-minded Rudell to make it in New York, hoping to never been scorned for looking 'different.' There, after meeting the man of HER dreams, she also fights to forget her painful past. That is, until it also rears its head, in the form of her daughter, whom she practically drops on her mother's doorstep. Emma's been to the other side of the mountain and is determined to stay there, even at her daughter's expense. She doesn't even stick around long enough to give her child a name.
Parris, so named by her grandmother Cora, heals many wounds for Cora and David. Parris has also been blessed with her grandmother's incredible voice and restless feet, and unknowingly follows her mother's footstep by moving to New York. There she meets the man who could be her one and only, except he's got some skeltons of his own rattlin' 'round the closet. However, just when she is poised to fulfill those dreams not only for herself but also for her grandmother, events call her back home to Rudell. What she learns there could change her life forever.
Donna Hill has written a wonderful book with richly drawn characters. Her descriptions of Rudell will have you almost tasting the dust in the air, swatting the gnats away from your face and smelling some of that great down home cooking! It will make you smile and wish for a small community that knows everybody (and their business) but when needed, they are there for one another. I enjoyed this book from cover to cover, and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a book that shows strength, wisdom and courage!