Saturday, July 11, 2009

Book Reviews: The Mudbound Garden

I've only got two books to tell you about today but they're both excellent so you're getting quality, if not quantity!

The Forgotten Garden, Kate Morton
I ordered this book to fill out a $25 order on amazon and it was well worth it. The Forgotten Garden is like The Secret Garden for grownups. Part mystery, partly the tale of two very different women, this book sucked me in from the start. It's set in both Australia and England, in the present day, the 1970s, and the turn of the century. In 1913 a young girl arrives in Australia on a ship from England and no one is there to claim her. She has only a small suitcase to identify herself. Years later she, and then her granddaughter, try to piece together her family's story. It's a long book but I tore through it in just a few days because I couldn't put it down!

Mudbound, Hillary Jordan
I read a glowing review of this debut novel so I checked it out of the library without really knowing what to expect. I was completely blown away. Set in post-WWII Mississippi, it tackles the racism that was rampant in the American south even after black soldiers returned from the war. A white family buys a rural farm which has tenant farmers, among them a well-educated (for the time) black family whose oldest son has just returned from Europe. The dynamics between the men and women, blacks and whites, and various classes are fascinating. The plot slowly picks up tempo until you are left breathless at the finish. When I closed the back cover I had to just sit for a few minutes, digest what had happened, and slowly return to the present day. Amazing.

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