When the waiting list for Kathryn Stockett’s The Help was in the eight hundreds plus and those who read it wanted more of the same, it was easy to point them to the Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd or to this one, which I liked the very most. Sometimes unspeakable horror resides not just on the other side of town.
“The most powerful and also the most lyrical novel about race, racism, and denial in the American South since To Kill A Mockingbird….A story about knowing and not knowing, The Queen of Palmyra is finally a testament to the ultimate power of truth and knowledge, language and love.” (Lee Smith, author of ON AGATE HILL)
“Divert your reader and, and then “clobber” them, advised Flannery O’Connor. In this bold and brilliant book, Minrose Gwin diverts us with the affecting voice of a child and then clobbers us with the ugly truths of our collective past. I can almost hear O’Connor cheering.” (Sharon Oard Warner, author of Deep in the Heart)
“Florence’s abusive father sells burial insurance to black folks who can hardly afford it, and her beleaguered mother drinks as she bakes and sells cakes to shore up the family’s precarious finances. Amid the oppressive heat of summer in 1963 in the small town of Millwood, the neglected Florence is constantly shuttled between her grandparents and their longtime black maid, Zenie, with whom she meets Zenie’s niece, college student Eva Greene. When Eva begins selling burial insurance to pay for her education, simmering racial tensions erupt, and Florence becomes a witness to unspeakable crimes. First-novelist Gwin employs an offbeat, stream-of-consciousness style in this atmospheric depiction of racial hatred in the Deep South.” –Joanne Wilkinson (Booklist)