Leola is a hard working woman with dreams in the 1910’s living in East Texas. Her family are surviving until her father loses his arm in a work accident. His ability to provide for and support his family disappears and his mental health suffers. He gets an opportunity to work in Houston and he leaves the girls hoping he can get established and send for them. Leola never sees him again. When her mother dies of fever, she and her sisters are forced into an orphanage. We know she survives because alternating chapters are of her late years, living with her daughter, still trying to cope with the disappearance of her father.
In this story, we get not only a slice of rarely described history but an understanding of the role of women and racial relations in the time. Leola faces the KKK, an abusive orphanage manager, illness, challenges in socioeconomic status and life in a biracial relationship. Through it all Leola is hopeful and principled and often challenges her own thinking and preconceived notions. I was rooting for her and her family the whole way. This is a lovely piece of historical fiction, that we learn has some basis in the author’s own family history.
Thanks to Booksparks for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.
How far back have you looked in your own family’s history? Any interesting stories?