My rating: 5 of 5 stars
By now, I know that when I pick up a novel written by Cat Winters, it means I'm going to love it. She's got an uncanny way of taking readers back into our unsettling past, and totally hooking them into the story.
It's 1923 and Hanalee Denney lives in the small town of Elston, Oregon. She's just like every other teenage girl: enjoys spending time with her best friend, loves to sketch, is keen to learn, and wants to become a lawyer. But she's different because she's the daughter of a white woman and an African American man. A union that isn't accepted by everyone--including the law--and has always singled her out in a crowd.
Now that the boy who is responsible for her father's death three years earlier has been released from jail, she wants some answers. But what she finds isn't what she was expecting, because Joe Adder isn't who everyone claimed he was. And her father's death isn't as straightforward as the law made it out to be.
Throw in her father's wandering ghost, a good dose of suspicion about her stepfather, losing faith in her mother, and the stronghold of the disgusting Ku Klux Klan into the mix, and it's sure to deliver a Hamlet style mystery that will lead Hanalee on the very dangerous road to solving a terrible small town cover-up...
This book is awesome!
I was instantly hooked into Hanalee and Joe's story. And as the truth starts to unfold, I just couldn't put it down. I was swept away by what was happening and what it really revealed about Elston. These characters--even the awful ones--are all SO well written. Everyone plays their part in a terrible crime that is blamed on a very convenient scapegoat.
This story is rich with atmosphere, scenes that get your heart racing, appalling truths, and so much heart. I love how well this deals with uncomfortable historical situations that modern man seems so determined to keep repeating. So, just like all her other books, I got really angry with some of the things that happened to Hanalee and Joe, but absolutely loved the story.
Oh, and there are some very cool historical photos and information added throughout the book. There are two things you can count on with a book written by this author: the story will be awesome, and the actual book will be beautiful.
I borrowed this from the library, but just like her other books, I'll be buying a copy for myself.