A haunting tale of family, friendship, injustice, resilience, and hope…
In her evocative latest, the award-winning Jay takes a fascinating look at the interplay of social upheavals in Georgia in early 1920s as she tells the story of a young girl’s struggles to reunite with her family. When Willow Stewart, fifteen-year-old mute Appalachian, left her homestead to find a traveling preacher and her older brother, Briar Stewart, she had no idea about the difficulties the fate was going to throw her way. After a peddler kidnaps her, she escapes only to face an unjust arrest and penal servitude. Meanwhile, Briar is serving time on a chain gang with four months left. Soon, the brother and sister duo find themselves pit against a ruthless system where honesty and integrity doesn’t stand a chance. Alternating between three voices, the narrative flows at a swift pace, following the interwoven story lines of Willow, Briar, and Ardith Dobbs. Jay’s writing is vivid, and though Briar and Ardith’s chapters are deeply engrossing, Willow’s narrative presents the novel’s most moving scenes, featuring the social bias toward Appalachians and physically disabled. Her endearing bond with Briar is one of the novel’s highlights. Willow makes for a memorable protagonist, and her harrowing journey represents hope for the downtrodden. Jay remarkably depicts everyday life in the Appalachians, women’s role in KKK, and discrimination against women in general and Black and Appalachian population, but perhaps best of all is her vivid portrayal of remarkable Georgia setting. Lovers of women’s fiction and historical fiction won’t want to miss this page-turner.
Note: This title is free on Kindle Unlimited.
It Happened in Silence
By Karla M. Jay
Book Circle Press
Price $2.01 (USD) Kindle edition, $12.50 paperback