Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cottonwood Whispers-Jennifer Erin Valen

Cottonwood Whispers
Jennifer Erin Valen
Tyndale, Sep 1 2009, $12.99
ISBN: 9781414333267

In 1936 in Calloway seventeen years old Jessilyn Lassiter has two goals for this summer. First she hopes to find work and second prays Luke tally notices her after four years of unrequited love. Jessilyn also worries about her best friend, black Gemma Teague hanging with Joel Hadley, as he is trouble.

In a hit and run someone runs over little Callie. The townspeople are shocked and want the culprit lynched. Gemma reveals some information she has to Jessilyn and Luke that might save the life of an innocent man. However, her word as a black means nothing against that of white man especially one who is rich and influential.

This is an interesting Depression Era southern thriller focusing on vigilante justice. The story line is character driven as the white mob wants to lynch elderly black Mr. Poe while Jessilyn tries to avert a second tragedy as she knows an innocent man will die, but finds no easy answers not even when she begs for divine intervention as her faith is waning. Fans will appreciate this deep historical tale that remains relevant today for instance with the health care debate as Jennifer Erin Valen provides readers with a strong character driven plot as people draw false conclusions in spite of contrary evidence.

Harriet Klausner

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