Sunday, December 30, 2012
My latest read is Mudbound by Hillary Jordan. You might recognize this author from my previous post about the book When She Woke. These two books could not be more different in their themes or setting.
Mudbound takes us to 1940s rural Mississippi. Henry and Laura McAllen move to Mississippi from Tennessee in order to fulfill Henry's dream of being a farm owner. Along with them comes their two young daughters and Henry's father, who is nothing but mean and nasty to everyone. Laura is less than thrilled to be leaving her fancy city life in Tennessee to a farm house in Mississippi without indoor plumbing or any of the common luxuries she took for granted.
After the war, Henry's younger brother Jamie returns from the war and goes to live on the farm. Once he enters the scene, the plot thickens. Jamie becomes friends with another ex-solider, Ronsel Jackson, a tenant on Henry's farm. Ronsel's parents are sharecroppers and his mother is Laura's housekeeper. Ronsel was one of the first black men to serve on the front lines in the Army. When he returns to Mississippi, he soon realizes that racial prejudices have not changed. He isn't allowed to use the front door of public buildings, ride in the front seat of the car with a white person, or be friends with white people. Ronsel and Jamie bond about the war and the difficulties of being back in Mississippi. They break all of the rules and Jamie's father, Pappy, is less than thrilled about it. He threatens Ronsel and forbids their friendship. One day, Pappy finds evidence that Ronsel has been with a white woman and violence ensues.
Laura, alone and unhappy, begins to fall in love with her husband's brother, Jamie. She lusts after him and her husband may or may not notice. She sticks up for Jamie's recklessness and drinking problem that developed as part of PTSD from the war. He begins to notice Laura's unhappiness with living on the farm...
This book was a very quick read. I enjoyed the story and recommend it to everyone who enjoys this genre. The only thing that I would have liked better was more character development. That is also something that I was missing in Jordan's other book. There are many things that I was left wondering about the characters... I was left craving more descriptions about their thoughts and personalities. I give it 4/5 stars for plot. It was a very entertaining book and a must read.