Mary Swan Middleton has always taken for granted the advantages of her family's wealth. But a tragedy that touches all
of Atlanta sends her reeling in grief. When the family maid challenges her to reach out to the less fortunate as a way to ease her own pain, Mary Swan meets Carl--and everything changes. For although Carl is her opposite in nearly every way, he has something her privileged life could not give her. And when she seeks his help to uncover a mystery, she learns far more than she ever could have imagined.
This beautiful story of a young girl coming of age in the midst of racial turmoil and personal tragedy in 1960s Atlanta convincingly describes how religious faith satisfies the girl's deepest longings. Sixteen-year-old Mary Swan Middleton is white, wealthy and privileged "We are, of course, another fine Atlanta family," she says sarcastically. As the novel opens, her artistic and depressed mother has just been killed in an air crash in Paris, leaving a slew of secrets behind. As Mary Swan unlocks the past, she wrestles with her grief over her mother's death and the direction of her own life. But "the Lawd don't neva' waste our pain," says her wise African-American maid, Ella Mae. When Mary Swan begins volunteering with the poor, she falls in love with a handsome black teen, Carl. As she works through her confusion about her feelings for him and her despair over her mother, she finds her true calling as a painter and reformulates her preconceived ideas about race and faith. This creative novel is highly descriptive but not overdone, brimming with touches of humor, factual Atlanta settings, historical incidents and well-developed characters. Some tightening of overlong passages would have accelerated the pace, and the novel would stand on its own more effectively without the introduction and the epilogue, which mostly function as advertisements for a sequel. But these are minor glitches in a book that stands out in recent Christian fiction for its excellent writing and overall quality.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Great story and characters. Historical Christian fiction done right!
The book kept me interested but I was expecting more to happen. Also, it was heavy on religion in parts so I found myself skipping portions.
I read this for a book club. I liked the story and the issues it raised. The issues of prejudice and segregation resound in today's world. The ending was a little schmaltzy, but it was fairly well written up to that point. It also gets pretty heavy handed with the Jesus stuff, but I enjoyed the book even as a nonChristian.