This has got to be one of my favorite historical novels. Even though it's fiction and the people might not have existed, A. LaFaye does a fantastic job of making them come to life in the imagination of the reader. I especially like that she didn't try and hide how racism really was in the south during 1866. I think that's something that all historical authors need to do more of. You can't just water down what happened. If I want to read about the past I'm going to read about all the past not just what people think is appropriate about it. Racism was and still is a big issue in the world today, not just the Southern States. I'm happy someone wrote a book about this that shows what happened and what we have to be grateful about.
Stella: An amazingly strong girl character. I think she seems that much stronger because of the times that she lives. I don't think I could have been a woman in the 1800s. She has to be strong enough to make people realize that just because she's young and a woman/girl doesn't mean she doesn't know what she's talking about. Hell she manages to take care of a whole plantation on her own. I also loved that the way she was raised makes her such a different person. The way she treats Hattie makes me smile.
Hattie: Definitely Stella's best friend although she is just as lady like as any lady, she isn't worried about being seen with the wild child, Stella. I think that she is the reason that Stella gets along with so many people so well because Hattie does the talking for her. Really they just understand each other completely, like sisters really more than best friends.
Stella's Daddy: Although he died before the book takes place, I think it's fair to mention him. He's the reason that all those families' on the Oak Grove Plantation. It's impressive that he thought of the workers as his equals, never mind that he works beside them. A true hero of his times.
Mr. Dooley: I thought he was a coward for sure at first but in the end he really just had his own way of thinking and after he saw how well it was working Stella's Daddy's way why change it? I'm happy he ended up staying as I think Stella needed an adult figure in her life. Someone to help her do some school work (not too much I hope, just enough) and take care of her.
Miss Rosie: I felt so horrible that she had lost those 3 boys and Earl, her first husband. They had no right to just take her away from her family like that. It made me so mad just to see that.
Mr. Vinson: One of my favorite characters, simply because he really does stand by Stella as much as possible.
Moments to Remember:
"...I could almost see Daddy walking out to lean on the casing and have a look-see at the moon. I'd have walking up to him, leaned on his hip, so he could put his arm more than a big old rock caught in the pull of the earth.
'Kind of like this!' he'd say, grabbing my arms and swinging me around as he spun a tight circle in the dirt. Faster and faster we'd go until he let my hands free and I went flying, landing in the hay in the yard.
'My heavens, the moond done got away,' he'd say and we'd laugh."
"'And if folks would listen to me, they'd send you away like they should've done long ago.'
She meant one of them hospital sort of places where they locked folks away for not having what they called a 'right' mind. What I wanted to know is why they didn't have places for folks who weren't right in the heart."
"Okra tasted like spit in a squeaky green jacket to me, but Mama did know how to cook just about anything. Even got me to eat spinach once. But just once."
"Didn't know how to work with him. Seemed like I'd have to act like all them other girls in dresses and turned-down eyes, all 'yes, sir'-'no, sire' proper. That'd kill me as sure as a shovel to the head."
Thanks for reading,