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Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

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Currently reading: The Farm at the Edge of the World by Sarah Vaughan
Interest in HF: The first historical novel I read was Katherine by Anya Seton and this sparked off my interest in this genre.
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Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

Post by Vanessa » Thu May 21st, 2009, 7:56 am


When Henry McAllan moves his city-bred wife, Laura, to a cotton farm in the Mississippi Delta in 1946, she finds herself in a place both foreign and frightening. Henry's love of rural life is not shared by Laura, who struggles to raise their two young children in an isolated shotgun shack under the eye of her hateful, racist father-in-law. When it rains, the waters rise up and swallow the bridge to town, stranding the family in a sea of mud. As the Second World War shudders to an end, two young men return from Europe to help work the farm. Jamie McAllan is everything his older brother Henry is not and is sensitive to Laura's plight, but also haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the farm, comes home from war with the shine of a hero, only to face far more dangerous battles against the ingrained bigotry of his own countrymen. These two unlikely friends become players in a tragedy on the grandest scale.

My Thoughts:

I found this a compelling, thought provoking and moving story. An excellent debut novel.

It is told in the form of multiple narratives and I really got a feel for each individual personality, that of two brothers, a wife, and three farm tenants. I also got a good sense of how evil and bigoted the grandfather, 'Pappy', was even though he was not one of the narrators. The author has portrayed the characters so very well.

This is a book about love, hate, racism and small-mindedness. It gives a fantastic insight into life on the Mississippi Delta in the 1940s and vividly describes the racism which occurred at that time. In fact, I was quite horrified even though I was aware of what happened back then.

I was totally gripped by this book and found it hard to put down. It's a page turner with a shocking, powerful and poignant conclusion.

Highly recommended.

Rating: 5/5
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Books are mirrors, you only see in them what you already have inside you ~ The Shadow of the Wind

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Post by EC2 » Fri May 22nd, 2009, 7:39 pm

Thanks for the review Vanessa. One for my TBR. :)
Les proz e les vassals
Souvent entre piez de chevals
Kar ja li coard n’I chasront

'The Brave and the valiant
Are always to be found between the hooves of horses
For never will cowards fall down there.'

Histoire de Guillaume le Mareschal


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Post by diamondlil » Sat May 23rd, 2009, 10:59 am

I read this book last year and liked it a lot. It was very moving and compelling.
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Post by Ash » Sat May 23rd, 2009, 11:15 am

I read this last month for a book group. Totally agree with your review. I was gripped from the first few pages, and could barely put it down. For those of us who do not remember the Jim Crow days, it was another reminder of just how horrid every day life was for minorities, and a reminder of just how far our country has come. Very well written; there was not a moment when it felt slow or cumbersom. I even liked the ending (usually my biggest complaint about a book: its either stretched out too long, or its overly pat. This one gave us a glimmer of hope, but was very open ended. Amazing debut, looking forward to her next one!

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Post by MedievalBookworm » Tue May 26th, 2009, 9:27 pm

This one is on my wishlist. I can't wait to read it. Thanks for the review. =)

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