I am an eclectic reader with preferences for crime/thriller/suspense, historical fiction, literature and contemporary fiction. For more books and other bookish posts visit my blog at Ciska's Book Chest
*Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book on Netgalley from the publisher in return for an honest review*
Betty Jewel Hughes was once the hottest black jazz singer in Memphis. But when she finds herself pregnant and alone, she gives up her dream of being a star to raise her beautiful daughter, Billie, in Shakerag, Mississippi. Now, ten years later, in 1955, Betty Jewel is dying of cancer and looking for someone to care for Billie when she's gone. With no one she can count on, Betty Jewel does the unthinkable: she takes out a want ad seeking a loving mother for her daughter.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, recently widowed Cassie Malone is an outspoken housewife insulated by her wealth and privileged white society. Working part-time at a newspaper, she is drawn to Betty Jewel through her mysterious ad. With racial tension in the South brewing, the women forge a bond as deep as it is forbidden. But neither woman could have imagined the gifts they would find in each other, and in the sweet young girl they both love with all their hearts.
Elaine Hussey is a writer, actress and musician who likes to describe herself as “Southern to the bone.” She lives in Mississippi, where her love of blues and admiration for the unsung heroes of her state’s history served as inspiration for The Sweetest Hallelujah.
I enjoyed reading this book but it failed to leave a big emotional impression though all the ingredients where there. But there where so many situations to take in that the speed of the story did not really allow me to drown in the sadness of it all. In a way this was pleasant, I do not really like books that make me cry every other page on the other hand I did feel like I missed out on something.
This is a book about strong woman. All of them learn to survive in their own way. I for sure would not want to be a man in their life because the pictures I got from the men involved was not really nice. Only Tiny Jim could get some credit but not to much. I really loved how all the characters had their own thing that made them stand out. Queen is the person gluing all the other characters together with food, prayer and wise lessons. I really loved her and was really able to connect with her. Betty Jewel and Cassie felt the same to me, both convinced the world is supposed to be a better place. For me they where a bit too alike to see them as really separate characters. With Billy I had some trouble with her age against her behavior she did not always feel as a ten year old but mostly younger. What I did like was that while the story was developing she was changing which became more clear in her behavior towards her best friend Lucy. She already had more spunk that her best friend but at the end of the story it was clear she had been trough much more emotionally than Lucy and that made her a bit older.
I need to give Elaine Hussey a compliment for not letting the many situations she touched in her story distract her from her main story.
The Sweetest Hallelujah
Author: Elaine Hussey
Publisher: Harlequin MIRA
Harlequin MIRA: trade Paperback