Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I fell in love with The Healing by Jonathan Odell a few years ago. You can read my review *here*. I enjoyed it so much that I almost immediately ordered a copy of Odell's first book The View From Delphi and then I didn't get around to reading it. Fortunately, I was able to read the new rendering of his previous novel, Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League.
Miss Hazel and her husband Floyd arrive in Delphi, Mississippi newly married and determined to make their fortune. At least Floyd is determined. Until Floyd brings home a new Lincoln for his wife, Hazel feels like she's just along for the ride. Finding a bit freedom and peace, Hazel dresses up; packs her two young boys in the back seat and becomes famous for driving through town and all over the delta.
Hazel has trouble fitting in with the well bred ladies in town who see her as tacky nouveau riche and suffers from depression. After the death of her son, she drowns her sorrows in alcohol and soon finds herself nearly a prisoner in her own home when Floyd hires Vida to be her maid and make sure she takes her medicine. Vida, a young black woman, has also lost a son and harbors a deep vendetta against the crooked sheriff. The two women form an unlikely alliance as they stir things up in the already the troubled racial climate of Delphi.
Odell's characters come to life within the pages of his novel. Hazel and Vida are troubled, complex women who experience dynamic growth and react in believable ways to the sorrows and devastation in their lives. Every person feels real and not simply type cast supporting characters. They are richly developed and all their lives blend together to create the drama, tension and history familiar to those from a small town.
The pages of Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League are filled with beautiful images and hauntingly lyrical words. Odell is a master of writing and of understanding human temperament and desires. He excels at telling inspiring stories that captivate the reader with a myriad of powerful emotions.
Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League is a beautiful and important novel. If it's possible, I may have loved it even more than I loved The Healing.
Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League by Jonathan Odell is published by Maiden Lane Press and released in January 2015.
**I received a complimentary copy of Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League. No other compensation was received. All opinions are my own.**
Posted by Cindi at 12:52 PM