The Year of Jubilee

Tyndale House. Apr. 2023. 368p. ISBN 9781496475978. $26.99. CF
DEBUT Thirteen-year-old Grace Mockingbird hasn’t thought much about the differences between Black and white people in her rural Kentucky coal-mining town—at least not until her teacher mentions integration coming to the South next year. Although Grace’s father has Indigenous heritage, her mother is mostly concerned with keeping up appearances and belonging to the women’s social group whose members’ husbands often wear white KKK hoods on the weekend. Over the course of one unbearably hot and tumultuous summer, Grace’s impoverished life is turned upside down by personal family tragedy and the beginning stages of the civil rights movement. Each member of the Mockingbird family must decide what the right path is and if miracles are possible.
VERDICT In her adult fiction debut (a semi-autobiographical novel), singer/songwriter Morgan (How Could I Ask for More: Stories of Blessings, Battles, and Beauty) highlights the hardscrabble life of the 1960s working poor. Fans of classic coming-of-age stories such as To Kill a Mockingbird or A Tree Grows in Brooklyn will enjoy this unflinching tale of an American family longing for a “Year of Jubilee,” where debts are forgiven and captives are set free.
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