Brown demonstrates her incredible breadth of talent and versatility with this touching tearjerker. A quiet, tender story, it conveys the harshness of the South during the Great Depression. Brown tackles significant issues, including single, working motherhood; dealing with a child with unique challenges and racial brutality. Yet the reader is uplifted: Who would want to miss the beauty of such a story, just because everything isn't seen through rose-colored glasses?
Since her husband left her, Ella Barron has run her boardinghouse with a strong hand and hard work. Her son, Solly, isn't like other children, and caring for him takes time and energy. When the town's doctor asks her to take in a new boarder, David Rainwater, Ella reluctantly agrees.
Mr. Rainwater is a quiet, handsome man who changes her life in ways she never imagined. Even as he fights his own demons, he opens his heart to her son and, in turn, Ella discovers the sweetness of love that has been missing in her life. When hatred and violence erupt in town, he stands firm in his resolve to do what is right, even if it means the ultimate sacrifice. (SiMON AND SCHUSTER, Nov., 256 pp., $23.99)