The Last Ballad by Wiley Cash

The Last Ballad

The author of the celebrated bestseller A Land More Kind Than Home returns with this eagerly awaited new novel, set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events, that chronicles an ordinary woman’s struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill, a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression and injustice, with the emotion...

Title:The Last Ballad
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The Last Ballad Reviews

  • Cheri

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!

    "A Mill Mother's Lament" – Ella May Wiggins

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!

    "A Mill Mother's Lament" – Ella May Wiggins

    Ella May has just started her shift when she is called to the office of American Mill No. 2, where she sits on a bench watching the young secretary with her polished, perfect nails and her perfect blue dress reading a new book, laughing, as though she hasn’t a care in the world.

    Ella’s hands lay on her stomach, which fluttered from the movement within. Another child. Her husband, father of her children Lily, Otis, Rose and Wink, had left shortly after their newborn son Willie had died of whooping cough disease, taking with him all their money, and the only photograph of the three of and of Lily as an infant. What she wouldn’t give to see that picture once again, that perfect face of her newborn daughter.

    Charlie had arrived one day as if he were carried in with the wind, she was equally sure that he’d leave someday the same way. She knew he never wanted children of his own. She knew the child she was carrying would not be welcome news, and so she kept her news to herself.

    When she is called in to Goldberg’s office for missing her last night’s shift, she explains her little girl had been sick, that she’d asked to be put on the day shift when her coughing wasn’t as bad, but it isn’t a valid reason in his eyes.

    Walking two miles to and two miles from work on top of the six day work week of twelve hour days should leave you with something more than sheer exhaustion, it should leave you with enough money to feed your children, keep them clothed, to provide some small comfort and shelter, but it is barely enough to keep them alive, with many days where they just do without.

    So when she sees a leaflet about the Union, she begins to feel a ray of hope, a possibility of a better life not just for herself, but also for all the people who are her neighbors in Stumptown, for everyone. She may be the only white woman living there, her children the only white children living there, with an older male being the only other white person in Stumptown, but these are her people. She works in the only mill whose employees are both black and white, their story is all the same, they are all the same: underpaid, overworked, underprivileged. A union might offer hope for them all, regardless of the colour of their skin.

    There are many tales to be told, many voices to be heard, Ella May, and Lily, now elderly, among other voices. It is a beautifully shared story of one woman’s struggle to be heard on an issue that seems to loom large in today’s news. Basic rights for all people.

    Based on the Loray Mill strike of 1929 in Gastonia, North Carolina, and the real life story of Ella May Wiggins, telling the story of the lyrics she wrote for her songs and how those lyrics, these songs became a part of that struggle for basic human rights for all.

    Beautiful and heart wrenching, this story radiates hope despite devastating loss, despite the violence used to eliminate those who bring hope to the world. Most of us can’t imagine a life like Ella May’s life, but it happened all the time.

    I’ve read Wiley Cash’s “A Land More Kind Than Home” and “This Dark Road to Mercy” – both of which I thoroughly enjoyed, but

    reached into my heart and grabbed hold. This will definitely be one of my favourite books of this year.

    Highly recommended.

    Pub Date: 3 Oct 2017

    Many thanks for the ARC provided by HarperCollins / William Morrow Publishers

  • Diane S ☔

    What would you do if you were in your late twenties, already have had four children and now a new one on the way. Your husband has left you, you are now poor and alone, living in a shack in the black section of town. You, yourself are not black nor are your children, but they have proven to be wonderful friends, one named Violet you call your best friend. In order to feed your children, you work at a textile mill, 60-70 hour work weeks, making only nine dollars a week. Then you see flyers asking

    What would you do if you were in your late twenties, already have had four children and now a new one on the way. Your husband has left you, you are now poor and alone, living in a shack in the black section of town. You, yourself are not black nor are your children, but they have proven to be wonderful friends, one named Violet you call your best friend. In order to feed your children, you work at a textile mill, 60-70 hour work weeks, making only nine dollars a week. Then you see flyers asking people to protest, strike and join a Union. They promise many things, better pay, shorter hours, better working conditions, and for Ella Mae she sees this as possibly her only chance to better herself and children. The year is 1929, in the Carolinas and there are many textile mill, blacks and whites both work at the mills but in separate areas or separate floors. What would you do?

    My father was a Union worker, my husband worked Union for over forty years. We supported Union stores, I have only been in a Walmart three times, Aldis, once. I knew what a struggle these early supporters faced, but never to the extent highlighted in this book. Ella Mae is a strong character, her life incredibly hard. We hear from many different characters in alternating chapters, all either fighting for the right to unionize, both black and white, or involved with those against the Unions or mill owners themselves. We get a broad view, see all sides. Parts are heartbreaking, parts show how falsely things were painted, and parts show how quickly things can get out of hand. This author is a marvel, I love how he puts his stories together, they are always informative and heartfelt, full of truths. My one complaint is that I felt one revelation made early in the book would have had more of an impact if held until later.

    As with all who in earlier years fought for our rights, in whatever way, we owe them a debt of gratitude. Unfortunately, I don't think we are done fighting for, or maintaining our rights, not with what I have seen on my television news this week, not with what is happening with individual rights in my country. Seems we go backwards instead of forward.

    ARC from William Morrow and Edelweiss.

    Released the beginning of October.

  • Karen❄️☃️

    Wonderful novel based on the true life of Ella Mae Wiggins, a poverty stricken mill worker at the Loray Mill in North Carolina, 1929. She helped to try and form a union, specially an integrated union in a time when people didn’t accept blacks.

    This woman had so much courage to leave her job to work on union matters when she had little ones at home that she could barely feed. Such a tragic story that touched my heart.

    I went online after finishing the book so I could see pictures of her and her ki

    Wonderful novel based on the true life of Ella Mae Wiggins, a poverty stricken mill worker at the Loray Mill in North Carolina, 1929. She helped to try and form a union, specially an integrated union in a time when people didn’t accept blacks.

    This woman had so much courage to leave her job to work on union matters when she had little ones at home that she could barely feed. Such a tragic story that touched my heart.

    I went online after finishing the book so I could see pictures of her and her kids.

  • Angela M

    Wiley Cash is a storyteller who captures both my mind and my heart. He has written three novels, three different stories but all bearing in common Wiley's beautiful writing as well as an uncanniness for depicting the human condition under circumstances that chill us as readers. His writing takes you exactly where he wants you to be - to the place, to the moment, into the thoughts of these characters. Each of his novels take place in North Carolina where he lives, but this one is broader in scop

    Wiley Cash is a storyteller who captures both my mind and my heart. He has written three novels, three different stories but all bearing in common Wiley's beautiful writing as well as an uncanniness for depicting the human condition under circumstances that chill us as readers. His writing takes you exactly where he wants you to be - to the place, to the moment, into the thoughts of these characters. Each of his novels take place in North Carolina where he lives, but this one is broader in scope than his first two. It's a work of historical fiction and more than a story of the south. It's a snapshot of a time in our country's past centering on the Loray Mill strike, a notable event in the history of organized labor in the United States in 1929, in which a woman named Ella May Wiggins played a major role.

    This may be a fictionalized account, but Cash brings to life the real Ella May. Ella May has had a hard life from her childhood to an early marriage at 16 to a man more interested in things other than taking care of his family to her working in horrible conditions in a mill for a pittance, struggling to feed her children. Not only does she want better pay and better, safer working conditions and a better life for her children, she wants it for her friends, her "colored" working friends and wants them to be able to rally and unionize.

    A second narrative 76 years later in 2005 is in the voice of Lilly, Ella's oldest daughter, now close to 90 years old. In a letter to her nephew Edwin, she tells him Ella May's story. Through Lilly, we come to know more about the family's hard life before the story opens. Then we are taken back to 1918 and 1929 through other narrative voices. Verchel Parks with connections to Ella and her husband when Lilly is born, Katherine McAdam, the wife of a mill owner and Hampton Hayward, a black train porter are among the most notable characters connected in some way to Ella.

    This is a beautifully written story, and it's sad. It is not just about one strong woman, but evocative of the strength and spirit of the real courageous people who took up the challenge to fight against injustice. At the end of my review of his first book A Land More Kind Than Home, I said that Wiley Cash was born to write . Now that I have read all three of his novels, I feel that way even more. Highly recommended to fans of his other books and to those who enjoy historical fiction. If you have not read Cash before but plan to, you're lucky to have these yet to read; I have to wait for his next one. 5 stars, without a doubt. Wiley Cash is on my list of favorite authors.

    I received an advanced copy of this book from William Morrow/HarperCollins and through Edelweiss.

  • Esil

    The Last Ballad is the first book I have read by Wiley Cash, but it won't be the last. I loved the topic, some of the characters and the story. It's based on the true story of Ella May Wiggins, who was a union organizer in North Carolina. From the beginning, we know that Ella May died young in 1929. Told through a number of characters, including Ella May, Cash gives a feel for the living and working conditions of people working in the cotton mills at that time. He also explores the class and rac

    The Last Ballad is the first book I have read by Wiley Cash, but it won't be the last. I loved the topic, some of the characters and the story. It's based on the true story of Ella May Wiggins, who was a union organizer in North Carolina. From the beginning, we know that Ella May died young in 1929. Told through a number of characters, including Ella May, Cash gives a feel for the living and working conditions of people working in the cotton mills at that time. He also explores the class and racial tensions in the area. I especially liked his depiction of Ella May, a white single mother of four living children, who is depicted as hard, smart and pragmatic. Unlike many of the other poor white people depicted, she has crossed the colour barrier, and lives amongst poor black people. Her fight for better working conditions and a union is a fight for all working people, but her views are not shared by all involved in the union movement. Some of the other characters seemed a bit extraneous and not fully developed, but this is a minor criticism. The Last Ballad was an excellent portrayal of a time and place, and its depiction was multidimensional. Cash clearly sympathizes with the union movement, but he isn't blind to some its flaws and tensions. Thank you to Edelweiss for giving me an opportunity to read an advance copy.

  • Will Byrnes

    Events and people have a way of disappearing when they do not suit the narrative favored by those who decide what is to be all

    Events and people have a way of disappearing when they do not suit the narrative favored by those who decide what is to be allowed into our history books. Unless there are powerful interests taking on the task of sustaining that history it can fade from our consciousness. For myself, it took until college for me to have any but the most primitive clue about the labor movement in the United States, who the players were, what it had achieved, and its relevance to my life. Wiley Cash grew up in Gastonia, North Carolina, and had an awareness of his familial history in the area, but it was not until he was an adult that he learned of one historical event in particular. The idea for the

    Cash has brought it back into the light.

    - image from WC’s GR page

    Ella May Wiggins was 28 years old. She had lost several children to whooping cough already, and worried about the brood that remained. Her husband had abandoned them long ago, and her current boyfriend was something less than reliable. She worked twelve-hour days, six days a week at a local textile mill in Bessemer City. Actually, she worked nights, leaving her children to the care of a friend, and the supervision of her eldest. She was a white woman living in the black part of town. Unless she was docked for doing something crazy, like staying home from work to be with a sick child, she brought home nine dollars a week. Even in 1929 no one could support a family on that.

    In April, 1929, at the Loray Mill in Gastonia, a few miles away, the workers had walked off the job for improved pay and working conditions, and union recognition. The governor sent in the National Guard to break the strike.

    The union tried to gain support from workers in other area mills, offering to transport folks to a planned rally. Ella had seen their leaflets, the union demands, and decided to attend.

    - image from Southern Cultures

    Transported to the rally by two women organizers, Ella is encouraged to tell her personal tale to the gathered group. She had been writing songs in the spare microseconds when she wasn’t struggling to keep herself and her family alive. She had a popular tune running through her head for a while and had been writing lyrics germane to the need for organizing to go with it. Ella addresses the crowd, sings her song, and kills. A star is born.

    We follow Ella’s dealings with the union organizers, her struggles to make them and not just the workers hear her voice. One of the interesting things about the book is that while the black and white of exploited workers vs dark-hearted owners and enforcers is given front stage, the novel is rich with nuance. One of the mill owners is shown not only taking pride in the industry his family had built, but also having a real interest in the welfare of his employees. Some of the union organizers are shown to be less than totally heroic. Even the police chief is shown to be someone you can talk to.

    One of the things that Cash does in his novels (this is his third) is portray strong female characters. Adelaide Lysle, in Cash’s first novel,

    , is one of the main people standing against a sinister force. Easter Quillby in

    is a pre-adolescent who shows remarkable courage and judgment coping with her orphan-hood and being abducted. Ella May, in this one, is not only a principled defender of and provider for her family. She finds an outlet for her larger strengths, her public speaking ability and musical talent, in union organizing, and runs with it. Another strong woman is shown having sacrificed her ambitions for a secure life but is searching for a way to regain herself. As some of the men in Cash’s prior work were of the opposite sort, weak, maybe corrupted, so it is here. One of his POVs is Verschel, a recovering alcoholic married to a domineering woman. Ella’s husband John is engaged in practices both illegal and immoral, not least of which is to abandon his family. Cash offers a range of strength in other characters, both male and female. One mill owner is shown in an understanding light. Even a union basher is shown to have a motivation, however misguided, based on an at least somewhat understandable desire.

    - Image from NCpedia.org

    Cash does a great job of showing how complicated a thing a strike is, the cat-herding aspect of trying to keep everyone on the same page. The challenge of getting, and protecting people, turf, and materials, while running a full-time PR operation. He also shows the impact of racism, weakening the potential strength of the union when joining together would have been the smart move.

    One element of the story is Ella May’s musicality. We are shown early on where she gets the melody for the tune she will sing at the union rally. In the American folk music tradition this was a very common practice. Consider that the Star Spangled Banner was originally an English drinking song.

    Her boyfriend even suggests she quit working at the mill and make a career out of music. But we are shown very little of this prior accomplishment. It is mostly by reference. The song she sings at the rally is what would be considered her greatest hit,

    , also sometimes seen as

    . I included in EXTRA STUFF links to a couple of performances by other artists. There are no recordings to be had of Ella May performing her songs.

    - image from Millican Pictorial History Museum

    The structure of the novel is to offer Ella as a central character, but to present several points of view on the events of the Loray strike. In this way, we meet the McAdams family, father Richard, a mill owner, his wife, Katherine, and their daughter, Claire. We follow a black Pullman porter, now an organizer, Hampton Haywood, as he confronts racism from supposed friends and foes alike. We even get a look from one of the lower level police sorts, eager to be of service, but lacking the judgment to be anything more than what he is.

    Also, there is a bit of time jumping, stepping back to 1918 for the perspective of a neighbor who encounters Ella and John when they moved to Cowpens, South Carolina, eleven years before the strike. We also meet one of Ella’s grown children in 2005, as she recalls the events of 1929.

    Gripes? Some. Cash shows the resistance the white workers manifest toward the black workers who come to the union rally. The impression is that they rejected this attempt at integration. But in the actual history, black members were indeed voted in to Ella May’s local union. I felt that there were maybe too many perspectives in play here, not all of which added a lot to the story. The pages used for the tale of the character called Brother might have been better used for the more central people.

    Fred Beal (holding child) with a group of strikers – image from Charlotte Observer

    But really, these are not major concerns. In an era when union membership is at a perilous low, an era in which the forces of ownership have successfully crushed most labor hopes, it is a refreshing reminder that people

    rise up,

    organize, and can, through joining together, not only improve their own working conditions, but offer inspiration to others to improve theirs as well. The Loray Mill strike was seen in the short term as a failure. Ownership and their political shills have rarely been reluctant to apply the state’s violence monopoly against those who oppose their wishes. Ella May was murdered for her efforts. But she inspired many to continue the struggle, even in the face of overwhelming force. Strikes rarely achieve all their aims. But even when they fail in the short term, sometimes longer term goals are advanced.

    is Wiley Cash’s strongest novel to date. He offers us insight into an important, if mostly forgotten, event in American history, a time, sadly, that has much in common with the world of the early twenty-first century. We could use more Ella Mays today. We could use more union organizing. With the nomination of an ultra-conservative senatorial candidate in Alabama, and the steady withdrawal from public life of the saner elected Republican officials, the rise of the Steve Bannons and Tea Party sorts in this country, the need to battle for labor rights has rarely been greater.

    But the political content would not be worth much if the story and the characters did not engage readers. Not to worry. Ella May is a relatable everywoman, spectacularly drawn. Plenty of the other characters are portrayed sufficiently to pull you in. Cash has a talent for offering just enough detail about a character to give you a rich image. You may not have heard of the Loray Mill Strike, or of Ella May Wiggins before, but when you read this book you will be grateful to Wiley Cash for filling in that gap in your knowledge. It is a powerful, content-rich, and very moving book.

    Review posted – September 29, 2017

    Publication – October 2, 2017

    =============================

    Links to the author’s

    ,

    and

    pages

    Interviews

    -----Charlotte Observer -

    - By Dannye Romine Powell

    -----Shepherd University -

    - By Brianna Maguire and Sylvia Bailey Shurbutt (who have done an amazing job)

    The strike was a big deal at the time. There were even six novels written within four years of the strike that dramatized elements of the conflict. They are known as

    – Sherwood Anderson

    – Olive Tilford Dargan

    – Grace Lumpkin

    – Myra Page

    – William Rollins, Jr.

    – Mary Heaton Vorse

    Ella took the melody from the song

    for

    Here is the

    version. And a

    , sung by a female, Yvonne Moore, with Mat Callahan on guitar, is quite good.

    The following lyrics were taken from

    -----NCPedia is a good source for information about the strike. Here are links to their articles on

    , one of the Loray Strike organizers, and another on

    -----A

    about the Loray Strike

    -----

    , Vol. 15, No 3 -

    - by Patrick Huber

    ----- It seemed to me that the hooch that one of the characters cooks up is a nod to the past of the region, one in which the abundant natural running water was used for produce booze before it became a power source for cotton mills.

  • Stephanie Anze

    Ella May Wiggins is a single mother to four children. Six days out of the week she a spinner at American Mill No. 2. Overworked and underpaid, Ella has no choice but to continue at this job that barely sustains her family. When the leaflets for the union start appearing at her work, she is intrigued and decides to attend a rally. Struck by the significance of the union on the mill workers, Ella joins up. It will be a decision that will alter her life and many more after her.

    What a remarkable boo

    Ella May Wiggins is a single mother to four children. Six days out of the week she a spinner at American Mill No. 2. Overworked and underpaid, Ella has no choice but to continue at this job that barely sustains her family. When the leaflets for the union start appearing at her work, she is intrigued and decides to attend a rally. Struck by the significance of the union on the mill workers, Ella joins up. It will be a decision that will alter her life and many more after her.

    What a remarkable book! Set in North Carolina in 1929, the background of this novel is the union and their struggles to becomes established. Tired of being overworked and abused, some laborers walked out and striked in protest. Still, it was a mammoth task to recruit more people for they feared retaliation by the mill bosses. The union approached workers directly but more often left leaflets. That is how Ella May joined the fight. Her hard work earned her all of nine dollars per week. Following her first rally, she left her job and became an advocate for the textile mill worker. Ella also possesed a beautiful voice and her ballads about the mill workers rallied the people. It took very liitle time for the mills to notice Ella for she became a thorn at their side (at one point is referred to as a "nasty woman"). Raw, powerful, beautiful, emotional and sad this narrative surpassed my expectations. The prose is excellent and I will definitely seek more works by Cash.

    I have to say that I had not heard the name Ella May Wiggins before but I will not soon forget it now. A laborer turned advocate, ballader, speaker and ultimately a martyr for the cause, this is a woman that had courage and guts. I have nothing but respect and admiration for her. Ella May was different for a number of reasons. First off, she was white living among blacks and had them as her closest friends. She fought for the integration of black laborers into the union for she felt they were just as abused as the rest. In the South, not everyone saw it that way. Secondly, she was a single mom to four kids (her husband having abandoned her). Her most famous ballad "A Mill Mother's Lament" highlights the struggles of parenting under the duress of the mill. She testified before congress about the work conditions in the mill and did not back down despite their threats. On September 14, 1929 Ella May was killed in an ambush on the way to a rally. She was only twenty-nine years old. The mills were suspected but no one payed for the crime despite the fact that there were over fifty witnesses. Still her legacy lives on and paved the way for significant change. Bravo Ella May. I salute you.

  • Ann Marie (Lit·Wit·Wine·Dine)

    You can read this and all of my reviews at

    .

    This book first captured by attention at Book Expo 2017. I’d not heard of Ella May Wiggins prior to reading the blurb and I was very drawn to the story of this young woman who fought for social justice and racial and gender equality. I was also very drawn to the beautiful cover!

    is Ella’s story told in chapters which were snippets of the lives of several people who played a role in her story. With the exception of the c

    You can read this and all of my reviews at

    .

    This book first captured by attention at Book Expo 2017. I’d not heard of Ella May Wiggins prior to reading the blurb and I was very drawn to the story of this young woman who fought for social justice and racial and gender equality. I was also very drawn to the beautiful cover!

    is Ella’s story told in chapters which were snippets of the lives of several people who played a role in her story. With the exception of the chapters told in the first person by Ella’s daughter, Lilly, they were not exactly told in different points of view. As the story progresses we begin to understand how they they relate to one another and to Ella’s story on the whole. This worked well for the most part. I loved Lilly’s voice and wish we’d heard more of her story.

    This story is beautifully written and it’s clear that Wiley Cash is gifted writer. However, I did find that there were times that I felt the pacing was somewhat slowed by superfluous or overly descriptive narrative. It was difficult to resist the temptation to skim over a few areas so that I could get to more of the “meat” of the story. Though I know this book was based on the true story of Ella May, I’m not sure exactly how much of the book is factual and how much is the author’s imagined version of characters, events, conversations, etc. (This may very well have to do with the fact that I was reading an ARC. Perhaps there will be additional Author’s Notes in the finished copy.) The the story was told in a more plot vs character-driven way. The author did balance this particularly in rendering Hampton’s character.

    I applaud Wiley Cash for bringing us Ella’s story and reminding us of the unimaginable struggles she and her neighbors and co-workers faced on a daily basis just to put food on the table. Though this is a story from the 1920’s, parts of it felt sadly relevant to our own political climate today:

    And this:

    I definitely felt a little tearful at the end of

    . I can certainly see why Wiley Cash has such a devoted following and I look forward to reading his novels again in the future.

  • Linda

    "You exist whether it is written down or not, and you are dead whether it's written down or not too."

    Do we make our mark only in the lives of those who love us or does that mark still exist whether it is simply acknowledged or not?

    Wiley Cash creates a superbly written story based on the actual life of a little known woman named Ella May Wiggins. Ella May's life barely caused a ripple to stir in her early years. Her innocent nature fell for the golden charms of handsome John Wiggins when she was

    "You exist whether it is written down or not, and you are dead whether it's written down or not too."

    Do we make our mark only in the lives of those who love us or does that mark still exist whether it is simply acknowledged or not?

    Wiley Cash creates a superbly written story based on the actual life of a little known woman named Ella May Wiggins. Ella May's life barely caused a ripple to stir in her early years. Her innocent nature fell for the golden charms of handsome John Wiggins when she was sixteen and then found herself with child. She and John married in Tennessee and kept moving from mill to mill in the 1920's until they eventually moved to Gastonia, North Carolina. Throughout her pregnancies, Ella May continued to work and John continued his wayward ways and abandoned his growing family.

    We soon come to know Ella May's desperate struggle to keep food on the table, manage her children, and work long, arduous shifts at the mill. While living in Stumptown, Ella May is blessed with the friendship of Violet and the African American community. They work together in one of the few integrated mills in the area. They both earned $9.00 for a 72 hour workweek. Ella May is threatened with dismissal when she misses her shift caring for her seriously ill daughter.

    The story bends in a new direction when Ella May is handed a flyer on the street that advocates the National Textile Workers Union. Hesitant at first, Ella May attends a meeting and eventually walks off her job and joins the union. Wiley Cash reveals the profound impact that her decision will have on Ella May, her family, and the workers in Gaston County as she becomes more and more active. We are left with the realization that even the most tender of voices can send shock waves that permeate through the stone cold walls of inhumanity. And, believe me, Ella May Wiggins left her mark, indeed.

  • Berit☀️✨

    This is tough for me, I am such a character girl, and this is such a plot driven book... I found Ella and her children’s lives very interesting... I really wanted more about them; Love how the children looked out for each other and really appreciated the fact that they did not care about color... also would have liked more about Ella’s friendships with Violet and Sophia, and of course very unlikely frien

    This is tough for me, I am such a character girl, and this is such a plot driven book... I found Ella and her children’s lives very interesting... I really wanted more about them; Love how the children looked out for each other and really appreciated the fact that they did not care about color... also would have liked more about Ella’s friendships with Violet and Sophia, and of course very unlikely friendship with Kate.... but as I said I’m a character girl...Having said that, I really did find this book very interesting and I am very glad I read it...

    The book did a fabulous job of painting a picture of the times; the mill strikes in 1929 in North Carolina.... something I really knew absolutely nothing about, and when you read books like this it makes you appreciate how much the people who came before you did to make this country a better place.... The hate was hard to hear, hard to understand, but unfortunately part of our country‘s history and even more unfortunate it’s still exists today....

    Wiley Cash, is a very good writer, this was my first book from him, but definitely not my last! I would definitely recommend this to anybody who is a fan of historical fiction with the understanding that the focus is on the plot...

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