Hazel grew up one of many children in a rural southern town, but she was determined to get more out of life and found a job in a pharmacy. One customer, Floyd, swept Hazel off her feet with his ideas for business and outlook on life. Soon, Hazel and Floyd are married and settled in Delphi, Mississippi where Floyd sells vehicles. Hazel is expected to be a society lady, but doesn't quite fit in. She does, however find contentment in driving. Hazel begins a family with Floyd and has two healthy boys, but still has trouble seeing herself as a good mother. When her youngest son dies in a tragic accident, Hazel is devastated and slips into drinking and depression. Floyd hires Vida as a maid and to take care of Hazel. Vida takes the position to try to enact revenge on Hazel's neighbor, the sheriff who is responsible for Vida having to give up her son. Hazel and Vida don't exactly see eye to eye, but they are able to come together over the loss of their sons and the racial discrimination that Vida and the other maids face. Together, Hazel and Vida will prove an unstoppable force in campaigned for civil rights in the Deep South.
I completely fell in love with this story and the characters. More than anything, it took me back to Mississippi in the 1950’s. From the manner of speech, Hazel’s many “I swan’s” and Floyds motivational quotes to Hazel’s interior decorating choices and Vida and her father’s experiences made everything very realistic. Hazel and Vida also brought this book alive. Even more than their quest for Civil Rights, the book is about Hazel and Vida’s own growth. Both women are broken over the loss of their sons. Hazel turns to drinking and Vida turns to revenge. Their struggle with what it means to be a mother and their growth as characters during this time in history is what is really highlighted for me. The Civil Rights movement is what allows the women to move on. I really appreciated the author’s authenticity with women being the driving force behind many of the protests and movement of information at the time. I felt like this gave me a great look into another piece of the Civil Rights movement that I never would have known.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.