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Book reviews from The Free Lance-Star.

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Shared struggles in Appalachia

Gifted new author shines in first novel

BY Kathy Habel

For The Free Lance-Star

I HAVE BEEN impressed by the quality of work produced by recent first-time authors and Jessica Maria Tuccelli is no exception.  She has crafted an intricate and fascinating story spanning several generations.   She weaves together personal stories of slaves and  American Indians and their struggles  to live and be accepted in the Appalachian Mountains of Georgia.

“Glow” opens in 1941 in Washington, D.C.  Amelia McGee, a young woman of  Native American and Scotch–Irish heritage,  is working with the NAACP to protest the drafting of black men into the Army.  The father of Amelia’s daughter has been jailed for resisting the draft.  Because of increasing tensions, Amelia sends her daughter, Ella, home alone to Georgia on a bus.

No one meets the young girl when she is dropped off and she is attacked and left for dead along the side of the road.  Ella is rescued by Willa Mae Cotton, a former slave and her partner, Mary–Mary Freeborn and brought to their home, deep in the woods.  Thus the tale begins.

The story weaves back and forth from the “Trail of Tears” to the brink of World War II, stopping along the way at small, back-woods settlements and huge cotton plantations.  The story is full of love, hate, discrimination, heart break, hardiness, ghosts and voodoo.

Every page seems to introduce a new twist  to draw the reader in and keep the pages turning.  You won’t be disappointed.

Kathy Habel   is a freelance reviewer in Spotsylvania County.


By Jessica Maria Tuccelli

(Viking, $25.95,   336 pp.)


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