Synopsis from Goodreads: How much would you risk to stand up for your beliefs?
When Duncan and Sarah Powell move with their daughter, May, to Savannah Georgia in 1947, they hope against hope that they’ll be welcomed. But they’re Yankees and worse, they’re civil rights advocates almost a decade too early.
At first May can pretend they’re the same as everyone else. It means keeping quiet when she knows she should speak up, but it’s worth the sacrifice to win friends. Unfortunately her parents are soon putting their beliefs into action. And when they wake to find that they’re the only family on the block with a Ku Klux Klan cross blazing on their front lawn, the time comes for them to finally decide between what’s easy and what’s right.
Source: Author for a fair and honest review
My Rating: 5/5 stars
My Review: One short week ago, I ranted to my husband about not having come across a 4½ or 5-star read in far too long. Thank you, universe, for hearing my rant and offering up Jamie Scott’s absolutely excellent historical fiction novel, Little Sacrifices!
Set in 1940s Savannah, Georgia, Little Sacrifices follows the life of May and her parents as they relocate, under duress, from the North to the South. May’s parents are outspoken integrationists who have not only instilled their beliefs in their young daughter, but also often embarrass her in the course of their endeavors. In the beginning, for May, the South is hot, humid, and completely inexplicable. Thankfully, she meets Jim, the social outcast who lives next door and is more than willing to help May adjust and navigate the treacherous waters of segregated Savannah.
I can complain about nothing in this novel…AT ALL!! So, rather than gushing all over the place for several pages about the awesomeness of this read, I’ll hit you with the highlights.
*Scott has crafted a plot that is dramatic, gripping, heavy, historical, and incredibly interesting. Fair warning, reader: this plot is not easy as it is a fictionalized account, based on detailed research, of life in the segregated South, a full decade and half before the Civil Rights movement began. Throughout the narrative, an intense tension is always simmering just below the surface and, from time to time, it breaks through the surface.
*Because of the detailed research, the setting, atmosphere, and language feels very real and absolutely believable. The reader easily becomes immersed in May’s world. One of the hands-down highlights of this book is that you do get so completely immersed in this world, then are brought right back to reality by some seriously funny one-liner that you did not see coming. Scott clearly has a knack for breaking up the ever-present tension.
*As if the main plot weren’t enough, a secondary plot is instigated by May’s penchant for snooping. Periodically, full chapters are dedicated to the unfolding and unraveling of this secondary plot line. To be completely honest, I was absolutely taken in by this part of the novel and was thrilled to see how Scott was able to eventually bring the past and the present perfectly together.
*If I had to pick a favorite part of this novel (and I would be hard-pressed to do so), the characters would have to be it. Like the setting, plot, and everything else, the characters are fully developed entities with whom the reader can connect from the earliest moments of the book. I found myself empathizing with certain characters, laughing with them on occasion, and feeling their heartache a time or two. Being able to create such fully resolved and realistic characters in a single novel is truly a great skill for an author to possess.
*Finally, the epilogue is excellent. Who writes about the epilogue, right? Well, I do when it is as good as the rest of the book. Scott used her space in the epilogue as it should be used; nearly every character in the novel is covered in the epilogue. The reader will walk away with a great sense of closure.
The Bottom Line: Despite the tragic nature of the time and place, this historical fiction read is outstanding. The plot is intriguing, the characters are fantastic, and the writing style is so smooth and easy that it makes getting through this novel a breeze. I can unreservedly recommend this read to adults, but would caution recommending it to a young adult reader who is on the younger end of the spectrum.
P.S. for you chick lit fans out there, Jamie Scott just happens to the pen name of chick lit author Michele Gorman 🙂