Austins' latest novel is a real page-turner. Set during the Prohibition era, the story begins with heroine Harriet Sherwood in jail. As she considers her situation, she recalls that other women in her heritage have run afoul of the law. Her great-grandmother participated in the Underground Railroad, guiding escaped slaves to Canada. Grandmother Bebe was a lifelong member of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, having a hand in the closing of a number of saloons and in the passage of the Prohibition amendment. And Harriet's mother, Lucy, was active in the women's suffrage movement.
Harriet spends her time in jail revisiting the lives of her female ancestors, wondering what they would think of her current plight. She worries especially about Grandma Bebe, because Harriet is in jail for transporting illegal liquor! At first, I found it hard to follow the flashbacks, but they were not distracting once I became accustomed to them.
Austin was a history teacher before she became a full-time writer. All of her novels are classified as Christian historical fiction. She is a master of the genre. Not only are readers rewarded with a great story, they get a history lesson at the same time. And it's pretty much painless. Austin artfully weaves the historical facts into the story without being pedantic. In this story, Austin carries us from the Civil War era through the Prohibition era, showing the reader the changes in attitudes toward women as time passes.
This book would make a great Mother's Day gift since it deals with mother-daughter relationships as well as cultural issues. If I had a rating system on this blog, I would give this one the highest marks.
See Lynn's other books on her site.
See my previous reviews on Austin novels.