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January 6, 2023

Winter's Reckoning by Adele Holmes ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Her ancestors were healers.  Mysterious, wise, noble.  They championed their ideals and frequently stood accused for them.  Some were legends." (p 1)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of southern fiction novel Winter's Reckoning by Adele Holmes
August 2022; She Writes Press; 978-1647420871
ebook, print (336 pages); southern fiction

Winter's Reckoning
is a beautiful and well-written novel about life in Appalachia in 1917 where the separation of the races is enforced by the KKK and women are kept in their places as second-class citizens.

Maddie is a 46-year-old widow from Boston who is a healer.  There is no doctor in the small town and the people rely on Maddie and her skills.  Her socially progressive beliefs are not accepted by most of the town but her views are overlooked due to her skills as a healer.  She's training a young black woman - Ren - to be her helper and this is also frowned upon by the people who believe that the races should be separated.  When a charismatic new preacher rides into town, he stirs up the townspeople with his views on racial segregation and helps the local KKK chapter become active again.  Maddie stands up to him and he starts the rumor that she is a witch and should be kicked out of town.  If she doesn't leave, the KKK will hang her apprentice's father
 Maddie is shocked and disappointed when the townspeople turn against her.  She had moved to the small town from Boston after she married her late husband and always felt that she was accepted.  She's not sure what she should do -- will the KKK really lynch Ren's father?  She realizes that her life is really in danger after a night visit by the KKK and begins to believe that she needs to leave town to save the people that she loves - both black and white.  Will she stay in town where she can protect her friends and family or will she leave town and let the new pastor control the beliefs of the townspeople?

This historical fiction novel takes place in the early part of the 20th century but we still see echoes of beliefs in today's world with discrimination against women and against races.  We don't have the KKK stirring up trouble but there are enough people with strong beliefs on these subjects to keep them controversial even in our world today.

This book is a debut and won an Honorable Mention in the William Faulkner Competition. I look forward to her future books.

Buy Winter's Reckoning at Amazon

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  

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  1. Thank you for reading and reviewing! I'm happy you enjoyed the novel