Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham is a wonderful feel-good novel that I enjoyed reading last night. It was also an incredibly quick read, moving swiftly through a very short time span.
Ludelphia Bennett's mother is almost ready to have a baby when the book begins, but is plagued by a persistent cough and is not feeling well. When she goes into labor unexpectedly it is Ludelphia and her friend, Etta Mae, who help and deliver a baby girl -a sister for Ludelphia that she names Rose. However, Ludelphia's mother appears to be getting sicker and no one in Gee's Bend has a remedy that will help her. Desperate, Ludelphia sets out for Camden, a town forty miles away, to try and find a doctor who will help her and come back to care for her mother. What she gets is more than she bargained for. She is taken in by Mrs. Cobb, whose husband is overseer of the sharecropping community of Gee's Bend, and who is out to prove that Etta Mae is a witch because Mrs. Cobb's niece, Sarah, who was under Etta's care died. Mrs. Cobb is planning on calling in on all the debts the sharecroppers owe her, giving Ludelphia one more thing to try and overcome. While in Camden Ludelphia gets a taste of the big world - taking her first car ride, drinking Coca Cola, and seeing fancy houses, yet she is quick to realize how wonderful the world of Gee's Bend is, and how much she wants to go back.
This book has an ending I was happy with - giving me a nice, warm, fuzzy feeling....maybe painting a more rosy picture than reality in Gee's Bend (my only criticism of this book), but leaving me with a smile on my face.
After visiting Latham's website, I am excited to find that she has another book already in the works that I will be looking for when it is published.