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*** The details described in this book may not be suitable for readers below the age of 18 as descriptions of rape, alcoholism, child neglect, and abuse are depicted***
Title: In the Fields
Author: Willow Aster
Release: September 08, 2013
Rating: 5 Stars *****
1971 — In the tiny, backward town of Tulma, Tennessee, optimistic, bookish Caroline Carson unwittingly finds herself in the middle of a forbidden romance. Severely neglected by her family and forced to flee Tulma to protect her secrets, Caroline’s young life comes crashing down around her. She finds refuge in a new town, but the past always has a way of stretching around time and stirring up trouble.
When a new love comes into her life, she has to decide if she can give her heart to someone else, or if she will always be tied to someone she can’t have.
We meet Caroline when she is a young school girl dealing with a crumbling family and trying to take care of everyone in her life. Her mother ignores her and her drunk father abandons her. She is all alone in the world except for her best friend Isaiah. He is a classmate and he and his mother live across the field from Caroline and she has a crush on him. Sounds innocent enough right? Did I forget to mention that it is the early 1970s in the Deep South and she is white and he is black? It's seems so strange to think about what that meant back then. I am a child of the 80s and I do vaguely remember how it stunned me to see interracial couples back then. This book dug up all that. Looking at it with my adult eyes from a day and age when it is not uncommon nor is it considered shameful... It is jarring to remember what it was like not so long ago. Caroline and Isaiah try to hide their growing affection from the world. They know that others will condemn them and hate them simply because they love each other. How ignorant that sounds? To hate someone because they love???
What a warped world and I am not so naive that I don't realize it still exists today. It may not be as prevalent but it still rears its ugly head.
Caroline becomes the victim of a violent crime. One that will rip your heart out as it rips her innocence away. She nearly loses her life and Isaiah and his mother save her... but they can not save her from the humiliation and the shame she must bare. Her body can heal but she will never be the same again. Her mother takes her and leaves the home that is no longer a home and takes her from the only person who truly loves her. Isaiah goes after her and after a brief reconnection she realizes that they will never be accepted and she doesn't want that to be their life. She wants to spare him from the judgement and the fight so she walks away again. Starting a new life in a new town with new people and a secret. We get to meet some of the best written cast of characters as Caroline finds her new family. A melting pot of diversity. Unlikely allies. Love and understanding. We heal and we break with her time and again.
Wow just wow! I dove into this book expecting to see a semblance of True Love Story. I loved that book and I expected to be thrilled like I was before... and boy was I. This is not the sexy angst filled book I expected. This book was so much more. This book addressed some very heavy and controversial issues... neglect, rape, abandonment, sacrifice, racism, loss, forgiveness and unconditional love. It was just a roller coaster of happiness and hurt. My heart broke for Caroline. It broke for Isaiah. It broke for the human race in general. I was ashamed and I was enraged and I was engrossed with Caroline's journey. Everybody who reads this book will relate to it personally. Whether you had a parent who wasn't present or a family member who struggled with an addiction... maybe you were bullied or abused.... lost someone close to you... buried a loved one gone too soon... fell in love with a boy or girl people didn't approve of or maybe both??? This isn't just Caroline's story this is OUR story.
About the Author:
Willow Aster is the author of True L-o-v-e Story and In the Fields, two standalone books published in 2013. When she's not writing, you can find her staring out into space, dreaming about new characters. She also enjoys sliding across the hardwood floor in her socks and twirling in the sand.
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