When I Crossed No-Bob: The Bulletin

Suspenseful plotting and language that whispers with the soft cadences of a Mississippi pine forest and crackles with wry wit blend with very appealing characters to craft a compelling portrait of life in Mississippi during Reconstruction. Most effectively explored is the profound ambivalence Addy feels toward her reputation as a hardscrabble O’Donnell; she is drawn to and respects people who show the kind of viper meanness, wily opportunism, and headstrong rebellion that she has grown up around, but she sees her people with new eyes after her stay with the kind and upright Russells. Though the book is set in 1875, the thematics of personal and community reconstruction, coping with residual bad feelings, making tough moral choices, and finding grace and healing after trauma find relevant reflection in many contemporary circumstances.