Cold Rock River by Jackie Lee Miles
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Cumberland House Publishing (October 1, 2008)
About the book:
In 1963 rural Georgia, with the Vietnam War cranking up, pregnant, seventeen-year-old Adie Jenkins discovers the diary of pregnant, seventeen-year-old Tempe Jordan, a slave girl, circa 1963, with the Civil War well under way.
This is one of the most beautifully written stories I have read in a long time. This is actually two stories in one – that of Adie Jenkes and Tempe Jordan. Adie Jenkins hasn’t had an easy life. After losing her sister at a young age to an accident her whole world seems to have fallen apart. Her relationship with her father will never be the same, and even though she takes the brunt of the blame for her sister’s death, she knows deep down that her father was even more at fault than she was – in more ways than one. So, when Buck Jenkins starts to treat her nice, she jumps at the chance. Before you know it she is pregnant and living in Hog Gap with his mother and disabled brother.
Thanks to Murphy Spencer they get a “shack” to live in before the baby is born. Buck can’t be bothered with it – he’s too busy chasing after Imelda Jane, the daughter of the store owner where he works. Thankfully Adie meets Willa Mae – the black woman who lives in the nearby cabin. She is a wonderful friend and she eventually shows Adie the diary of Tempe Jordan – a young black woman living during the times of slavery and The Civil War. Adie becomes engrossed in the journal, even after the birth of Grace Annie and the departure of Buck to the military. There is just something that doesn’t seem to add up – who is Heart in relation to Willa Mae? And what happened to her children – why were they drowned? And why are the pages at the end of the journal missing?
This story was so wonderfully woven, even if it was somewhat predictable that was ok. The characters were so warm and charming and you really can relate to all of them – even the ones you would love to hate. This is a book that I would highly recommend!
About the author:
J.L. (Jackie Lee) Miles, a resident of Georgia since 1975, hails from Wisconsin via South Dakota. She considers herself “a northern girl with a southern heart.” Her paternal grandfather was christened Grant Lee by her great-grandmother in honor of the many fallen soldiers on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line. Ms. Miles is a former D.I.A.L. Systems Engineer for Baker/Audio Telecom, one of the premier forerunners of voice mail. In addition to systems application, she provided voice tracks for several major companies, including Delta Airlines and Frito-Lay Corporation.