Bernice L. McFadden, 2000
Penguin Group USA
In a debut novel that blends the rich, earthy atmosphere of the deep South and a voice imbued with spiritual grace, Bernice L. McFadden tells the story of two women: a modest, churchgoing wife and mother, and the young prostitute she befriends. "When Sugar arrives in 1950s Bigelow—waltzing down the main square of the sweltering tiny Arkansas town as if she has every right to be there—no one tosses out the welcome mat or invites her in for a Coke.
The Bigelow women hate her from the minute they lay eyes on her—on the bouncing blond wig and red-painted lips that tell them she has never known a hard day's work. All they know is they want her gone, out of their town, and away from their men. "But Sugar has traveled too far and survived too much to back down now. She parks herself in the house at #10 Grove Street, even though she feels there is something about Bigelow that is calling up the past she prayed she'd left behind. "Deep in her soul, Pearl Taylor knows what it is that Sugar feels, because it happened to her. It was the day her world shut down, the day the devil himself murdered her young daughter, Jude.
It wasn't that Pearl stopped believing in God, exactly; she just couldn't trust him the way she used to. Then Sugar moves in next door, and Pearl's life irrevocably changes. Over sweet potato pie, an unlikely friendship begins, transforming the lives of two women—and an entire community. (From the publisher.)
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