by Bette Lee Crosby
Series: Wyattsville #3
Genres: Historical Fiction
It's 1946. The war is over. Millions of American soldiers are coming home and Benjamin Church is one of them. After four years of being away he thought things in Alabama would have changed, but they haven't. Grinder's Corner is as it's always been--a hardscrabble burp in the road. It's not much, but it's home. When Benjamin attends a harvest festival in Twin Pines, he catches sight of Delia. Before their first dance ends, he knows for certain she's the one. They fall madly in love: happily, impatiently, imprudently, in love. It doesn't matter that her daddy is staunchly opposed to the thought of his daughter marrying a cotton farmer, never mind a poor one. It's true Benjamin has little to offer; he's a sharecropper who will spend his whole life sweating and slaving to do little more than put food on the table. But that's how things are in Alabama. Benjamin is better off than most; he has a wife, a boy he adores, and a house that doesn't leak rain. Yes, Benjamin considers himself a lucky man until the fateful night that changes everything.
Passing through Perfect by Betty Lee Crosby is the third book in the Wyattsville series but will work as a standalone. Crosby brilliantly captivates life in the late 1940’s in a small rural Alabama farming town called Grinder’s Corner. Once again, Crosby weaved her magic and held me spellbound. She has this subtle gift for bringing characters and the period to life.
Passing through Perfect, focuses on the life of Benjamin Church, a sharecropper’s son. He returns home from the war and begins farming alongside his father. It is the story of love, loss, heartache, joy and one man’s determination to provide for his family. The tale spans a good eleven years and I quickly became caught up in the characters.
Crosby clearly captures Alabama in the early 50’s and segregation. Passing through Perfect is told from a few perspectives each delivered in separate chapters. Benjamin’s is the predominant voice and I quickly connected with him. Delia and folks from Wyattsville are the others. I wondered how Crosby was going to bring Wyattsville into the story and she did so brilliantly. I laughed with these characters, felt pain for them and shed a few tears right alongside them. Benjamin is clever, soft-spoken and has this dignity about him that I could not help but admire. Delia story touched me, from her strength to her yearning for a better way of life just over the horizon.
Passing through Perfect flowed wonderfully as Crosby brought their daily lives to life while relating a powerful story about prejudice and intolerance during this period. Free but not equal. She managed to capture both the worst of man and the best of him. I think the author said it best in the notes at the beginning of the book. She mentions tales are not good or bad it is simply what it was. Her descriptive writing style allowed me to smell the collards’s, taste the heat and feel the rain on my face. The title was cleverly weaved into the tale and I smiled to myself when it happened. Memorable, poignant and powerful Passing through Perfect is a tale that will stay with you, long after the book is closed.
Fans of Diane Chamberlain will love Bette Lee Crosby’s story-telling.
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