Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Beginnings: Jubilee's Journey by Bette Lee Crosby

Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.

On an icy cold November morning in 1956, Bartholomew Jones died in the Poynter Coal Mine. His death came as no surprise to anyone. He was only one of the countless men forever lost to the mine. They were men loved and mourned by their families, but to the world they were faceless, nameless people, not worthy of mention in the Charleston Times.

Morning after morning those men descended into the belly of the mountain, into a world of black dust that clung to their skin with a fierceness that no amount of scrubbing could wash away. In the winter the sky was still black when they climbed into the trolley cart that carried them into the mountain. And when they returned twelve hours later, daylight had already come and gone.


Jubilee's Journey by Bette Lee Crosby

Paul, 16 and Jubilee, 7 are orphans. After their father's death, they travel to find a relative in  Wyattsville. Paul gets shot in the midst of robbery in a shop, where he had gone to ask for a job. Jubilee waits for him on a bench where Paul had told her to wait. Ethan Allen, 13 sees her there and with much coaxing takes her to his grandmother Olivia's place. Olivia takes to the girl immediately and vows to herself to help the girl.

Meanwhile, Paul has been taken to the hospital in a comatose state and he is suspected to be one of the robbers. No one knows the two children in Wyattsville and hence no one reports them missing. Jubilee knows that her brother did no wrong. Olivia is determined that no harm should come to the girl. Ethan Allen is very caring about Jubilee. 

This story touches us at many levels. Love between siblings. Paul has always taken care of Jubilee and when her turn comes, she does the same for him. Ethan Allen, a orphan himself, takes to the little girl easily enough. Olivia, although thinks Ethan a handful, does not mind looking after Jubilee. In a strange place, there are people who still care about kids who are not theirs. 

There are beautiful use of metaphors and the human element is so palpable. It also contains an evil person who thinks nothing of killing people. One of the best novels, I read in 2014.

11 comments:

JC Jones said...

A very intense sounding book but one I Think I would enjoy. Here is my post: Mixed Book Bag

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I read this book and enjoyed it too. Bette Lee Crosby is a gifted writer.
Here's the link to my Friday post: THE DOCTOR'S INDISCRETION.

Katherine P said...

The writing in the beginning is beautiful. This isn't normally a topic that would grab me but I do want to continue reading. Thanks for sharing!

fredamans said...

I love the accolades you give it, and with the opening, it sounds like a powerful read.

LuAnn Braley said...

I have GOT to read this book!

Juli Rahel said...

It's so beautiful to see a village in which there are people who will help when help is needed! And sibling bonds are, I feel, not given enough attention in books so I'm really happy to see it get its own book! Thanks for stopping by :)
Juli @ Universe in Words

Sheri said...

Wow, this sounds interesting! Thanks for sharing :) Thanks for stopping by Shut Up & Read!

Rose C. said...

What a bleak opening. But realistic. Several of my family members have working in the coal mines of Western PA

livingonborroweddays.com said...

What a detailed description of what the life of a miner looks/looked like; so weighty :( Thanks for sharing and thanks for visiting my blog :) Have a wonderful weekend!

pictureperfectcooking said...

This sounds like a very intense and powerful book. Thanks so much for sharing it and thanks also for stopping by my blog.

Cassie said...

Such great imagery in that opening.