A Place Called Sweet Shrub

Jane Roberts Wood, Author, Jane Roberts, Author Delacorte Press $19.95 (307p) ISBN 978-0-385-30187-9
This second entry in Wood's proposed trilogy of young love in Texas at the start of World War I is generally engaging but not totally successful. Lucy Richards (first met in The Train to Estelline ) has returned home from a year of teaching. Trying to save the family hardware store and tend a tubercular aunt, Lucy contemplates the fate of old maids and maintains an inventory of available local suitors. There is no need for her concern, however, as Josh Arnold finds her after a three-year absence and sweeps away all objections. The newlyweds travel to Sweet Shrub, Ark., where Josh has a position as a school principal. Becoming acquainted with the various residents of their boarding house, they discover an incipient vein of bigotry against the black population, which is beginning to seek fairer wages and civil rights. Another concern is the fate of a foundling raised by a black woman, whose identity becomes confused as adolescent growth suggests that he may actually be white. Lucy is at her most appealing when she is still living with her family in Texas, and the reader is privy to her changing views of life and marriage. After she weds, there is more focus on Josh's qualities and more straight narrative. Wood's treatment of racial tensions is uneven, with some episodes striking a chord and others failing to generate much feeling. In general, however, this wholesome novel makes for easy, pleasant reading. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Paperback - 978-0-385-31458-9
Hardcover - 431 pages - 978-1-56054-156-1
Paperback - 286 pages - 978-1-57441-079-2
Paperback - 978-0-440-50305-7
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