cover image Praise Jerusalem!

Praise Jerusalem!

Augusta Trobaugh. Baker Publishing Group (MI), $19.99 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-8010-1147-4

Trobaugh takes her shot at that nameless genre in which persnickety elderly white Southern ladies come, late in life, to insights that had long eluded them. Widowed and astringent, Miss Amelia wrestles with the dilemma of her finances, whose dwindling does not accord with the elevated position she occupies in her small Georgia community. Her relatives and contemporaries are all dead, so even if she sells her lovely old family home, she has nowhere to go. Her only offer of a place to live is an abandoned home in Jerusalem, Ga., which once belonged to her housemate Maybelline's grandfather. Maybelline herself is a maddeningly well-intentioned woman of dubious breeding and tacky taste through whom the Lord speaks loudly and often. Amelia, whose relationship with the Lord is one of polite disbelief, has no alternative but to go along with the plan. Worse, with increasing frequency, she's found herself slipping back in time to a childhood summer. Fearing senility, lapsing in and out of the present, Amelia reexamines her past, finally accessing a place in her heart deeper than the detached civility she has so long presented to the world. As her story reveals more of Amelia's haunting past, Trobaugh weaves a tale of a sensitive child struggling with the dilemma of a segregated South, who's finally being shown the way to grace and faith by those with even fewer rights than a child has--i.e. black women, the blind, the mute and the poor. If sometimes the atmosphere is too thick with mystery and wonder and grace and faith, Trobaugh grounds her rich first novel with salty dialogue and earthy realism. (May)