Title: Winter's Reckoning
Author: Adele Holmes
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publish Date: August 9, 2022
Source: TLC Book Tours
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Forty-six-year-old Madeline Fairbanks has no use for ideas like "separation of the races" or "men as the superior sex." There are many in her dying Southern Appalachian town who are upset by her socially progressive views, but for years--partly due to her late husband's still-powerful influence, and partly due to her skill as a healer in a remote town with no doctor of its own--folks have been willing to turn a blind eye to her "transgressions." Even Maddie's decision to take on a Black apprentice, Ren Morgan, goes largely unchallenged by her white neighbors, though it's certainly grumbled about. But when a charismatic and power-hungry new reverend blows into town in 1917 and begins to preach about the importance of racial segregation, the long-idle local KKK chapter fires back into action--and places Maddie and her friends in Jamesville's Black community squarely in their sights. Maddie had better stop intermingling with Black folks, discontinue her herbalistic "witchcraft," and leave town immediately, they threaten, or they'll lynch Ren's father, Daniel. Faced with this decision, Maddie is terrified . . . and torn. Will she bow to their demands and walk away--or will she fight to keep the home she's built in Jamestown and protect the future of the people she loves, both Black and white?"
My Two Cents:
"Winter's Reckoning" is a wonderful historical fiction story set in Appalachia in the early 1900s. Our main character, Maddie lives in a small town in Appalachia and is really the town's only medical care, using herbs and home remedies to make sure that all the townspeople stay well. Most people are thankful for her but some are wary of her skills and even more wary of her bookishness and boldness, two qualities sadly suspect in women in those days. The woman is not afraid to speak her mind and makes for an amazing character to read about! When the KKK and a suspect pastor start to influence the town, it falls to Maddie to stand up for the right thing in Jamesville.
This book touches a lot on the difficulties of race segregation during this time. Maddie is committed to an equal future for all those she loves, Black and white, even when there are some very strong opinions throughout the town that are pushing everyone to think otherwise. Maddie has partnered with the wonderful Ren, a Black woman that is also committed to helping with everyone's medical needs. Maddie and Ren are committed to the health of all rather than one group of people and I loved their conviction, even in the face of some really difficult events throughout the book.
Holmes draws some amazing characters in this book. I loved Maddie and Ren but I also loved their families. The author also does a great job of making some of the antagonists in the book like Tom and Carl the "pastor" just so darn despicable and somewhat fun to hate. I liked that even the secondary characters get to stand on their own a little bit.
I am really drawn to historical fiction that discusses the medical cures of yesterday. It is just so interesting to me to see what cures were used and which ones got traction with actually fixing health. The detail in the book was really interesting!
The timeline of the book was a little difficult to follow at some points. Without giving too much away, there is a lot of big events that seem to happen in relatively short order in the book that may take more time to come to light in real life. I noted it but it didn't take away from my overall enjoyment of the book.
Overall, this is a really great historical fiction that kept me entertained and interested! It is always so fun to pull for great characters like Maddie and I'm excited to see what's next for Adele Holmes' books!