Welcome to my stop on the The Accidentals blog tour sponsored by TLC Book Tours! Thanks to TLC for the invitation!
Olivia McAllister lives in 1950s Opelika, Mississippi with her husband, Holly, and two young daughters, June and Grace. Olivia wishes more doors were open for her. She misses her wartime job at the landing boat factory.
Olivia becomes pregnant and makes a decision, one that leaves her daughters without their mother. Her sister tries to step in and help them all. The effects of Olivia’s decision can be felt all the way to Grace and June’s adulthood’s. Grace has a baby in secret, and June ends up in an unhappy marriage.
There are some beautiful anecdotes here about birds and accidental landings.
The Accidentals is a timely and powerful story. I’m not sure I’ve read a book that addresses these types of overwhelmingly difficult choices some women made during this time period in the south. The writing is exquisite, and I was completely invested in June and Grace’s lives. I could feel the author’s care for these characters in how she wrote them and in their complexity.
Overall, I plan to read every book Minrose Gwin has written. She’s my kind of writer, one that weaves an indelible tale.
Sidenote: It’s pretty cool that the author taught at my alma mater.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
â€¢ Paperback:Â 416 pages
â€¢ Publisher:Â William Morrow Paperbacks (August 13, 2019)
Following the death of their mother from a botched backwoods abortion, the McAlisterÂ daughters haveÂ to cope with the ripple effect of this tragedy as they come of age in 1950s Mississippi and then grow up to face their own impossible choicesâ€”an unforgettable, beautiful novel that is threaded throughout with the stories of mothers and daughters in pre-Roe versus Wade America.
Life heads down back alleys, takes sharp left turns. Then, one fine day it jumps the track and crashes.â€
In the fall of 1957, Olivia McAlister is living in Opelika, Mississippi, caring for her two girls, June and Grace, and her husband, Holly. She dreams of living a much larger life–seeing the world and returning to her wartime job at a landing boat factory in New Orleans. As she watches over the birds in her yard, Olivia feels like an â€œaccidentalâ€â€”a migratory bird blown off course.
When Olivia becomes pregnant again, she makes a fateful decision, compelling Grace, June, and Holly to cope in different ways. While their father digs up the backyard to build a bomb shelter, desperate to protect his family, Oliviaâ€™s spinster sister tries to take them all under her wing. But the impact of Oliviaâ€™s decision reverberates throughout Graceâ€™s and Juneâ€™s lives. Grace, caught up in an unconventional love affair, becomes one of the â€œgirls who went awayâ€ to have a baby in secret. June, guilt-ridden for her part in exposing Graceâ€™s pregnancy, eventually makes an unhappy marriage. Meanwhile Ed Mae Johnson, an African-American care worker in a New Orleans orphanage, is drastically impacted by Graceâ€™s choices.
As the years go by, their lives intersect in ways that reflect the unpredictable nature of bird flight that lands in accidental locationsâ€”and the consolations of imperfect return.
Filled with tragedy, humor, joy, and the indomitable strength of women facing the constricted spaces of the 1950s and 60s,Â The AccidentalsÂ is a poignant, timely novel that reminds us of the hope and consolation that can be found in unexpected landings.
Please use the hashtag #theaccidentals, and tag @tlcbooktours and @williammorrowbooks.
About Minrose Gwin
Minrose Gwin is the author ofÂ The Queen of Palmyra, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick and finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award, and the memoirÂ Wishing for Snow, cited by Booklist as â€œeloquentâ€ and â€œlyricalâ€â€”â€œa real life story we all need to know.â€ She has written four scholarly books and coeditedÂ The Literature of the American South. She grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi, hearing stories of the Tupelo tornado of 1936. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Find out more about Minrose at her website.