Midwest Reviews August 2020 Bookwatch

Book Two, The Melody of the Mulberries
sends sixteen-year-old Coral Ashby in search of a Charleston prisoner. Charlie is being held for crimes committed against her family. Her family is not happy about this adventure, and Ernest is faced with dilemmas of the heart and duty.

The Melody of the Mulberries
Tonya Jewel Blessing
https://www.tonyajewelblessing.com
Capture Books
http://www.capturemebooks.com
9781732753686 $24.99, HC, 248pp, http://www.amazon.com

“The Melody of the Mulberries” is a sequel to author Tonya Jewel Blessing’s YA novel “The Whispering of the Willows” and is set in the late 1920s’ Appalachia, where granny witches and spiritualism often show the path for wanderers to take, especially in matters of the heart.

Like the changing mulberries, Appalachian siblings Coral and Ernest Ashby, navigate their lives and loves through the Spanish Flu epidemic, poverty, and various as sundry prejudices. Coral is determined to visit the family nemesis, Charlie, who now stews in prison.

When Ernest’s previous love interest, Mercy, returns to the holler of Big Creek, she discovers that Ernest has a new romantic attraction. He is singing a melody for Charlotte, the older Ashby brother’s widow. No matter, Mercy has brought along her own spiritual tools to circumvent the inconvenience and a special friend who guides her way.

Accompanied by friends and foes, matters of the heart complicate life for Coral and Ernest. Relationships must be journeyed carefully.

An exceptionally well written and entertaining work of historical romance for young adult readers that is unreservedly recommended for both high school and community library collections, it should be noted for personal reading lists that “The Melody of the Mulberries” is also readily available in a paperback edition (9781951084004, $16.99).

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