Issue: February 15, 2013
The Ballad of Jessie Pearl.
Advanced Review – Uncorrected Proof
Hitchcock, Shannon (Author) Feb 2013. 131 p. Namelos, hardcover, $18.95. (9781608981410).
Jessie’s family no sooner has to deal with the loss of her mother when her older sister, Carrie, begins to battle tuberculosis just after the birth of her son. This is North Carolina in the early 1920s, and Jessie must leave school to help care for her hardworking farm family. When baby Ky is left motherless, Jessie wonders if she will ever have an opportunity to venture beyond home and pursue her dreams of higher education and becoming a teacher. Hitchcock’s seemingly gentle tale ultimately reveals a powerful tension between Jessie’s love for her baby nephew and her deceased sister, and that of the equally strong pull for independence. Jessie makes her decision carefully and with much soul searching. First love, the risk and thrill of the unknown, a beautiful family that shores her up when she feels weak—all these forces tumble about in a believable manner as Jessie figures out her future one day at a time. You can almost hear the gentle fiddle tune playing in the background as she does so.
— Anne O'Malley