Review; A Peach For Big Jim by Lisa Belmont
Description from Goodreads
In 1947 racially charged Mills Hollow, South Carolina, Chloe Mason knows not to go near the Negroes who live in the river shacks, especially sixteen-year-old Big Jim. He’s something of a myth, a big black boy known for eating opossums and howling at the moon. At least that’s what Chloe’s brother, Caleb, and her Pa, a fiddle-playing Southerner who waves a Confederate flag, tell her. Yet, when Chloe slips into Foxhole Swamp, it’s Big Jim who saves her from an alligator. She secretly befriends Big Jim and takes it upon herself to teach him to read, even bringing him a forbidden peach from Widow Jones’ tree. Chloe meets Big Jim in a tree fort he constructs out of wood scraps, and together they endure the injustices Big Jim suffers – like being whipped by Chloe’s father for trespassing. But once her father discovers their secret meetings and is ready to lynch Big Jim, Chloe’s loyalty is tested to the breaking point, calling into question everything she’s come to believe about herself, her family, and what truly matters most.
Set in the swamps of low country South Carolina, A PEACH FOR BIG JIM is a poignant tale of enduring hope, relentless determination and coming-of-age at a time when innocence is all but gone.
My Thoughts on the BookA Peach For Big Jim is a book that is heartbreaking at times, yet it has some beautiful moments as well. I loved Big Jim, Widow Jones and Chloe, and the latter has a great character arc going from an innocent girl to maturing a bit during the novel. The characters are in general well developed and so is the storyline. I would highly recommend this book.