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Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League    by Jonathan Odell order for
Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League
by Jonathan Odell
Order:  USA  Can
Maiden Lane, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, Softcover
* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

Jonathan Odell gets his southern characters just right. In Miss Hazel and the Rosa Parks League, we have two very interesting women, Miss Hazel and Vida. Miss Hazel is a poor white woman who would love to be seen as dignified, even though she is sure she is an awful mother and a social outcast. Vida, the daughter of a black preacher, has lost a son and with that, her sense of self.

We are in Delphi, Mississippi, not long after Rosa Parks' act of independence. Folks in Delphi would sooner keep things the same and not have to change a thing. But because Miss Hazel and Vida come together and hate each other, the community is in for some big surprises. The racist sheriff, Miss Hazel's platitude-spouting husband, and the wives of Delphi society are all going to learn what can happen when two women finally find their strength.

This novel is a reworking of an earlier work, The View from Delphi. There is a very interesting Historical Note at the end, and a very personal explanation of the characters of Miss Hazel and Vida. Despite the fact that the novel starts out kind of slow, we have to keep reading to learn more about these people. Odell has realistically captured a most difficult time in U.S. history, and it is a pleasure to follow along with him.

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