Indie Next ListJanuary 2013
The nature of this wonderful novel set in small-town Oklahoma is like its characters -- raucous, messy, uncertain, and foolishly brave. After a surprise immigration raid on Mexicans that scoops up even some respected citizens, everyone struggles to understand where they stand and how to act. This is a large, kind-hearted story of less than perfect folks caught in a maelstrom while still trying to abide by their ethical and spiritual beliefs. Askew's story is a most timely look at who is welcome into our lives and how we express and share compassion even when times are tough and language is a barrier. -- Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield's Books, Sebastopol, CA
It's 2008, and Sweet Kirkendall's life is unraveling: her father is in jail for harboring undocumented Mexicans, her husband is away working, her young son is turning into a bully, she's a full-time caretaker for an invalid elderly family member, and now Sweet has to take in her orphaned ten-year-old nephew, Dustin, because his grandpa has been jailed. A contemporary everywoman, Sweet struggles to hold her family together under pressures from within and without. She has little money, no help, and surely no time to truck with current political issues--until they come roaring into her life via a new state immigration law, a fractured family, a lost child, an ambitious legislator, a grandstanding sheriff, a niece in desperate need of help, and the national news media camped on her doorstep.
In a novel that tackles hot-button subjects--immigration, religion, civil rights, small-town politics, and the everyday struggles of working families--Rilla Askew vividly weaves together an authentic and compelling narrative with grace and humor.