About the Book
Sixteen-year-old Lorena Leland’s dreams of a rich and fulfilling life as a writer are dashed when the stock market crashes in 1929. Seven years into the Great Depression, Rena’s banker father has retreated into the bottle, her sister is married to a lazy charlatan and gambler, and Rena is an unemployed newspaper reporter. Eager for any writing job, Rena accepts a position interviewing former slaves for the Federal Writers’ Project. There, she meets Frankie Washington, a 101-year-old woman whose honest yet tragic past captivates Rena.
As Frankie recounts her life as a slave, Rena is horrified to learn of all the older woman has endured―especially because Rena’s ancestors owned slaves. While Frankie’s story challenges Rena’s preconceptions about slavery, it also connects the two women whose lives are otherwise separated by age, race, and circumstances. But will this bond of respect, admiration, and friendship be broken by a revelation neither woman sees coming?
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In My Opinion
In Under the Tulip Tree, Michelle Shocklee tackles two dark periods in American history—the Great Depression and the Civil War era—with truth, respect, and grace.
The Federal Writers Project introduces Rena to Frankie, and just like Rena, I was drawn into this woman’s story. It’s not an easy one to hear. Injustice has been carried out by human beings since God created us (just open your Bible to Genesis and you’ll find plenty of it there).
Shocklee writes a beautiful story of two women changed by circumstances and fighting for their lives in different ways. There may many years between them and their social classes are almost as far apart, but these two connect in such a wonderful and heartfelt, often heartbreaking way, their stories will remain with me.
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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