- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Unbridled Books; First Trade Paper Edition edition (June 8 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1609530748
- ISBN-13: 978-1609530747
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
- Shipping Weight: 249 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
Stranger Here Below Paperback – Jun 8 2012
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'Stranger Here Below has the feel of an heirloom, treasured stories of friendship, misunderstanding, forgiveness, and mystery. All woven beautifully together by Joyce Hinnefeld's deft, homespun prose. It's a novel I hope mothers and daughters will read together. ... The central characters-Maze and Mary Elizabeth-are coming bravely into the unknown. Enthralled by their journey, I did not want the book to end.' - Patricia Henley, author of In the River Sweet
?'In her lovely new novel, Joyce Hinnefeld introduces us to a fascinating cast of characters-sisters, visitors, pilgrims, strangers-and untangles
the mysteries of their lives with her distinctive grace and delicacy.
She is a remarkable writer who gives her readers pleasures to savor on every page.' - Joanna Scott, author of Follow Me: A Novel
'Lofty plot and cleverly imagined characters... .' - Washington Post
'a multigenerational novel spanning decades rich in history... .
Recommended for its wide appeal to readers seeking
thoughtful, well-written fiction.' - Library Journal --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Joyce Hinnefeld is the author of the acclaimed novel, In Hovering Flight. Her work has appeared in The Denver Quarterly, The Greensboro Review, 13th Moon, the anthology Many Lights in Many Windows: Twenty Years of Great Fiction and Poetry from The Writers Community, and other publications. Her short story collectionTell Me Everything (University Press of New England, 1998) received the 1997 Bread Loaf Writers' Conference Bakeless Prize in Fiction. She is an Associate Professor of English at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
If there was discrimination, i was not aware. After all, the motto was " God hath made of one blood ..". I felt that
most of the students believed in this motto during that time in Berea's history.
Maze harbors her own family stories, thrilled to be at college, sharing a room with Mary Elizabeth. Cox is a talented pianist soon exploited by a college administration that trumpets her as a symbol of diversity, an effective public relations tool. The tension between the two girls troubles Maze, who seeks acceptance by injecting herself into Mary Elizabeth's family life. Meanwhile, Mary Elizabeth finds solace in the music of Debussy, a reminder of a favorite aunt that once lived in Paris. The third, and critical character in the tale is Sister Georgia, an elderly Shaker woman who once offered Maze's mother a job when she desperately need a place for herself and her young daughter. Born in 1872, Georginea Wall is a woman before her time, burdened by the constraints of a patriarchal society. A teacher sixty years ago at Berea, Sister George is the last of her kind, worshipping in her way, offering wisdom to those who care to listen.
On the cusp of a changing world, the two young women face the future, the threads of the past tangling around their best intentions and the resolution of family obligations, Sister Georgia's wisdom lingering. In prose that eases the pain of tragedy and links the dreams of sometimes broken mothers to their daughters, Stranger Here below is filled with southern values, a deep respect for family and the dawning of a new generation to meet the future. Luan Gaines/2010.
The main characters all have one thing in common, the common bond they have is Berea College.
Its 1961 and Amazing Grace Jensen, meets her new roommate Mary Elizabeth Cox at Berea College. Maze was raised by a single mom from Appalachia, and M.E. as Maze liked to call her was the only child of a southern black minister and his wife Sarah. M.E has been sheltered from the truths kept hidden about her mother, truths that isolate her from her talented daughter and husband as well as the women of the community.
Sarah had once been a carefree young girl but tragedy changed all of that for her, and she now barely hangs on, but all her daughter knows is that her mom has "fits"and has been trained what to do when her mother has said fits, but as we know the truth always has a way of coming out, and when Sarah winds up in the county home for coloreds because her dad can no longer take care of her , it takes someone from her mothers past to make M.E. understand the heartaches and tragedy her mother has experienced.
Maze has issues in her family as well, being raised by a single mother that always had to work hard to keep a roof over their heads, when she winds up taking a job at the Shaker Inn, she could have had no idea how it would impact their lives, this is were their lives start to become intertwined with Sister Georgia, the only remaining shaker in the Pleasant Hill shaker community. Sister Georgia came to the Shaker community after becoming tired of living.
Georginea Ward's story takes us back 60 yrs to when she was a teacher at Berea college, she fell in love with a black man which was not accepted by her wealthy father. Georgia ends the relationship but is never really happy and soon wants to stop living, she winds up going back to a place she had visited 30 years earlier, the Shaker community.There she finally finds peace, and acceptance.
I was immediately drawn into this story, the author does an excellent job of transitioning between past and present in the telling of this story, adding so much more depth to the characters. I could really feel sympathy for M.E.'s character, often feeling shame for the way her mother was.
I really enjoyed reading about the Shaker Religion, something I knew very little about. Sister Georgia was such a gem, with such wisdom and knowledge, if one just takes the time to know her.
A story of intertwining lives and the choices they made, makes this a compelling story that is hard to put down.
Even though I was provided a review copy of this book from the publisher, Unbridled Books, it in no way alters my opinion of this book.