Mudbound by Hillary Jordan
Published by: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
Published on: March, 2009
Page Count: 340
Genre: Historical Fiction
For Consideration: Violence and racist language
Format: audio book purchased through Audible.com
Availability: hardcover, paperback, audio book, and eBook
Mudbound is the story of a woman who falls in love with a man whose one true love is the land. Laura gives up all hope of marriage until Henry McAllen comes along. This was a relief to her because, just after World War II, spinsters were still seen as a hardship on their families. While Henry is a nice gentleman, he’s not what anyone might call passionate. He’s especially not passionate like his brother Jamie is. Still, Laura finds contentment in her married life to Henry, living not too far from her family in her hometown. She soon becomes a mother of two daughters. Her world is turned upside down, however, when Henry moves the family along with his father from the city to an isolated farm in rural Mississippi. A farm Laura and her girls call Mudbound.
- Meghan at Medieval Bookworm recently wrote the best review I’ve read of this novel. I agree with everything she says about it and I’m not even going to try to match it.
- I read this book on audio. The narrators were all really good, although the narrators for Laura and Ronsil were by far the best.
- I spent most of my time with this novel angry. I was angry at the injustice that 1) a man could drag his wife to hell and back if he wanted to because he was her husband and 2) that a simple difference in pigmentation meant the difference between coming and going as you pleased and being forced to exit a store by the back door.
- Although he wasn’t an outwardly or maybe even purposefully evil man, I truly hated Henry McAllen. He took advantage of every situation – a young woman nearly a spinster, the tenant farmers on the land he bought, the racial climate of his age. He may have thought he was a good man, but he made his happiness king and punished those who didn’t bow to his will. I cannot recall ever wanting to shoot a character in a book before Mudbound.
The amount of emotion this novel stirred up in me says more about Hillary Jordan’s writing than anything else I can say. This is not an easy read, but it is quite worthwhile.
In addition to Meghan, you can check out reviews of Mudbound by the following bloggers: