Wednesday, 14 August 2013
The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore
The story is set in the Appalachian Mountains and starts in 1974 when sixteen year old Emmalee gets a job making collars at The Tennewa Shirt Factory, it's here she meets Leona Lane. We jump forward a few years later and Emmalee is now an unmarried mother with a young baby daughter, her own mother died when she was a child, her father drinks too much and he has never been much of a parent. Leona offers Emmalee and the baby a place to stay with her and her husband in their trailer, it isn't much but it's clean and tidy and she'll be safe and well looked after. However, then tragedy strikes, Leona and her husband both die in an accident, a grief stricken Emmalee decides to make Leona's burying dress but not everyone in the small southern community is happy that an unmarried mother is allowed to do this for a christian woman, and others don't think she's capable of bringing up her child properly on her own.
At first I found The Funeral Dress slow and I wasn't sure where it was going but it's worth sticking with, it's a touching story and I was rooting for Emmalee all the way through the book, there are also chapters telling us about Leona's past, some of which is heartbreaking. Worth a read if you enjoy southern fiction.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5