About the Book:
Book: When Dignity Came to Harlan
Author: Rebecca Duvall Scott
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Release date: January 17, 2021
I made up my mind right then and there that I would just have to wade into this move like wading into a pond or lake I’d never seen before – slow and steady, feeling around for my footing and trying to avoid the sharp edges at the bottom that you never see coming.
News of what really happened to me – to us – spread through town like wildfire. It caught from one dry gossip tree to another and burned them to the ground with shame.
“Y’can do this, child – show ’em why I call y’Dignity,” my old friend winked at me.
Skillfully written and sure to draw you in to its pages, When Dignity Came to Harlan is set in the early 1900s and follows twelve-year-old Anna Beth Atwood as she leaves Missouri with her family dreaming of a better life in the coal-rich mountains of Harlan County, Kentucky. Anna Beth’s parents lose everything on the trip, however, and upon asking strangers to take their girls in until they get on their feet, Anna Beth and her baby sister are dropped into the home of Jack and Grace Grainger – who have plenty of problems of their own. Anna Beth suffers several hardships during her time in Harlan, and if it wasn’t for her humble and wise old friend who peddles his wisdom along with his wares, all would be lost.
Based on a true family history, this is a story of heartbreak and hope, challenges and perseverance, good and evil, justice and merciful redemption. It exemplifies the human experience in all its many facets and shows what it means to have real grit.
Take the journey with us and see how, with the unseen hand of God, one girl changed the heart and soul of an entire town.
When I’m looking at books available for review any book that is not straight up romance will catch my eye. When Dignity Came to Harlem sounded quite interesting and very different. The fact that it was based on a true story was also appealing; that is my favourite type of fiction. The description sounded like a book I would really enjoy so I requested it. When I got into it, I wasn’t sure I would actually like it, though. For the first several chapters I only kept reading because I had agreed to read and review it. I struggled with the dialect that was written out all the time; that’s just not my style of book. However, by the time I was about halfway through I could hardly stop thinking about this book. Most of the time I have less than five minutes at a time to read, and then I have to put the book down and get back to whatever it is it needs done. Most of the time I have no trouble doing that. But this book however, was a lot harder to do that with than most books. I really could not tell which way the story was going to go and I just had to find out what happened to Anna Beth.
Every emotion imaginable is present in the story. Love, sadness, despair, hope, peace and joy—I felt all of those with Anna Beth as I read When Dignity Came to Harlem. Even though she experienced severe misstreatment, she also experienced deep love. Don’t pick this book up if you want romance. It isn’t there. If, however, you like to read books about how people can overcome trials victoriously with God’s help this is a book for you. I enjoyed learning, at the back of the book, what was true and what was fiction in the story. This author has done a great job of taking stories from her grandmother’s life and weaving them together into this book. For awhile, I was sure I would not like this book, but I changed my mind.
WARNING: A rape is described in chapter 14, and a beating in chapter 17. Chapter 1: Darn it. Chapter 4: gee, chewed the heck out of it. Chapter 10: try so darn hard.
I received a review copy of this book from the author, and these are my honest thoughts about it. Links may be affiliate links, which will benefit Esther’s website if purchases are made through them.
About the Author:
Rebecca Duvall Scott is an award-winning author with titles holding #1 bestseller within her publishing companies long after release. Her first work was self-help memoir, Sensational Kids, Sensational Families: Hope for Sensory Processing Differences, which she wrote in the years following her son’s sensory processing disorder diagnosis and their family’s successful treatment plan. While her special-needs advocacy helping parents, teachers, and professionals better understand individuals with SPD has a large part of her heart, her roots have always been in historical fiction. Her long-awaited Christian historical fiction novel, When Dignity Came to Harlan, was based on her great-grandmother’s childhood, and Teaching Dignity continues the tender and heroic story. She looks forward to writing more in both the Dignity and Sensational Kids series.
In addition to writing, Rebecca enjoys family, church, educating her children at home, painting, and directing a local homeschool cooperative organization where she works hard to accommodate all special needs.
More from Rebecca:
From the time I was a little girl, my grandmother would gather me around her kitchen table – usually with homemade peach pies – and tell me stories of our forebears. I found the experiences of those who came before me to be both tragic and joyful, but most of all I found them worthy of being told and never forgotten. When I was 16, I started taking notes on everything my grandmother could remember about her mother (one of the humblest and most heroic of my ancestors) and as a senior in college, I turned in the first 70 pages of the manuscript based on her childhood, When Dignity Came to Harlan. I’ll never forget how on graduation day, my creative writing teacher shook my hand and said, “Rebecca, please finish the story.” It took years to finish my debut novel… I think because I had to grow up and develop a deep enough emotional well to do it justice… but finish the story I did. Little did I know, however, this bestselling and award-winning book, the one I was always meant to write, would be the starter of a new, yet powerfully old-fashioned, Christian historical fiction series!
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