Jessilyn Lassiter is waiting for her parents, and especially handsome Luke Talley, to notice that at 18 years old she is no longer a child. In the small town of Calloway, Virginia in 1938, Jessilyn thinks she is ready to take her place as Luke’s wife and a full-fledged member of the community, but her community is in turmoil during this long, hot summer – a young, black doctor, Tal Pritchett, has come to town, and the Klan is active once more.
Jessilyn is the bridge between the black and white communities as she witnesses both the destroying influence of the racial threats and the growing love between Tal and her best friend, Gemma. The tension comes to the boiling point when Jessilyn’s neighbor, Miss Cleta, accepts Tal’s treatment – and the Klan cannot overlook the fact that a white woman is treated by a black doctor.
The racial prejudice that simmers beneath the surface of this peaceful town is ugly, and author Jennifer Erin Valent treats it with a matter of fact distance that makes Jessilyn’s experiences all the more realistic. Jessilyn hates the Klan and what they stand for, but it is her hate and rage that finally cause her to understand the faith in God that her parents, Luke and Gemma have.
Tyndale House publishers provided a copy of this book for review.