Review: IN THE FIELDS by Willow Aster

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1971—In the tiny, backward town of Tulma, Tennessee, optimistic, bookish Caroline Carson unwittingly finds herself in the middle of a forbidden romance. Severely neglected by her family and forced to flee Tulma to protect her secrets, Caroline’s young life comes crashing down around her. She finds refuge in a new town, but the past always has a way of stretching around time and stirring up trouble.When a new love comes into her life, she has to decide if she can give her heart to someone else, or if she will always be tied to someone she can’t have.
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REVIEW:

In the Fields takes a step back in time to 1971. Caroline Carson is a nice young girl.  Her stolen glances, hand-holding, and conversations with Isaiah Washington make her unmeasurably happy.  Yet their affection for each other has to remain hidden because Isaiah is black and Caroline is white.  When the unspeakable happens Caroline is forced to flee her hometown of Tulma and in turn the love of her life, Isaiah.
Caroline is a sweet girl who has had to grow up too soon.  When other kids were thinking about summer vacations Caroline was working to support and take care of herself. Both of her parents literally abandoned her.  Isaiah wants nothing more than to take care of Caroline and cherish her for the rest of her life.  Once circumstances beyond their control force them apart will they find each other and love again?

My heart broke for Caroline and Isaiah.  I was exasperated that her parents had so little concern for her well being.  As a young child she took care of them by doing all of the cooking and cleaning and by the time she was high-school age she was on her own fending for herself.  What kind of parents leaves their child 100% alone?  Her one grasp at happiness was literally ripped from her life in one afternoon.  The crimes committed against her were atrocious and so sad.  Isaiah was so loving and caring.  Even knowing the danger that he was in he was still a true hero and gentleman.

I loved reading this southern novel.  Reading about the southern ladies and food brought a smile to my face and It also brought to light the long-forgotten issue of interracial marriage.  I really felt as though I had stepped back in time and was experiencing their pain at being discriminated against.  

The book has an almost innocent quality to the love story.  Simple, sweet, yet deep and meaningful love.  Love that endures racism, hatred, hardship, and time, yet perseveres.  4.5 stars for In the Fields! 


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