An intimate and heart-pounding novel about two families—one black, one white—colliding against the explosive backdrop of the post–Civil War South
The rules are strict and unforgiving. Page shines a hard and lesser-known truth on the laws and customs governing Black/White interaction in the Jim Crow south of 1913 rural Tennessee. Two couples, one Black, the other White risk their futures including their very lives when the White farmer crosses the line of custom to professes aloud his love for the Black woman who has just delivered the biracial child he fathered. A show-down between the White farmer and his Black sharecropper who deserted his wife and four children a year back looms in the minds of both gun-toting men. The White wife condemned to hiding the pain of her betrayal endures in silence. Who wins and who loses will surprise you.
Back Cover Copy
It’s been fifty years since the Civil War ended, but the racial divide is as rigid and unforgiving as ever. For two families in the rural South, that boundary will be crossed.
Alex and Eula Mae McNaughton own a tobacco farm in Tennessee. Black sharecroppers John and Annalaura Welles work it. In this particular summer of 1913, John has left without a word, and Annalaura is expected to bring in the crop by herself. Alone, fearing eviction, and desperate to feed her four children, Annalaura is forced into becoming Alex’s mistress. The only thing forbidden is Alex’s growing affection for Annalaura. She isn’t the only one faced with terrible choices. Eula Mae is waging her own battle against her husband and her assumed indifference. John, too, is bent on revenge. His sudden return will set in motion a devastating chain of events that will change all of their lives forever.