When There is Trouble in the Air: God Whisper Shouts
by Sarah Smith Ducksworth
Writers' Branding

"If you remember where you come from, it is easier to know where you’re going, and it's clearer to see how to get there."

Lizzie and her husband Ray are embarking on a course towards a new life. It is 1965, and they have graduated from college, exchanged wedding vows, and are moving north to build their future. The world they were born into and are now vacating has evolved, but the shadow of Jim Crow repression will only abate once they cross the Mason-Dixon line. As a young lady, Lizzie witnessed the racism her parents and ancestors faced when a traffic stop by police resulted in her father being belittled and extorted. Lizzie was horrified, as were her sisters, at the sight of her father becoming subservient to the heavy hand of intolerant law enforcement. Lizzie's mother relates stories from her family's past, illustrating how they persevered despite slavery and the discrimination that continued after the Civil War.

Ducksworth has crafted an engaging coming-of-age novel that follows the progress of Lizzie from adolescent to early adult while living in segregated Mississippi. The growth of Lizzie coincides with the flourishing of the civil rights movement, frustration contrasted by hope for the future. The narrative's emotional core is the relationship between Lizzie and her family. Lizzie looks to her parents for guidance in navigating the intolerant world. She may not always agree with their actions but never doubts their love for her and her sisters. The author excels at conveying the generational divide between the young Ellisons and their parents, especially as it relates to patience vs. progress in gaining equality. Overall, Ducksworth has penned an emotionally satisfying and intelligent read.

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