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Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite
Blackberry Road by Jodi Lea Stewart is historical fiction at its finest. Biddy Woodson comes from a large sharecropper family and has had to learn life the hard way, with no small amount of cussing along the way. One afternoon, a neighbor is found dead, and a tiny bit of evidence leads to the sheriff arresting Mr. Leroy. But Biddy knows Mr. Leroy; he’s a kind man who wouldn’t harm anyone or anything. She thinks the sheriff has it in for the sharecroppers and is determined to prove he’s wrong. But she might have bitten off more than she can chew as haunting sounds drift from the woods, and she’s plunged into a deep, disturbing mystery as the events of the summer of 1934 come to light and shock the community.
Blackberry Road by Jodi Lea Stewart offers a fascinating insight into the lives of sharecroppers in 1930s America, just after the Great Depression. It is, first and foremost, a murder mystery, but there’s much more to it. Ms. Stewart has woven a rich story of family, friendship, and truth mixed with murder and prejudice. This is a wonderful tale told in the first-person perspective, and the research Ms. Stewart must have done shines through realistically with incredibly likable characters. The main protagonist, teenager Biddy, is highly entertaining, weaving humor through a serious story, and you will love her tenacity and joie de vivre. It is intriguing, with the addition of several recipes from the era, and will keep you hooked from start to finish.