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Reviewed by Deborah Lloyd for Readers' Favorite
House of Seven is a satire on how life was in 1913 Mississippi. The central character, Beth DuBard, was a twenty-six-year-old spinster and writer, living with her parents and crotchety aunt, Miss Genie. An African-American couple, Trousdale and Rosa Linda Miller, lived in the same community. Trousdale was charged with poisoning a well, killing a neighbor’s cow – a false charge. As he knew his life was in danger, he left the area. At the same time, Beth inherited a house and a newspaper business in Taylorsburg from her uncle. She took Rosa Linda with her, as she was now targeted by some of the townspeople, and she also took Aunt Genie. As Beth forged a new life in Taylorsburg, other characters joined her circle of family and friends. In House of Seven by Mary Lou Cheatham, an intriguing story unfolds.
There is an interesting balance of happiness and sadness in this satire. The terror of racism in the decades after slavery ended is chillingly depicted. While Trousdale and Rosa Linda literally had to leave their home and dreams for the future, both find happiness again. Aunt Genie says exactly what she thinks, which adds many laughable, and sometimes shocking, moments to the story. In Taylorsburg, Beth has a chance of finding love and a fulfilling career. Although the plot includes a number of storylines, the author crafted a flowing, easy-to-read tale. Author Mary Lou Cheatham has written a story with many realistic characters, set in a difficult era. Despicable actions by some are juxtaposed against heartwarming characters – House of Seven is a thought-provoking read.