Where Dew Drops Shine Bright

Where Dew Drops Shine Bright

A Dramatized Family History (Tall Cotton Rising)

Fiction - Historical - Personage
226 Pages
Reviewed on 02/03/2017
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Gisela Dixon for Readers' Favorite

Where Dew Drops Shine Bright: A Dramatized Family History (Tall Cotton Rising) by Reginald C. Holmes is a fictionalized memoir of Reginald’s own family and ancestors, ranging back to three or more generations. Where Dew Drops Shine Bright begins with an introduction by Reginald of his own family and upbringing, and his ancestors who grew up and lived in the racially segregated South during the early and middle part of the twentieth century. The novel then begins with the stories and day-to-day lives of ancestors that grew up in a rural town in Mississippi as former slaves after slavery had been legally abolished, but Jim Crow laws, the Ku Klux Klan, white supremacist groups, and lynchings were still the norm, and where the law always favored the white race. The stories continue down to the family’s move to the northern cities, the rise through poverty, and Reginald’s own mother’s story as she strives to instill the values of her ancestors in her children. This book is a result of that teaching and a raw, genuine glimpse into history.

I found Where Dew Drops Shine Bright to be absolutely fascinating, right from page one. Hearing actual first-person stories, albeit fictionalized, of growing up during the era of segregation and discrimination was inspiring, especially hearing how far the family comes through grit, determination, and respect for the values of education. The writing is crisp and engaging and kept me reading right from the first page to last. I also loved the collection of old family photographs that really bring the narrative to life. Although this is a fictionalized memoir, the fact that the book is based on actual history makes it even more special. Overall, this is a great book that I would highly recommend to anyone interested in American history, and the issues of slavery, race, and discrimination that are an inherent part of it.

Geree McDermott

After reading only a few pages of the gripping historical fiction, Where Dew Drops Shine Bright: Dramatized Family History (Tall Cotton Rising) by Reginald C. Holmes, I felt transported to Bethel, Mississippi in the midst of poor sharecroppers. Spanning the years from 1908 to 1945, Mr. Holmes skillfully tells the story of three strong women who live amid danger, poverty, and domestic abuse. The story woven among the three women and their families tells how, through their strength and determination, they survived in spite of hardship, intimidation, humiliation, and despair.

In Where Dew Drops Shine Bright, Mr. Holmes begins each chapter with a certain year. In order to refresh our memories, he provides a brief list of the current events, including the number of those lynched in Mississippi during that year. It was horrific and dangerous to be African American, poor and under educated, living in an environment ruled by white people you could not trust.

Throughout Where Dew Drops Shine Bright, Mr. Holmes so adeptly communicates the emotions of the characters that I could feel their fear, heartache, embarrassment, uncertainty, suspicion, and tenacity, and to read real life accounts of their actual experiences was disturbing and heartbreaking, as well as terrifying. I found myself tense and expectant while I read because I was worried about what would happen next. Reginald C. Holmes has written a magnificent historical fiction and for that reason I give Where Dew Drops Shine Bright: Dramatized Family History (Tall Cotton Rising) five stars.

Natasha Jackson

Where Dew Drops Shine Bright is the interconnected story of three generations of women in the deep south. This is a dramatized family history and, boy, is it ever packed with drama! The story opens with two women and a man making a deal that will forever impact on each of them. The choices these three make are in turn heart-wrenching and understandable. As the book progresses, Reginald Holmes’ story of heartbreak and survival in Mississippi becomes an interwoven tale of the stories and behaviors each generation passes on, inherits, and relives. This is a powerful tale of family and struggle and picking up the pieces.

At times, reading Where Dew Drops Shine Bright was painful, but somehow it felt different reading it knowing that these were real people rather than just another tale from a history book. Reginald Holmes puts you right smack in the middle of this family, and black history in general, with the language, the setting of every scene, and even something as small as ‘boiled chitlins.’ I am always wary of these tales since they are often heartbreaking, but Mr. Holmes wrote a story of triumph, of making it, and most importantly, of family. The Hollinshed family, both factual and dramatized, are an amazing lot who fought many hardships to end up with a fantastic tale of family and determination to do better, to be better, and to make better for future generations. The story is well written and believable, and more than a little inspiring.