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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.