Told in two timelines, this historical mystery focuses on the 1960’s voters registration civil rights initiative in the southern states. The Summer Community Organization And Political Education (SCOPE) Project was a movement where young White men and women canvassed door to door in rural Black counties encouraging the citizens to register to vote. Though voting was legal for all citizens, law makers and enforcers in these southern states did everything they could to make it difficult and often impossible for Black southerns to vote.
An informative look at this important time in our history. I recognize and appreciate all the research that would have went into creating this story. Learning about SCOPE was fascinating. The dedication of these members was inspiring and hopeful, especially coming from such a dark and difficult time where it was a constant challenge and often dangerous to move forward and try to make change.
Diane Chamberlain does an excellent job educating her readers on this important civil rights movement, however, I had no connection to the characters. I appreciate this for being an educational read only. The mystery, the storyline, the characters — none of it worked for me which is very unusual for this author. While the plot involved very important subject matter, it was not conveyed in a convincing manner. I had zero connection to the main character in either timeline which prevented me from feeling any sort of investment.
The Past timeline ending is intense, but I wasn’t emotionally involved so it lacked the powerful punch it should have had. The Present Day storyline was dull and predictable.
Overall, this was and informative and educational read, but not an entertaining or enjoyable one. I am a big fan of this author and would rank this book my least favourite of hers. I encourage you to pick up any of this authors other work before this one.
What I loved and didn’t love as much
Diane Chamberlain grabbed my attention right from the start while creating some intriguing suspense around a hostile mysterious woman who comes to warn Kayla about her dream home. Located in the small town of Round Hill, North Carolina, it is the last house on a street that has only one other house on it. The story has Chamberlains’ classic conflict elements with complicated dynamics while weaving together two timelines; however, some parts of the story felt more convenient rather than complex.
I loved the backdrop to the story that focused on the civil rights movement and the summer program SCOPE that mainly recruited white, Northern college students to prepare Black Southerners for voting. However, the story gets lost in the weeds with all the telling of what is happening around the characters day to day life. So much time is spent on Ellie’s struggles to convince everyone to allow her to join the movement, it slowed down the story for me. What starts as Ellie fighting the good fight drags on losing stream and turning more into her selfish fight. Her character becomes more of a “white saviour,” and it was hard to sympathize with her sacrifices. And we were told a few times what those sacrifices were through her storyline.
I enjoyed how the two timelines merged, building tension right up to the explosive conclusion. However, the journey to get to that exciting ending was a slow one.
We received copies from the publisher