Most white folks refer to Riggins Row as a shanty town. No white man would dare show up there unless it was daylight. No self-respecting white woman would be caught there at all. But for Johnny Ruth and Hessie, it’s home. All of their relatives had lived and died right there on the Row.
Johnny Ruth and Hessie grew up together, becoming best friends and neighbors, living side by side on Riggins Row in the middle of a small rural town in Tennessee. It’s 1953, and both women are domestic maids who feel privileged to be working for prominent families who treat them well. It’s a better situation than most other domestics have in these parts.
Johnny Ruth works for the Porters, the wealthiest family in the county. Charles Porter, a well-to-do attorney, is closely connected to the Ku Klux Klan. His beautiful wife, Savannah, is concealing her sordid, secretive past. Unlike her husband, however, Savannah doesn’t have a racist bone in her body. When Charles hires Jasper Thomas, a black man, to be Savannah’s driver, he has no idea that Jasper and Savannah will become best friends and confidants, adding fuel to an already smoldering fire within the community.
Quick to notice this friendship, Johnny Ruth warns them of the far-reaching affects this taboo relationship could have—not only on them, but their families, friends, and possibly the whole town.
About Suzann Cordell
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Published February 25, 2013
History, Literature & Fiction, Romance.