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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. “In her rich, absorbing debut, actress Nicholas (Room 222; In the Heat of the Night) follows a young woman South to “trench Mississippi, gutbucket Mississippi” during the summer of 1964. The daughter of a Detroit bar owner/numbers runner and his estranged, class-conscious ex-wife (whose light complexion enables her to pass as white), Celeste Tyree has enjoyed a comfortable, sheltered middle-class life for all of her nearly two decades. But when activists talking of nonviolent revolution visit her Ann Arbor college campus, she determines to go South to help register blacks to vote. It’s a decision she shares with her stern father, Shuck, in a “By the time you read this” letter, and Shuck’s self-identification as a race man wars with his concern for his daughter. Part of what drives wide-eyed Northerner Celeste is her sense that her life little matches common black experience; her work in Mississippi is an attempt to validate her identity as a black woman as much as it is a journey to help lift the veil of oppression. Nicholas tests her protagonist’s mettle in multiple ways, and Celeste finds previously untapped reserves of strength, learning lessons about activism and secrets about her own family. Sometimes gorgeous, sometimes terrifying, this novel marks the debut of a talented writer.”
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From award-winning actress Denise Nicholas: a ten-year anniversary reissue of her powerful and dramatic coming of age story set in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964. Freshwater Road has been called one of the best novels written about the Civil Rights Movement. Nicholas herself has been praised repeatedly over the years for her beautiful prose and is continually mentioned along with Alice Walker and Ernest J. Gaines as the most important novelists documenting this era.