Red Clay and Roses takes the reader into the history of the south. With characters so interesting and believable, the reader effortlessly connects with those who make the story.
As I read, I felt that I was following Hannah in her journey of meeting individuals, learning their histories, and discovering, in some cases, unspeakable truths. Author, Nicholls, raises subjects that were, and in some cases still are, those that society wants to try and overlook. But Red Clay and Roses presents a story about life, and life is seldom untouched by truths, both good and bad. This honesty is evident in Hannah's observations and experiences.
I am impressed by Nicholls' ability to present the south so believably. As a reader, I was taken there. Rich descriptions without being too long-winded and dialect that was both fitting and readable added authenticity to the story.
The only struggle I encountered was mild confusion in the first chapter. I knew the speaker was Hannah, but sometimes the dates of her history were unclear to me; it took me a few pages to register that her story was finally in the present. By the second chapter, this was fully resolved and I did not revisit any form of confusion there on out.
This book was a welcome and attractive read. The presentation of women's rights, civil liberties, and free will against the bacdrop of the deep south was fascinating to me, having not lived it, myself. I was taken to another place.
When I would set the book down, between readings, I would find myself thinking of the characteres - their experiences, the secrets they kept, the silences they chose. These characters became very real to me, and I often found myself feeling their grief, joy, or frustration. Nicolls is masterful in bringing her characters to life, and Red Clay and Roses contains an honest look at history, as well as the rights we have as individuals.
(reviewed 8 days after purchase)