An intriguing title can pull a reader into parting with some money in the bookstore. When that title treads a theme throughout a story taking the reader back into another time, it feels like a promise kept. The title, Midnight Without a Moon and the story from Linda Williams Jackson’s debut novel, fulfills that promise. In an interview on her website, she cites conversations heard in her family followed by her own “what ifs?” as the beginning for her narrative.
Thirteen-year-old Rose Lee Carter can’t wait to get out of Mississippi and follow the Great Migration as her mother and aunt have done. Living with her sharecropping grandparents, she begins to hear adult arguments over the NAACP and voter rights. A wide spectrum from sharecroppers who want to play it safe and not muddy the waters to the activists who want to go door-to-door insisting on voter registration accurately portray the times and feelings within the community. Mixed with big issues of the adult world is Rose’s own discouraging image in the mirror of skin so dark it is like “midnight without the moon.” With tensions already at a peak, an African American boy named Emmitt Till is killed in the next village over, supposedly because he whistled at a white woman.
Linda Jackson’s ability to create multi-dimensional characters, portray an accurate historical time period, and give the spectrum of feelings and reactions to trouble in the air reminded me of Mildred Taylor’s series that includes Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.
I didn’t want to close the book at the end, but Linda Jackson did skillfully what few authors do so well. She brought a satisfying close to the book while leaving a door wide open to the sequel, A Sky Full of Stars, scheduled for January 2018. I have it on my wish list for an ARC from Net Galley and am hoping that Jackson’s Carters will match the number of Taylor’s Logan family books. With any luck, I may get the sequel ahead of time. If I do, I’ll be sure to share another review.