Title: The Year of Jubilee
Author: Cindy Morgan
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Copyright: April 18, 2023
Format: Paperback, 363 Pages
Genres: Historical Fiction, Coming of Age Fiction, Family Saga, Historical Fiction Inspired by Historical Events
The Year of Jubilee is a lyrical coming-of-age novel set against the backdrop of the turbulent South in the early 1960s.
The Mockingbird family has always lived peacefully in Jubilee, Kentucky, despite the divisions that mark their small town. Until the tense summer of 1963, when their youngest child, Isaac, falls gravely ill. Middle sister Grace, nearly fourteen, is determined to do whatever it takes to save her little brother. With her father and mother away at the hospital, Grace is left under the loving but inexperienced eye of her aunt June, with little to do but wait and worry. Inspired by a young teacher’s mission for change, she begins to flirt with danger—and with a gifted boy named Golden, who just might be the key to saving Isaac’s life. Then the unthinkable happens, and the world as she knows it shifts in ways she never could have imagined. Grace must decide what she believes amid the swirling, conflicting voices even of those she loves the most.
From gifted songwriter Cindy Morgan comes this lyrical, tender tale of a girl standing at the threshold of adulthood, learning the depths of the human heart and the bonds of family that bend, break, and bind together over and over again.
Grace Mockingbird is a teenager living in Jubilee, Kentucky, a coal mining town, with her parents and two siblings: Sissy and Isaac. The middle child in the family, she is often at odds with her prim and proper mother, whom she refers to as Virginia. Virginia’s great ambition is to ingratiate herself with the well-to-do ladies in town. Growing up during the conflict-filled years of the 1960s, Grace sees the Civil Rights Movement take shape. When Isaac becomes sick, the Mockingbird family’s world is turned upside down. Grace tries to make sense of everything that is occurring in her world, hoping that her brother’s condition will improve.
This coming-of-age story is written in first person from Grace’s point-of-view. This thoroughly atmospheric novel brings to life the goings-on of a 1960s Southern town. There is a beautiful sense of vulnerability in the characters that makes them feel realistic and relatable. The Mockingbird family, Miss Adams, and the other inhabitants of Jubilee are equally mesmerizing. When I started reading, I was immediately drawn into Grace’s world. There is so much richness and depth explored within the pages. The setting is perhaps my favorite part because of the local color, the Southern culture, and the descriptions of the Civil Rights Movement.
I could not stop reading this beautifully written novel. The author’s note was a wonderful addition to the story and added so much depth.
Originally featured on the History Novel Society website.