I was sent an ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) of Sherri Wilson Johnson’s new book in exchange for an honest review. First of all I love the cover. It is simply lovely. Now, on to the inside. This book is set a few years after the Civil War. The main character is the daughter of a Florida plantation owner who has been married to her true love for just three years. Lydia has an adventurous spirit and wants to travel and do great things with her life. Eventually overcome by the monotony of the every day, she seeks to do something meaningful with her life and butts heads with her strong-willed husband. The first part of the book is much like the book of Job. Terrible things happen in close succession, forcing our heroine and her family to move to Georgia and start over.
Having been married for fourteen years, I recognized that early marriage stage in Lydia and Hamilton. The author recaptured that first sense of dissatisfaction and tension that one must fight their way through in order to stay married. Lydia and Hamilton struggle. They hurt each other in little ways that feel big at the time. This had the ring of real life to it and as I read, I hoped that Lydia would chose to grow up and find her way to a long and happy marriage. I can tell that the author did a lot of research on the clothing styles, streets, vendors, types of entertainment, and the famous Expo that came to Atlanta. Food and clothing were especially well drawn and I was able to walk the streets of Atlanta with Lydia. A few of the attitudes of the characters seemed too modern to me. The fact that the presence of racism in Georgia shocked Lydia so much seemed unrealistic. I think she would have expected something of the sort. The tight restrictions of proper behavior were not always apparent in this book. The term “African American” also stood out. Rev. Jesse Jackson encouraged the use of “African-American” in 1988 and it has become increasingly popular every since. This felt too modern for a Victorian novel. There was some “emotional telling” and I wished that the heroine could have decided upon a firm goal earlier in the story. But the author ended her tale well and I found myself cheering the heroine on as she battled her prejudiced neighbors and fought to love her husband even as times grew difficult.
If you are interested in “To Laugh Once More” it can be found in both soft cover and e-book form on Amazon. Here is the link.
Thanks so much Sherri for the book and God Bless as you serve Him with words.
The photo is from the Author’s facebook page and belongs to her. I have used it here for review purposes.