Set in Mississippi during the 1960’s, The Help tells the story of Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan, the 23 year-old, college-educated daughter of a cotton farmers and Aibleen, a maid in one of Skeeter’s friend’s homes. Skeeter’s family, like most families in Jackson, has help in their home. But it is how that “help” is treated in the segragation-supporting town that angers and embarrasses Skeeter. Emboldened by a New York City publisher’s suggestion and encouragement and armed with the tales of 12 maids from town, Skeeter enlists Aibleen and they set out to tell the stories of the help in Jackson, Mississippi.
Character-centered, the chapters of this work of historical fiction rotate between different narratives enabling the reader to glimpse into the lives of both the well-to-do and “the help” of Jackson in this time period.
Already on the hold list for this title at your library? Check out some of these works of historical fictions while you are waiting!
We Are All Welcome Here: A Novel by Elizabeth Berg: Also set in the 1960’s in Mississippi; character-centered historical fiction.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows: This story is written as a series of letters between a writer from England and people from the island of Guernsey. Set in the time period after WWII.
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen: Set in another time of change in the U.S., the period during and after the Great Depression, this tale about a boy joining the travelling circus after the death of his parents is a story of hope and survival.
Away by Amy Bloom: A story of a Russian immigrant in the 1920’s attempting to make her way across the U.S. from New York City to the West Coast by herself (and sometimes on foot) in order to find her way back to Russia and her daughter.
People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks: This story of the history of an ancient book with remnants of its previous owners (an insect wing, salt, red wine stain) hidden in its folds is a layered narrative told in several voices.