- Author: Bette Lee Crosby
- Expected Publication January 2015 by Bent Pine Publishing
- Category: Historical Fiction
It’s 1946. The war is over. Millions of American soldiers are coming home and Benjamin Church is one of them. After four years of being away he thought things in Alabama would have changed, but they haven’t. Grinder’s Corner is as it’s always been–a hardscrabble burp in the road. It’s not much, but it’s home.
My thanks to Bette Lee Crosby for sending me an advance e-copy for review
When Benjamin meets the beautiful Delia Finch in Twin Pines, the nearest town to Grinder’s Corner, it’s love at first sight. As their relationship deepens Delia and Benjamin spend as much time together as they can manage.
Delia’s father, the preacher in Twin Pines, is a harsh and cold man. He disowns his daughter when he learns she is pregnant and planning to marry Benjamin and forbids his wife to see or speak to their daughter. Delia knows forgiveness is not in her father’s nature and what he preached was most definitely not what he practiced. Delia moves to Grinder’s Corner with Benjamin and gains some comfort with Otis as her father figure.
You might think I’m a fool standing there, letting Mister Finch beat on me as he did, but I figured if he got enough revenge he’d go easier on Delia. ‘Course, that ain’t what happened.
I can understand him being mad, but I sure can’t understand him saying those awful things to his own daughter. When he called her a whore, it was all I could do not to tear into him. In my head I kept thinking he’s Delia’s daddy, and when he gets over his mad he’ll forgive her. Even when he said to get out of his house and never come back, I figured Delia’s mama would step in and put a stop to it but Mister Finch wasn’t listening to anybody – mot me, not Delia, and not even her mama.
Alabama in the 40’s and 50’s is a tough place to live for coloured folk with the white/black segregation everywhere. Benjamin and his father, Otis, eke out a living growing seasonal produce. The tiny surrounding community of mixed race families live peacefully together but this isn’t the case across the South in general. Benjamin is a good, hard-working man with decent values and a sense of pride. Delia and their son, Isaac come first, always, and he will do whatever he has to, to support and care for them. They live through good times and not so good times, then one day Benjamin’s world is turned upside down, never to be the same, and he feels the full force of the colour divide. Unable to reconcile his sense of injustice he decides on a complete change for himself and Isaac.
The significance of the title ‘Passing Through Perfect’ is a lovely touch. I wondered how Benjamin’s story would tie in with Wyattsville. I do like the way characters from previous stories are integrated into later ones.
I love the way Bette Lee Crosby tells a story, this one mostly from Benjamin’s point of view with individual perspectives beginning each chapter. It’s a very moving and powerful tale, the prejudice and intolerance of the time show both sides of human nature regardless of skin colour. Benjamin’s acknowledgement of what he considers his place in society is undeniably apparent and is accepted as just the way things are. Despite that and the hardships and suffering Benjamin stays true to his own individuality.
An uplifting story of family, love, kindness and hope, despite some people’s less than commendable behaviour and attitudes.