Sunday, March 20, 2011

Deed So by Katharine Russell

Haddie Bashford has lived her whole life in the Tidewater region of Maryland.  Now in the 1960's as Haddie becomes a teenager, everything seems to be changing along with her change from a child to a young woman.  She has retained the same friends, but she's starting to notice boys, and they are starting to notice her back.  Haddie struggles against the mindset of her small town, and tells everyone she can't wait to grow up and leave.

Big changes are happening in this area of the country.  The young men are leaving town, going to war in a strange place called Vietnam, some never to return and some to return changed forever.  Relations between the races are changing.  The changes cause rifts between neighbors and even members of the same family as each person attempts to deal with the changes and how the town is becoming something new.

In this year, very bad things are changing.  There is a killing, some call murder, some call justified.  Perhaps in retaliation, or perhaps as a result of protesters who are in town to attend the murder trial, there are fires.  At first the fires are not that serious; an old barn, a field.  But soon the arsonist draws blood, and the deaths associated with the fires cause even more tension.  Haddie and her family are drawn into the events as town leaders, and what occurs will insure that nothing will be the same again.

Katherine Russell grew up in the country that is the book's setting, and she gets the descriptions and the feel of the Tidewater exactly right.  Readers who lived in this area or those who lived elsewhere but in this time period will recognize the settings and the events that changed the entire nation.  This book is recommended for readers who are interested in mystery, and who are interested in how a town changes and adapts over the years. 

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