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Review and Giveaway: "The Undertaker's Assistant" by Amanda Skenandore






Synopsis:

Set during Reconstruction-era New Orleans, and with an extraordinary and unforgettable heroine at its heart, The Undertaker’s Assistant is a powerful story of human resilience–and of the unlikely bonds that hold fast even in our darkest moments.
“The dead can’t hurt you. Only the living can.”Effie Jones, a former slave who escaped to the Union side as a child, knows the truth of her words. Taken in by an army surgeon and his wife during the War, she learned to read and write, to tolerate the sight of blood and broken bodies–and to forget what is too painful to bear. Now a young freedwoman, she has returned south to New Orleans and earns her living as an embalmer, her steady hand and skillful incisions compensating for her white employer’s shortcomings.
Tall and serious, Effie keeps her distance from the other girls in her boarding house, holding tight to the satisfaction she finds in her work. But despite her reticence, two encounters–with a charismatic state legislator named Samson Greene, and a beautiful young Creole, Adeline–introduce her to new worlds of protests and activism, of soirees and social ambition. Effie decides to seek out the past she has blocked from her memory and try to trace her kin. As her hopes are tested by betrayal, and New Orleans grapples with violence and growing racial turmoil, Effie faces loss and heartache, but also a chance to finally find her place . . .
 My Thoughts:  The Undertaker's Assistant is a beautiful story with an amazing cast of characters.  The author brings to life the city of New Orleans in the post Civil War era and it's complicated politics.  The author did a great job of giving the reader a view of the different parts of New Orleans and what they would have looked like.  Her descriptions of the city are fantastic!  
 Effie was such an endearing and fascinating character.  The fact that she was a female undertaker was an intriguing concept in and of itself but Effie's past and her upbringing made her into an incredibly unique character and story.  It was so unlike anything I've read before and I liked that she was such a complex female character.  She was very much unlike any character I've seen before and the reader gets to follow her as she not only discovers her past but also who she is and who she aspires to be.  She really is an admirable character and I so enjoyed getting to know her.  I also really enjoyed seeing the politics of the era play out through Effie's eyes though it was very frustrating to see the South holding on to it's racist institutions and people powerless to stop it. 
As Effie made friends, she definitely started to come out of her shell but some of her friends were questionable and it was heartbreaking watching her realize who her true friends were and who wasn't to be trusted.  Her romance with Samson was  awkward and I kind of felt bad seeing how naive she was.  I also thought the ending was a little too fast compared to the pacing of the rest of the story.  I like how she ended the story but I really wanted to know more!  That being said, I really liked this book and it was refreshing to read something a little different. 3 1/2 stars.
About the Author:



Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer and registered nurse. Between Earth and Sky was her first novel. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Readers can visit her website at www.amandaskenandore.com.

FACEBOOK | TWITTER | GOODREADS

 

Giveaway:

During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two signed copies of The Undertaker’s Assistant by Amanda Skenandore! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
Giveaway Rules
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.


 

 

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