The Undertaker's Assistant by Amanda Skenandore Kensington Books Kensington Historical Fiction
Pub Date 30 Jul 2019
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 . . .
The book The Undertaker’s Assistant is about Effie a black woman born into slavery. Escaping that life as a child she is taken in by an army surgeon and wife during the War and taught to read and right.
Given the opportunity to leave as a free woman she travels to New Orleans where she works as an embalmer with a local funeral director.
The characters are well-written and Effie’s journey is described so well you feel as if you are there along side her experiencing everything she is experiencing.
One thing I found helpful was the suggested question guide it allowed me to really understand the book.
I was provided this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book for anyone who loves reading historical novels. 📕👍🏼
I GIVE IT A 5 STAR: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️