The Orphan Mother: A Novel

The Orphan Mother: A Novel

by Robert Hicks

Paperback(Reprint)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446581677
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 09/05/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 463,084
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.87(d)

About the Author

Robert Hicks is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Widow of the South and A Separate Country. He lives in Tennessee.

Hometown:

Franklin, Tennessee

Date of Birth:

January 30, 1951

Place of Birth:

West Palm Beach, Forida

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The Orphan Mother 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book. It takes place after the civil war. It is about the killing of a young black man and the love of his mother. I was so surprised it was written by a white man. The author showed such an understanding of the bigotry that was in the town where the son was killed, beautifully written and the author's use of language was wonderful. A good book club book. The story takes place after 1867 but it could be today. Read it in one day, could not put it down
gaele More than 1 year ago
Starting in 1912, the bequest from former slave Mariah Reddick is substantial enough to construct a chapel or a library. Representatives from this black university wish for the building to be named for her, an honor she refuses. It is not who she is that makes the gift possible, it is the journeys that she and others took to get there, and her wish that opportunities for more and different be afforded to others. Slowly from here, we are told of her story as I unfolded during the years after the Civil War. Surrounded by the losers in that conflict, yet “free” Mariah provides a service to the women of Franklin Tennessee, she is a midwife. As the story unfolds, Hicks takes us through the tensions, prejudices and rumors running rife. Ultimately, Mariah’s story touches on life, loss, love, hatred and fears, and shows in ways that are not unique to the human experience. Persevering and moving forward in her search for answers as she overcomes or simply moves on despite obstacles. Surprisingly resonant in today’s climate, the divisions, the outright hostilities and Mariah’s single-minded determination to resolve the mystery surrounding her son’s death are gripping and viscerally impacting. Hicks has managed to open the door to situations of struggle, loss, societal upheaval and the fear-driven rumors that exacerbate situations, building the world in ways that create visual images and emotional reactions from readers. It’s not always pretty, or particularly comfortable to see the naked hatreds, the prejudices and slights that are blatant and more shocking for their normalcy. A wonderful read that leaves a lasting impression, even for those (who like me) have not read A Widow of the South. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Delphimo More than 1 year ago
The Orphan Mother presents a story of the “Negro” after the Civil War, and the times called for great fortitude. The story begins with Mariah Reddick in 1892, getting ready for her demise. But before she dies, Mariah must give a huge donation to a “Negro” college. Next, the reader is taken back to 1867, and the events that condemned Mariah to a childless existence. Mariah, a midwife, has a profession that earns her enough money to eke an existence. Robert Hicks paints a vivid picture of the life of the free slaves, and the feelings of the beaten Southerners after the Civil War. Hicks evokes strong feelings for Mariah, George Tole, and Carrie McGavock. So many of the scenes between Carrie and Mariah provoke strong emotions that the characters become living and believable individuals. Many nuances throughout the story, so the reader must not quickly read each page.
Delphimo More than 1 year ago
The Orphan Mother presents a story of the “Negro” after the Civil War, and the times called for great fortitude. The story begins with Mariah Reddick in 1892, getting ready for her demise. But before she dies, Mariah must give a huge donation to a “Negro” college. Next, the reader is taken back to 1867, and the events that condemned Mariah to a childless existence. Mariah, a midwife, has a profession that earns her enough money to eke an existence. Robert Hicks paints a vivid picture of the life of the free slaves, and the feelings of the beaten Southerners after the Civil War. Hicks evokes strong feelings for Mariah, George Tole, and Carrie McGavock. So many of the scenes between Carrie and Mariah provoke strong emotions that the characters become living and believable individuals. Many nuances throughout the story, so the reader must not quickly read each page.
ladyblue2 More than 1 year ago
Written by the author of The Widow of the South, this is another wonderful book by the masterful storyteller, Robert Hicks. I was captivated by the story of Mariah, and by her struggle for justice and healing after the death of her son. The horrors of the Civil War era are not pleasant to contemplate, but contemplate them we must as it's an important part of our shared history. Robert, in this novel, makes you think as he describes the damning realities of war, its aftermath, and the human condition so very well. His writing draws you into the emotions of pain and sorrow and loss, and hope as experienced by Mariah and brings it home. It's a story of the strength of a mother's love and it held my attention from beginning to end with Robert's use of beautiful prose. Mariah's story will stay with me for a very long time. I highly recommend this novel to anyone but especially for those who enjoy historical fiction.
nolenreads More than 1 year ago
I read this book after reading Widow of the South. Though I can see it as a stand alone, I believe reading WoS added layers to my enjoyment of this book. The Orphan Mother takes place in Franklin, Tennessee. It delves deeply into the life of former slave Mariah Reddick. Her son is a cobbler in town and a very good one. We are introduced to a character named George Tole a black man who fought for the Union as an assassin who builds intricate miniature towns out of scraps. The story is so beautiful and so tragic it is hard to describe without giving away spoilers so I won't. With so many gorgeous passages in the book I am hard pressed to just pick one. Here it is: The dead wore death lightly, but under its weight the living could crumble. There is a bit of Beauty and the Beast in this story. Highly recommended.
KimMc More than 1 year ago
How does a midwife who's birthed an entire town of babies reconcile when that very town slaughters what she holds most dear? How does a man with a spot on rifle shot reconcile himself to his past and the role he's played in this town? Both seek the same justice, yet go about it differently, as they would with someone who greets life and someone who takes it away. Not to mention it's Reconstruction era Tennessee and said characters are African American, one a former slave, one a born freeman; its mighty dicey for sure. In fact finding, Mariah finds more than she bargained for, and realizes that facts aren't wisdom, and therefore aren't the finality that's sought. The stronghold of hope weaves its way throughout the entire story, whether or not the situation is dire or not, it's all that's left to hold onto in life. Hicks wields a powerful story of transformation and redemption through the eyes of a heartbroken, strong, former slave woman. The words he chooses to convey her story are full of strength and prose, relaying a full, ripe story that resonates with our human condition even today.
Mairzydoatz More than 1 year ago
This is the story of Mariah Reddick, a former slave and a skilled midwife, adjusting to life in the Reconstruction-era South, when her only son is murdered. Mariah's pain and anger are mingled with her quest for justice and struggle to be heard. This is a tale that resonates even today: the fight to find one's voice, then having the courage to use it, and sometimes, dealing with the consequences. This is a beautifully written book and I absolutely loved it, from the first page to the last.
WSteele More than 1 year ago
Having been a fan of his writing since The Widow of the South, I've been waiting for this novel for some time. Though such lengthy anticipation can often leave readers disappointed when a book is finally released, every expectation was met with The Orphan Mother. In his third novel, Hicks returns to Franklin, TN for the setting as the story unfolds during Reconstruction, crafting a narrative of race, social justice, and reconciliation that is as applicable today as it was in the 1860s. While the story reminds us that, unfortunately, we have not advanced as far as a society as we might like to think regarding race, Mariah's story gives hope that we can and should be better. For readers who came to like Mariah's character in The Widow of the South, they will soon love her in The Orphan Mother. It's not often that a novel can lead to substantive discussion of such important issues, but Robert Hicks crafts a story that is insightful for those trying to understand the complexities of the post-Civil War south while resonating with our nation today as we come to understand the how much work we have left ahead of us, 150 years later.
elizsavage13 More than 1 year ago
As a fan of The Widow of the South, I had high expectations for this novel. My expectations were not only met, they were far surpassed! This novel is important. It's poignant. It's a powerful work that asks us to walk beside Mariah Reddick as she navigates the complicated social structure after the Civil War. Her narrative, beautifully told and masterfully detailed, gives us a look at the life she leads. Walking beside her, we have a chance to feel something for her struggle: empathy. Her narrative will change our modern conversation from one of blame and misunderstanding to one of intentional and deliberate exchanges of dialogue. This novel will be important for our national growth as we move toward eroding the walls that have for too long separated us.