Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

jacket image for MudboundMudbound by Hillary Jordan
Published by Algonquin Books

The year is 1946, and city girl Laura is trying to deal with the fact that her husband Henry has decided to move their family to a farm on the Mississippi Delta. The Jim Crow South is like nothing Laura has ever experienced, and every day brings something new for her to adjust to. The war’s ending brings two men to help with the farm – Henry’s younger brother Jamie, and Ronsel, the eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the farm. Ronsel was a hero in the war, but unfortunately back in Mississippi he is seen as less than a man due to the color of his skin. These two men somehow form a friendship, and this friendship sets the stage for the novel’s shattering conclusion.

I wanted to read Mudbound because I thought When She Woke was pretty genius and while I was reading that book, there was something about Jordan’s writing style that I was really drawn to. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I was hoping the same quality would show up in Mudbound and it definitely did. Jordan’s fantastic writing and story-telling ability drew me into this novel from the first page, and I had extreme difficulty putting it down for any stretch of time.

I have to say, though, that although I loved this book it shattered me. I became so invested in these characters that the ending just about killed me. That’s the thing about my experiences with this author so far – she writes these incredibly real characters that become a part of you as you’re reading about them. So when THINGS happen you feel them so very strongly. That’s another thing about this book that worked so well – Jordan is so skilled at bringing the reader in, at giving little hints and clues that things are not going to turn out well so you know to expect something throughout the whole novel. She creates this foreboding atmosphere throughout the entire book, but when it’s finally over, what happened is nothing like what you were anticipating. It’s crazy good writing at its best.

There’s nothing else for me to say except read Mudbound. I absolutely loved it.

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22 thoughts on “Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

  1. I loved When She Woke too and was wondering about this one because it sounds so different than When She Woke. It’s funny how the books that are really good are the ones that can and do cause us to have intense reactions. I’ll definitely be keeping this one in mind!

    1. It is WAY different from When She Woke but completely amazing as well. I totally agree about the truly excellent novels causing such intense reactions.

  2. I have had this book on my radar for YEARS but I keep forgetting that I own it. I’m so glad that you enjoyed it–especially after loving When She Woke. Sometimes when you loooourve one book the rest can be a bit of a bummer.

  3. I was just amazed how different this book was from When She Woke! I actually liked this one much better. But yes, what happened to Ronsel – ugh! And the thing he, in real life he probably would have been thought to have gotten off lucky!

  4. I too loved Mudbound. I could not put the book down. I also agree that the ending left me shattered- I felt so tense wondering how it would end. Haven’t read When She Woke yet but sitting in my TBR pile.

  5. You know, I have never been attracted to this book, there was always something off-putting to me about it, but I must say that your review really makes me want to read this one, and now I am excited about it! You write the best reviews. They always make me anticipate reading the books you rave over. Excellent job with your very enticing review!

  6. Have been following your blog for a while..thanks for the great book suggestions. This book will be one of my next picks. It sounds great.

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