About the Book
Book: When Dignity Came to Harlan
Author: Rebecca Duvall Scott
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction
Release date: January 17, 2021
I made up my mind right then and there that I would just have to wade into this move like wading into a pond or lake I’d never seen before – slow and steady, feeling around for my footing and trying to avoid the sharp edges at the bottom that you never see coming.
News of what really happened to me – to us – spread through town like wildfire. It caught from one dry gossip tree to another and burned them to the ground with shame.
“Y’can do this, child – show ’em why I call y’Dignity,” my old friend winked at me.
Skillfully written and sure to draw you in to its pages, When Dignity Came to Harlan is set in the early 1900s and follows twelve-year-old Anna Beth Atwood as she leaves Missouri with her family dreaming of a better life in the coal-rich mountains of Harlan County, Kentucky. Anna Beth’s parents lose everything on the trip, however, and upon asking strangers to take their girls in until they get on their feet, Anna Beth and her baby sister are dropped into the home of Jack and Grace Grainger – who have plenty of problems of their own. Anna Beth suffers several hardships during her time in Harlan, and if it wasn’t for her humble and wise old friend who peddles his wisdom along with his wares, all would be lost.
Based on a true family history, this is a story of heartbreak and hope, challenges and perseverance, good and evil, justice and merciful redemption. It exemplifies the human experience in all its many facets and shows what it means to have real grit.
Take the journey with us and see how, with the unseen hand of God, one girl changed the heart and soul of an entire town.
Click here to get your copy!
About the Author
Rebecca Duvall Scott is an award-winning author with titles holding #1 bestseller within her publishing companies long after release. Her first work was self-help memoir, Sensational Kids, Sensational Families: Hope for Sensory Processing Differences, which she wrote in the years following her son’s sensory processing disorder diagnosis and their family’s successful treatment plan. While her special-needs advocacy helping parents, teachers, and professionals better understand individuals with SPD has a large part of her heart, her roots have always been in historical fiction. Her long-awaited Christian historical fiction novel, When Dignity Came to Harlan, was based on her great-grandmother’s childhood, and Teaching Dignity continues the tender and heroic story. She looks forward to writing more in both the Dignity and Sensational Kids series.
In addition to writing, Rebecca enjoys family, church, educating her children at home, painting, and directing a local homeschool cooperative organization where she works hard to accommodate all special needs.
More from Rebecca
From the time I was a little girl, my grandmother would gather me around her kitchen table – usually with homemade peach pies – and tell me stories of our forebears. I found the experiences of those who came before me to be both tragic and joyful, but most of all I found them worthy of being told and never forgotten. When I was 16, I started taking notes on everything my grandmother could remember about her mother (one of the humblest and most heroic of my ancestors) and as a senior in college, I turned in the first 70 pages of the manuscript based on her childhood, When Dignity Came to Harlan. I’ll never forget how on graduation day, my creative writing teacher shook my hand and said, “Rebecca, please finish the story.” It took years to finish my debut novel… I think because I had to grow up and develop a deep enough emotional well to do it justice… but finish the story I did. Little did I know, however, this bestselling and award-winning book, the one I was always meant to write, would be the starter of a new, yet powerfully old-fashioned, Christian historical fiction series!
I love reading historical fiction and thought this book was extremely well written. The story is set in the early 1900s when families were struggling to survive. Anna Beth is such a wonderful character. She seems so much older than twelve with her ability to help her mother with her younger sisters. I loved her deep compassion for her family and how hard she worked. It is never easy to move away from the place you grew up around but Anna Beth trusts her parents. Their decision to pack up their meager belongings and travel to Kentucky was hard on everyone. The author does a great job of giving us a glimpse of what it was like traveling in a wagon for a long period of time. The hope of a brighter future kept their spirits up.
The heartbreaking decision Anna Beth’s parents make when they arrive in Harlan County, Kentucky shocked me. They thought it was the only way to have a chance to make a better life for everyone. I can see the tears stream down Anna Beth’s face as she and her baby sister were left at a strangers farm. She and her little sister are now all alone with people who promised her parents they would take care of them.
The story is hard to read at times as Anna Beth begins to notice that Mr. Grainger isn’t very kind. He expects her to work from dawn to dusk doing hard labor. His attitude towards Anna Beth sent shivers down my spine. Through fights between Grace and her husband, it is clear he is not happy that Anna Beth and her sister are still there longer than expected. This brings Anna Beth to believe that no one wants her as she tries to understand why her parents have never come back for her.
I was horrified at what happened to Anna Beth and was shocked that no one believed her. Why would an adult do such an unthinkable act on a child. I wanted to hug Anna Beth and tell her that God would vindicate her. I loved the elderly man who befriends Anna Beth and takes her to a place where she is safe. This special place is where we have a front row seat to see how a young girl finds freedom and unconditional love. She understands that she is important and wanted as God’s presence surrounds her.
I have some unanswered questions as the story ended too soon for me. I love how we are exposed to the redemption of a character who has felt lost and alone. The question still lingers in my mind about her parents. Do they come back to reunite the family? How will they take the news of what their daughter has gone through? I appreciate the questions at the end of the book. It will make for a great discussion to use in a book club. As I finish my review I think about a young girl who was brave and lived her life with dignity.
I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.
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To celebrate her tour, Rebecca is giving away the grand prize package of signed copies of When Dignity Came to Harlan and Teaching Dignity, a handmade ornament, and popular early 1900s candy!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.