The beginning of this novel really draws you in and leaves you wanting more. However, after about fifty pages or so it starts to lose steam. There came to be far too many characters and far too many tragedies, which were similar in nature over and over again. Yes, such tragedies occurred during this timeframe and most likely to a group such as this but it is a bit tedious to read. The end took back the pace which was set in the beginning, however, the majority of the middle already bogged down the book far too much. The book has a similar feel to The Help, but with vastly different circumstances (although some similarities as well). Unfortunately, this novel does not have the same impact as The Help and leaves you satisfied to finally be done the novel rather than sad to leave the characters. Not a poorly written or terrible novel by any means, but one that does become tedious. I did like the characters, however, especially Lavinia, Mama Mae, Ben and Belle.