Craig’s novel follows two very different women who help each other come of age.
Craig’s (They Won't Love You if You Cry, 1989) tale spans the early 1900s through the 1950s. Louisa Martin was born twice, once as Obedience, a poor girl in southern Alabama with no hope for the future, and then again as Louisa, a self-made woman with lofty aspirations. Louisa’s shabby upbringing, riddled with neglect and misery, inspires her to run away while her friends start high school. She disappears and changes her name, altering her destiny in the process. She is by no means a typical runaway looking to escape. She plans to make something of herself and leave her past behind. Once in Brownlee, Ala., Louisa dedicates herself to her education, procures tutors in various subjects and finds work as a full-time waitress. Through the connections she begins to make in Brownlee, Louisa finds the most significant one: Claire Hamilton, an aristocratic lady from Hawaii whose friendship becomes crucial to Louisa. Claire wants to see Louisa’s dreams come true. Louisa achieves her educational goals, but one final ambition remains unresolved—that of meeting and marrying her Prince Charming. Through Claire’s encouragement and guidance, magical changes occur at every bend. Louisa and Claire nearly step off the page with their dynamic personalities and wit. At times humorous, at times thoughtful, the prose continually engages. Claire and Louisa’s unlikely friendship surpasses their differences and helps both of them find strength to face some of life’s biggest challenges. This timeless story carries the flavor of the South and delivers a universal theme of self-discovery.
A well-told novel about friends who surpass their differences.