MORNING GLORY AFTERNOON by Irene Bennett Brown

MORNING GLORY AFTERNOON

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fleeing from the death of a boyfriend (for which she blames herself), 17-year-old Jessamyn Faber arrives in Ardensville, Kansas, in 1923, to take a job as the town telephone operator--and becomes enmeshed in some foul Klan doings as well as becoming attached to handsome 01' ""ordinary cowpoke"" Hatch. Except for Jessy's experiences as Ardensville's new ""Central"" (folks ringing her to find out what's going on in town; busybodies listening in on the partylines), every bit of this sounds like a set-up: the ""Greek"" orphans living in a coal shed whom someone wants to drive out of town (and who are also, Jessy learns, ""running away from tragic death""); the black shoeshine man who's stymied in his efforts to buy a livery business (and who also has a dark secret in his past); and finicky mayor/nabob Lombard Hale, leading bigot and head of the local Klan--who's ""sick."" If it weren't for the portrayal of Hale as a psychotic (he's en route to the county mental hospital at book's close), the KKK terrorism, graphically depicted, might be considered to give the book some substance--despite the overdrawn situations and the preposterous finale, which has Hale's withdrawn daughter and her retarded-handyman boyfriend denouncing Hale and the Klan over Jessy's telephone lines. But, over the long stretch, that telephone hookup is the only thing that holds together.

Pub Date: April 17th, 1981
Publisher: Atheneum