The Ballad of Jessie Pearl
Book Cover Art is by Timothy Decker
Sometimes when the kerosene lamp casts shadows, I think I see Ma’s ghost. If she were still alive, she’d say, Jessie Pearl, you keep on studying. Not everybody is cut out to be a farm wife. We’ll find a way to pay for teachers’ college. Leave your Pa to me.
And tonight, Ma would notice how my hands are trembling. I can almost hear her voice. Jessie, fourteen is too young to help birth a baby. Why don’t you go and study in the kitchen? But Ma is just a memory.
It’s 1922, and Jessie has big plans for her future, but that’s before tuberculosis strikes. Though she has no talent, for cooking, cleaning, or nursing, Jessie puts her dreams on hold to help her family. She falls in love for the first time ever, and suddenly what she wants is not so simple any more.
Inspired by Shannon Hitchcock’s family history, THE BALLAD OF JESSIE PEARL wraps you like an old quilt in the traditions, tastes, and dialect of rural North Carolina.