The Ballad of Jessie Pearl


How did I get it?:

Netgalley- thanks to Myrick Marketing & Media


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 anymore.

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.


This book is based on Shannon Hitchcock’s family history which involved Shannon’s grandmother taking care of a baby nephew when his mother died of tuberculosis.

I thought this was an absolutely charming read. It’s short and addictive with fabulous characters and a very touching storyline. Jessie is a fantastic character. Her love for her family is portrayed beautifully. Her struggle to want to be able to do the things other teenagers do really touched me. The love story is very sweet and perfect for the era. All of the characters are written so well, you grow to care for them all throughout the very tough times that they experience. I found myself really wanting Jessie to reach her dream of being a teacher. A fantastic book, well worth reading.

Would I recommend it?:
Of course!

Reading next:
Torn- Cat Clarke

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