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 Historical Fiction Review    



Seven Laurels
by Linda Busby Parker
Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2004
336 pages
ISBN: 0972430474, paper $19.00
ISBN: 0972430482, cloth $35.00

Set in a small, rural community located between Montgomery and Birmingham, Alabama, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement (1954 forward), Linda Busby Parker's first novel, Seven Laurels, is the winner of the James Jones First Novel Award. 

Parker uses historical detail to create a vivid portrait of Brewster McAtee, a man whose goal in life is threefold. He wants to buy his own land, make a profit on his woodcrafting business, and keep his family safe. As a black man in the rural south of the 1950s, he has the wisdom to keep his own counsel during the protests, sit-ins, and assassinations going on in the surrounding area. Despite his apparent neutrality, when he registers to vote, his business is burned. A lesser man would be defeated, Brewster knowing the importance of family and community to create change, continues to toil his land. 

Dubbed both "docu-novel" and historical novel, Parker has created a memorable novel of time and place. More importantly, in Brewster McAtee, she's created a character who embodies the American Dream. Against tremendous odds and immense sorrows, he perseveres, choosing love over hate.  

Linda Busby Parker lives and works in Mobile, Alabama. 

Pam Kingsbury
Southern Scribe Reviews

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