Publisher: Hyperion (April 2011)
In the throes of a quarter-life crisis, Jiminy Davis abruptly quits law school and flees Chicago for her grandmother Willa's farm in rural Mississippi. In search of peace and quiet, Jiminy instead stumbles upon more trouble and turmoil than she could have imagined.She is shocked to discover that there was once another Jiminy the daughter of her grandmother's longtime housekeeper, Lyn who was murdered along with Lyn's husband four decades earlier in a civil rights era hate crime. With the help of Lyn's nephew, Bo, Jiminy sets out to solve the cold case, to the dismay of those who would prefer to let sleeping dogs lie.
I think what really drew me into this tale were the characters themselves. Jiminy Davis is 25 and not really sure she likes the direction that her life has taken. She goes home to Mississippi to try to figure out what to do next. There she uncovers a mystery that has been hidden by the town for years. In her determination to find out what really happened, she finds that she is stronger and more courageous than she ever thought she could be. Jiminy is a realistic and relatable character. She has irrational fears like most of us do. For instance, she is afraid of cows. That had me laughing. I loved her relationship with Bo and was rooting for them. I was saddened by lingering racial tensions of the town that were preventing them from being together. As the story progresses, it was nice to see how Jiminy's quiet acceptance of those around her helps change some attitudes in the town.
Racial issues dominate this book and are at the core of the mystery surrounding the deaths of "Sweet Jiminy" and her father. There were times I felt ill by the comments of some of the towns people. There was one scene that struck me as ironic. Two white women are discussing the relationship between Bo and Jiminy with disgust because he is black. Yet, they are slathering on tanning oil to make their skin darker. I had to shake my head at that.
While the mystery wasn't too hard to figure out, I still enjoyed it. It was the heart-wrenching journey to the truth that made the book for me. Ms. Gore has produced a beautifully written story that I know readers will enjoy. The ending was just and satisfying. I know this will be one of my recommended books of 2011.
*note: I read an complimentary copy of Sweet Jiminy supplied courtesy of Hyperion. I was not compensated in anyway for this review. By receiving a complimentary copy, I am in no way obligated to write a good or bad review. I am an honest reviewer and my reviews are based on my own opinion and only written by me. *