The Funeral Dress

Susan Gregg Gilmore, Author
Susan Gregg Gilmore. Broadway, $16 (368p) ISBN 978-0-307-88621-7
Reviewed on: 09/23/2013
Release date: 09/01/2013
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-79358-3
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-0-307-88622-4
Library Binding - 423 pages - 978-1-62899-130-7
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Emmalee Bullard pays tribute to the dead in a peculiar way--fashioning large wooden crosses together for each member of her community who passes away. When she drops out of school, this craftiness helps land her a job sewing collars at the Tennewa Dressmaking Factory, where she befriends her boss and mentor Leona Lane. One day Emmalee goes into work with stomach pains only to learn she is pregnant later when goes into labor. Forced to live with her abusive father, Emmalee and her newborn's future is bleak until Leona offers up a room her and her husband's trailer for them to stay. In an unfortunate twist of fate the very next day, Leona and her husband die in a car accident. Emmalee mourns the loss of her friend by making her a burial dress , requiring her to leave the baby with estranged relatives for a day. A decision that lands Emmalee in a nasty custody battle with family, and forces her to divulge the controversial identity of the baby's father. Gilmore (The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove) tactfully draws parallels between the two main characters, Leona's life and Emmalee's present—a classic formula that makes for dynamic characters. The friendship between these two protagonists serves as a streak of light in this mainly morbid tale. (Sept.)
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