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The Funeral Dress by Susan Gregg Gilmore

From Goodreads: Emmalee Bullard and her new baby are on their own. Or so she thinks, until Leona Lane, the older seamstress who sat by her side at the local shirt factory where both women worked as collar makers, insists Emmalee come and live with her.  Just as Emmalee prepares to escape her hardscrabble life in Red Chert holler, Leona dies tragically.

Grief-stricken, Emmalee decides she’ll make Leona’s burying dress, but there are plenty of people who don’t think the unmarried Emmalee should design a dress for a Christian woman – or care for a child on her own. But with every stitch, Emmalee struggles to do what is right for her daughter and to honor Leona the best way she can, finding unlikely support among an indomitable group of seamstresses and the town’s funeral director.

My Thoughts: I really enjoyed the story of Emmalee and was quickly turning the pages to see what would happen to the heroine of this story. Emmalee is a dirt poor young woman who works as a seamstress in a factory in 1973.  Her father is a borderline abusive drunk and she’s grown up without a mother. Just as her dim world begins to look brighter, tragedy strikes and Emmalee is left worse off than before, except now she has a newborn baby to care for and she’s just a kid herself.

The author did a great job of creating Emmalee, a lonely young woman who feels lost in the world with nowhere to turn for help. I love  good southern fiction and this one is a must read for my fellow fans.

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Between a Mother and Her Child by Elizabeth Noble

From GoodReads:  One impulsive wedding later and with the arrival of three perfect children, Jake, Aly and Stan, the Barrett family seem to have it all. Until the day their world stops turning. When Jake dies suddenly, they’re swept away on a tide of grief that fractures Maggie and Bill’s marriage. She and the children are left clinging to the wreckage of their family. And they need help, because in her grief Maggie is in danger of losing Aly and Stan too.
Enter Kate, housekeeper, companion and shoulder to cry on. She’s here to pick up the pieces and fix what isn’t completely broken. But can Maggie trust Kate? And why is Kate so keen to help? When Bill falls for another woman, Maggie realizes she will have to fight to put her family back together – but will they still want her?

My Thoughts: I’m not quite finished with this intriguing novel as its quite long. I can’t even handle the thought of something happening to one of my kids so its an emotional subject matter for me. This makes you wonder how you would handle a tragedy of this magnitude.  What an emotional roller coaster this book is!

f you are up for a read that takes you into the lives of likable characters trying to deal with death then give it a whirl! Perfect for reading in front of a fireplace on a rainy day!