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The Help by Kathryn Stockett
In Jackson, Mississippi, in 1962, there are lines that are not crossed. With the civil rights movement exploding all around them, three women start a movement of their own, forever changing a town and the way women—black and white, mothers and daughters—view one another.
If you liked The Help, then you may like these books with similar themes.
Dollbaby by Laura Lane McNeal
When Ibby Bell's father dies in a tragic accident in the summer of 1964, her mother unceremoniously deposits Ibby with her eccentric grandmother, Fannie, and throws in her father's urn for good measure. Fannie's Victorian house is like no place Ibby has ever been—and Fannie, who has a tendency to end up in the local asylum every once in a while—is like no one she has ever met. Fortunately, her black cook, Queenie...and Queenie's feisty daughter Dollbaby take it upon themselves to initiate Ibby into the ways of the South, both its grand traditions and its darkest secrets.
Freshwater Road by Denise Nicholas
It is the summer of 1964, and University of Michigan sophomore Celeste Tyree travels to Mississippi to volunteer her efforts in Freedom Summer. She ends up helping voters register in the small town of Pineyville, a place best known for a notorious lynching that occurred only a few years earlier. Through her work, Celeste finds inner strength as she helps lift the veil of oppression and learns valuable lessons about race, social change, and violence.
The Night Train by Clyde Edgerton
In 1963, Dwayne Hallston discovers James Brown and wants to perform just like him. Meanwhile, Dwayne's forbidden black friend Larry, aspiring to play piano like Thelonius Monk, apprentices to a jazz musician called the Bleeder. A mutual passion for music helps Dwayne and Larry as they try to achieve their dreams.
The Queen of Palmyra by Minrose Gwin
Amid the oppressive heat of summer in 1963 in the small town of Millwood, the neglected Florence is constantly shuttled between her grandparents and their longtime black maid, Zenie, with whom she meets Zenie's niece, college student Eva Greene. When Eva begins selling burial insurance to pay for her education, simmering racial tensions erupt, and Florence becomes a witness to unspeakable crimes.
The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
When Lily's fierce-hearted black "stand-in mother," Rosaleen, insults three of the town's most vicious racists, Lily decides they should both escape to Tiburon, South Carolina—a town that holds the secret to her mother's past. There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters who introduce Lily to a mesmerizing world of bees, honey, and the Black Madonna who presides over their household. This is a remarkable story about divine female power and the transforming power of love—a story that women will share and pass on to their daughters for years to come.
Sweet Jiminy by Kristin Gore
When Jiminy retreats to her grandmother Willa's farm in rural Mississippi, she is shocked to discover 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 long-ago murder, to the dismay of those who would prefer to let sleeping dogs lie.