Ida Trueluck, a widow, moves into her son’s home in Charleston, South Carolina, in the summer of 1964. Her husband has just died, and she’s not quite sure she’s doing the right thing but she is willing to try it for a while. The only sure thing is her love for her granddaughter, Trudy, a 12 year-old girl full of spunk, questions and smartness. Little do they know at the beginning of that summer that they are about to change history forever.
1964 is the time of pre-Civil Rights Act conflict. The residents of Charleston know that change is coming but few are truly welcoming it. It’s not appreciated when a young African-American boy, Paris, saves Trudy’s life. In fact, it brings the Ku Klux Klan alive and their act appalls Trudy’s father, the Mayor of Charleston. Not only does Trudy find the Klan’s act terrible, but she is determined to continue her friendship with Paris. They also decide they need to do more to make things “right.”
This then is the story of their escapade, their plan to remove the Confederate flag outside of the capital building. When reading this, one wonders if their sanity has run amok as not only is it an impossible endeavor but the implications of success are terrible to contemplate.
To say more would spoil one of the most lovely coming-of-age stories this reviewer has read in a long time. Their actions are so realistically planned and carried out that the reader totally empathizes with their dream and roots for them to the very last page. They truly depict true friendship, loyalty and integrity.
Susan Gabriel conveys a realistic, sensitive point of view for all the characters involved herein, clearly reflecting and paralleling the state of segregation and evolution of that belief system during the 1960s.
Trueluck Summer is highly recommended historical fiction, lovely writing with thought-provoking scenes that apply to the present as well as the past!