Jordan's novel is set in rural Mississippi in the year 1946. Laura McAllen is a woman beginning to fear spinsterhood, who is saved from a life of loneliness by an honest, hardworking man who may not be the love of her life but is certainly someone she respects. This changes when he moves her from the only life she has ever known to a farm in the middle of Mississippi. As a city girl she has to adapt to a life of no running water, an outdoor toilet, a hateful father-in-law, and endless amounts of mud.
This novel is written from several points of view and also includes that of Laura McAllen's husband and brother-in-law, who is the charming, flirtatious opposite of the man she married. However, the point of view I found most interesting was that of Ronsel Jackson, the oldest son of the black sharecroppers who reside on the McAllen farm. Ronsel is a decorated war hero who is treated like an equal throughout the war in Europe but still has to use the back door of the country store in the town where he grew up.
Mudbound is certainly a page turner. I had a difficult time putting it down once I started it. My only complaint is that I never was really able to connect with the characters. I am not sure if it is because of the different points of view or just the fact that I was not able to relate at all. Besides that, it is a very well written novel that I would recommend reading. It unquestionably opens your eyes to the racism and hatred that existed, and may still, in this part of the country and leaves you with much to think about at the end.
Other reviews on Mudbound can be found at:
A Striped Armchair