"To those who dare to live, and all who offer grace when daring fails" - D. Allen Jenkins
Reverend Jericho holds the baby, Tibias Ivory, high over the heads of the all black congregation at Shiloh Temple. They are in stark contrast to the freshly painted white church behind them as they stand for a photograph of the blessed event of his baptism. Only Bethany, Tibias's mother, blends in to the whiteness of the church behind her. She feels comfortable with the wonderful new friends who have taken her into their lives. As she remembers the events that led to this point, she suddenly is engulfed with an overwhelming sensation of loneliness.
This is a heart rendering love story about two young people, one black, one white. It is set in the turbulent sixties in small town America. Here, the people were comfortable believing they were color blind, until an incident sets them on their heels and opens their eyes to reality and its ugly truth. Mahognus “Hog” Worthington, star athlete, well respected in his home town of Principle, dares to fall in love with the head Cheerleader, Bethany Ivory. Bethany is blonde and beautiful. Her father, James Ivory, is the minister of Grace Haven Church. Although greatly respected in his own community, Reverend Ivory is a formidable man, who shows nothing other than hatred for the black community. He is a staunch believer in racial segregation as he interprets the Bible to declare. Mahognus, on the other hand, hails from a loving, spiritual family. Having been raised by his mother, Matilda, along with his two sisters, he has been taught that people of all color are children of God.
Jenkins takes us through a whirlwind of young love and clandestine meetings between Hog and Bethany as they get to know each other. They know that their friendship will cause problems for their families and decide to keep their love a secret ... until prom night when unguarded moment outrages the town and forever changes the lives of the two young lovers.
Doug Jenkins, a recorded Friends (Quaker) Minister, who also suffers from MS, has done a superb job in uniting the physical with the spiritual aspects of unconditional love and forgiveness. His own sermons are elegantly thought provoking.
This book reached into my heart and resurrected emotions that will stay with me forever. It is an intriguing tale of love, deceit, bigotry and tragedy. It shows how a small town can change from having a myopic overview of the world by embracing the age-old concept of grace. Addressing the issue of inter-racial love and friendship is not easily done, even in this modern day yet, Doug Jenkins has successfully accomplished this. -- Janet K. Brennan