Addie Coulter has a very oppressive Mississippi life. Like the daily heat and humidity in her state, her daily activities weigh heavy and she feels like she is swimming through water. Sleep is no escape. Who can sleep when the air does not blow and the temperature does not drop below 90 degrees?
Addie’s normally independent mother, Rachel, is occupying a back bedroom. Rachel’s first stroke required Addie to house sit in her childhood home, but this second stroke has left her mother an invalid. It was easier to move Rachel into her house than to stay at the old house night and day. The chores are the same, but this means less commuting between the homes.
Alfred, Addie’s no good husband, came home late last night and she is tip-toeing around the house to keep from waking him. She is not sure why, but he is easy to anger when she starts showing. This pregnancy is another reason she is so worn.
Addie stirs her daughter, Emily, and they both sneak out to gather eggs. In the meantime, Alfred wakes and stumbles into the bathroom to relieve himself. Afterwards, he drinks some water from the bathroom sink to relieve his cotton mouth and unfortunately revives his drunken state.
Lurching, Alfred stomps into the back bedroom where Rachel stares at him in horror. All she can do is watch his movement, her voice lost from the last stroke is impossible to understand. She can make loud noises, but right now she feels it is better to not egg him on. It doesn't help.
Alfred is in full devil, making fun of her morning hair while poking her with an umbrella he found in the room. As Rachel silently screams, he suddenly grabs the ends of the bed sheet and gives a yank. Rachel lands face down tangled in the sheet with her nose bleeding. He staggers out laughing.
Ramona Bridges is another Mississippian author to watch. Sweet By and By is her first book and it won the Mississippi Library Associations best fiction award in 2012. The book jacket states, “She and her husband have three sons, and she is employed as a nurse at a facility for war veterans.”She is also a born-again Christian and each chapter of the book opens with a Bible verse. Matthew 11:28 is fitting for her first chapter, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”