In 1946 North Carolina, seamstress Maddie Sykes, a dressmaker for Bright Leaf's most influential women--the wives of powerful tobacco executives, uncovers dangerous truths about this lucrative industry in a place where everyone depends on Big Tobacco to survive.
... transportive ... The societal restraints on the women in the novel are something I would have liked to see the author dive deeper into, especially when it pertains to the women in the factories; the poorer families of working women that had been Maddie’s reality before her mother left her in Bright Leaf ... Like a cloisonne cigarette case, the world that encompasses this story is beautifully crafted, with an opulence that is almost Gatsby-like in the face of war rations and shortages, and an upper class that is, at once, almost understated and completely unattainable, which the South does so well. Adele Myers’ depiction of fashion, décor, and hometown celebrations is a gallery collection of delicately painted moments in the world of Bright Leaf ... The author gives us a cast of characters who both succeed and fail at this attempt, and we fall in love with them because of their failures and flaws.
... will have wide appeal, with its focus on southern American history, the perils of tobacco use, and the strengths of women seen through Maddie’s increasingly blighted vision of the lives of America’s wealthy --- and all too often malevolent --- power brokers.