The Sweetest Hallelujah, Excerpt
The day Billie’s life changed, she was already knee-deep in trouble.
She’d been playing with Lucy after her mama had said not to. Lucy’s little brother Peanut had something that was catching, but Billie wasn’t the kind of scaredy cat who would stop seeing her best friend just because grownups said so.
To make sure her mama didn’t know, Billie told Peanut if he opened his trap about her being over there, she’d make him sorry he was ever born. He believed her, too. Around Shakerag, the other kids knew that if they messed with Billie she’d beat the snot out of them.
Calling out, “’Bye, Lucy,” she set out for home. But the only way there was past dead Alice’s tree.
Praise for The Sweetest Hallelujah
“Hussey has written a lovely, poetic book about race, love, mothers, daughters and freinds that navigates a spectrum of emotional minefields. With well-drawn, authentic characters and a lyrical writing style…the story is sweet and hopeful, with impressive dialogue. A certain fairy-tale realism – similar to that of THE HELP, which this book will inevitably be compared to – makes the concept both believable and entertaining…An endearing and emotionally satisfying exploration of race, family and freindship in trying time.” Kirkus Review
“This novel could have easily spanned another hundred pages and readers would willingly have stayed along for the ride…Hussey merges (the characters) stories together beautifully. Readers will yearn for a happy ending for them all.” Romantic Times, 4 Stars
“Elaine Hussey has written an absolutely brilliant novel – simultaneously lyrical and powerful, heartbreaking and hopeful. The story is a poignant portrayal of the unsettling times of 1955 in the deep South, and I fell in love with all the characters, especially Miss Queen, who made me want to stand up and cheer! If you buy only one book this year, make it The Sweetest Hallelujah.“
PHILECE SAMPLER, Actress from Days of Our Lives, Another World & Rituals
“The Sweetest Hallelujah” boldly confronts some of life’s toughest challenges: the terror of betrayal by your spouse ; the terror of a diagnosis of terminal cancer; the fear of crossing racial mores in the 1950’s South. Yet it sweetens the menu with the joy of women’s friendships—old ones and new ones—and the unrelenting quest to protect and love a little girl. A well-written, fast read by Elaine Hussey.”
JACK REED, JR., Mayor, Tupelo, Mississippi
“Author Elaine Hussey has added her distinct creative voice to the impressive list of literary greats hailing from the South with her novel The Sweetest Hallelujah. This book takes you on an unforgettable emotional journey as long-held secrets threaten to tear apart the fragile fabric of a small Mississippi town during the 50’s. Hussey’s words are powerful and gut-wretchingly believable as her characters come alive, forced to confront the realities they fear most and knowing their lives will never be the same.”
KATHIE FONG YONEDA, AUTHOR OF THE SCRIPT-SELLING GAME, former studio exec.
Praise for the author
“An unforgettable story told with astonishing skill and clarity by a truly gifted writer.”
NY Times bestselling authorPAT CONROY
“A thrilling page-turner…a treasure!”
CASSANDRA KING, author of The Same Sweet Girls
“Enchanting …magical moments of insight that took my breath away!”
NY Times bestselling author MARY ALICE MONROE