The Undertaker’s Assistant by Amanda Skenandore takes place in New Orleans during the Reconstruction after the Civil War. The story follows Effie Jones, who as a young girl escapes to the North and is brought up by an embalmer and his wife. The story begins as Effie returns to New Orleans as a grown woman. She finds works, doing what she knows and is comfortable with, assisting in embalming. The story then follows Effie as she learns about friendship, love and her past.
I really loved the character of Effie. She is not comfortable with societal rules and often speaks and does what she wants. I enjoyed watching her grow from someone who pushes down all emotions and thinks in logical terms to someone who lets her emotions come through and even starts to act on them. She meets Adeline and learns about friendship and all the complications and sometimes pain that come with relationships. She falls in love and learns really what love is.
I also found the history of New Orleans after the Civil War fascinating. The Reconstruction is an interesting time period in our country and not one I have read much about. The setting of New Orleans made that period even more fascinating with the conflicts between not only the white man and the newly freed black man but also the Creoles.
Along with the great storyline and the fascinating history I loved the writing. The author, Skenandore, has a writing style that draws me in. I can see and feel everything that Effie does. I feel the upsets, the happiness, the struggles that she feels. I did find that I needed to slow down my reading a bit to really enjoy what was happening and become immersed in the beautifully detailed writing.
My copy of The Undertaker’s Assistant was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. I also won a copy from the author in a giveaway.