Readers who like Southern fiction will enjoy debut novelist Kathryn Stockett's The Help. Set in the south during the early days of the Civil Rights movement, Stockett tells the stories of several Southern women, drawing striking parallels and social commentary between the "help"-black maids working in the stately mansions of Mississippi-and the privileged white women they serve. Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan is an outsider in Jackson, circa 1962. Tall and lanky with wiry blonde hair, she's recently graduated from Ole Miss and returned home to dull, hot days on her father's plantation. Skeeter isn't exactly cut from the same cloth as the other society girls in town-she listens to Bob Dylan, has a liberal bent, and aspires to become a writer. On the advice of a New York publisher to write about what disturbs her, Skeeter takes a look around her town, her friends, and her family's plantation, and the idea to tell the stories of the "help" is born. Keeping her writing project a secret from her family and friends won't be easy, but Skeeter soon finds that getting the maids to talk is a far more difficult task. With the help of one long-time maid, Skeeter is able to get the others on board and what results are twelve incredible stories that shed light on the previously silent lives of these brave women. But what new dangers will Skeeter and these women face when her book is published to national notoriety?
Recommended by Morgan Miller