Anne Dimock is the author of the fresh, new historical fiction novel AGAINST THE GRAIN (2022), and HUMBLE PIE: Musings on What Lies Beneath the Crust (2005)
Against The Grain
Available Now! Published by Woodhall Press
A young Black girl—teenaged Fleur Williams—gets an afterschool job that challenges the status quo. It’s 1962 and the southern United States is the epicenter of desegregation violence. But Fleur lives in a New Jersey suburb where these things don’t happen. Or do they?
Fleur will be “the new girl” in an upscale jewelry store. Her father tries to prepare her for the reality of her new job – “More likely you’ll be the cleaning lady. It’s foolish to trust white people,” he says. Some try to help her even as others impede her, and some end up doing both. The pastor of the Catholic parish doesn’t want the racial politics of the times to spillover into his quiet, manageable town. A local barber, whose family has strong roots and a loyal clientele, doesn’t want anyone to tell him who to serve. The wife of the president of the local liberal arts college in town takes an interest in Fleur’s future and wants to manage her opportunities. And the co-owner of the shop where Fleur works is just trying to keep her business on the road to success.
Against the backdrop of the early 1960s, half of these six characters want to maintain their own vision of a Jamestown idyll--a city on a hill, a pious flock, a wholesome family town. The others want change. From the Cuban Missile Crisis to the Newark riots, everyone must navigate the tremors rippling through Jamestown as they defend or re-imagine their quiet, sleepy suburb.