On Mother's Day, 1961, Birmingham crackles with tension as a busload of freedom riders arrive from "up North". A group of Klansmen, armed with pipes and clubs, greets them. Life will never be the same again.
When Dinah takes in a freedom rider injured in the Mother's Day melee, the conflicts within and beyond her well-ordered world reach a crisis point.
Covington is a strong writer and this book gives a good picture of the civil rights struggle.
From Library Journal
Remember Birmingham in the early 1960s? Then you remember Sheriff Bull Connor, the man at the center of this novel by the author of Night Ride Home (LJ 8/92). He's everything you recall: mean, nasty, overweight, and bigoted. He is also a man tormented by the past and the future that will destroy all he knows and understands. The "hotel," once a bordello, is Dinah's. She lives there in the summer of 1961 with her husband, Pete, and children, waiting for a new home to be built. Angel, a young freedom rider, and Sugarfoot, a reporter, are the hotel's only other residents. Pete and Dinah are trying to move into this new world, one they know is right, and away from their past lives. Connor's physical presence pervades the book, along with his hatred and inability to cope with the coming changes, and behind it all looms the specter of Dinah's snake-handling preacher father. The rest of the cast are good people caught up in the turmoil. This is a spellbinding look at a place and time most readers can hardly fathom.