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Miss McGhee

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  80 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews

When Mary McGhee moved to a small Alabama town shortly after the Second World War, she was sure she could change her life for good: a new job, a new place, and a chance for a new life. But then she met Lila Dubose, the wife of her new employer.

Set in the shadow of the civil rights movement, Miss McGhee is a sweeping tale of forbidden love in a turbulent time.

Miss McGhee is
Paperback, 336 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Bywater Books
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Best Lesbian Fiction
255th out of 1,317 books — 1,649 voters
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Historical Lesbian Fiction
48th out of 197 books — 156 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 187)
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Sep 08, 2014 Jem rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical, drama
The book is set in a small town in the segregated South. The time frame coincides with the rise of the Civil Rights movement. The titular character Mary McGhee is a northerner. Caught by her employer in a compromising situation with his daughter, she is sent off to a backwater town in the South with a pile of hush money and a job recommendation. The new company she goes to work for is a mess, as it has been operating for months without an office manager. Mary busies herself with the new job, but ...more
Mar 23, 2014 Penny rated it it was amazing
I'm still mesmerized by this story.

It differs from other books of this genre by a conscious and realistic writing, without the using of exaggerated and theatrical lines. Seriously, Bett Norris is such a skilful writer.

I won't say much about the plot except that it covers aproximately 20 years (1948-1965) of the lives of Mary McGhee and Lila Dubose in a small town in Alabama. It's been a long time since I had the pleasure of reading about two people that fit so perfectly together. They are both s
Joan Opyr
Jul 26, 2007 Joan Opyr rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: booksiveread
An excellent read. This book should be classed with general fiction. I worry that the fact that it's classed as lesbian fiction may limit its audience. I hope this will only be temporary and that word of mouth will broaden the book's reach. This is a brilliant, closely-observed historical novel. I can't think of anyone to whom I would not recommend this book. The story is both local and universal. Bett Norris is a tremendous talent.
I really wasn't sure what to expect when I started this book, but I am extremely pleased that I had stumbled on a review for it somewhere on the internet.

Whether you look at it as a historical novel (1940s-1960s), a sociological novel (small southern town struggling throught the civil rights movement), a forbidden romance or an intriguing character study of both main characters - it is a captivating read.
Bywater Books
May 22, 2009 Bywater Books rated it it was amazing
"Any reader will love this intelligent, richly detailed, altogether satisfying portrayal of a resourceful woman's struggle for love and self-determination in 20th century small-town America. Miss McGhee signals the arrival of an impressive, gifted storyteller." -Katherine V. Forrest
Cristina Domenech
Aug 04, 2016 Cristina Domenech rated it really liked it
Le he dado a este libro cuatro estrellas.

Se las merece, probablemente.

Aún así, en mi corazón, tiene menos. Es difícil de explicar, pero este libro no parece historical fiction, parece literalmente una novela escrita en los años cincuenta. La autora no se ha beneficiado nada de su posición en el tiempo (esta novela se publicó en 2007) y eso me decepciona mucho, porque he leído una novela bien escrita y bien ambientada, y con cierto encanto, pero que podría haber leído hace sesenta años. En resu
Crystal Michallet-Romero
Jul 17, 2008 Crystal Michallet-Romero rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book! Not only does it cover lesbian civil rights, but it gives us a peek into how lesbian helped the African American civil rights movement. If you liked to To Kill a Mockingbird, you'll love this one.
Aug 04, 2016 justLezfic rated it really liked it
3.7 stars
F/F historical romance

The novel opens in 1948 with a young and attractive 28 yr old Miss Mary McGhee arriving to the small southern town of Myrtlewood, Alabama to begin her new job as secretary for the local lumber mill. She's described as a tall and auburn-haired "prim beauty" with vivid blue eyes who dresses in uniform-like suits and is clearly intelligent... which makes it all the more juicy that this reserved and never-a-hair-out-of-place lesbian has fled a scandalous affair with th
Elaine Burnes
Nov 18, 2010 Elaine Burnes rated it really liked it
Shelves: lesbian
This has been on my wishlist for some time because of the good reviews it got. The fact that it was published by Bywater, and I was very impressed with their panel at Women's Week, pushed me to finally get it. I liked it a lot. It hit me as the kind of story that needs to be told. It's a bit preachy, yes, but at its heart is a beautiful love story. Of women who were brave enough to try, and stubborn enough to succeed. It's easy to forget how hard it was to be a lesbian back then--post-WWII South ...more
Bj Travis Thomas
Was a bit surprised when I realized I was reading lesbian literature but it really was a good book, well-written. Even though I'm not from the South I lived through that time and re-lived those awful times while reading this book.
Aug 04, 2008 Catherine rated it liked it
I enjoyed the historical detail and the character development in this well written historical novel. Unfortunately, it did feel incomplete to me and I thought there were some expectations that were set and not met. It seemed to be building toward a far more intense climax than it actually achieved. I do look forward to reading subsequent novels by this author however.
Mar 23, 2008 Tamara rated it it was ok
A nice change from your usual lesbian romance in that it takes place during the beginnings of the civil rights struggle. Good word-of-mouth on this book but after reading it I couldn't help but think something was missing. Didn't hate it but I didn't love it either. Felt incomplete somehow.
Sally Bellerose
Jun 15, 2013 Sally Bellerose rated it it was amazing
Great book with a big heart.
Ann Riley
Apr 20, 2012 Ann Riley added it
Shelves: glbt
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Miss McGhee by Bett Norris - EXCELLENT!!! 1 10 May 14, 2009 10:42AM  
Bett Norris graduated from the University of Alabama with a BA in history and a burning desire to write, having grown up just down the road a piece from Harper Lee. She drew heavily on her Alabama roots for her first novel, Miss McGhee, published through Bywater Books, set during the civil rights movement of the fifties and sixties. While wondering why the dictum write what you know doesn't apply ...more
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