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Page from a Tennessee Journal

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  984 Ratings  ·  118 Reviews
It is 1913, shortly before the start of the First World War, and Annalaura is alone again. Her gambling, womanizing husband has left the plot they sharecrop in rural Tennessee � why or for how long she does not know. Without food or money and with her future tied to the fate of the season�s tobacco crop, Annalaura struggles to raise her four children. When help comes in th ...more
Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published (first published March 16th 2010)
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Mocha Girl
Howard's wonderful debut, Page From a Tennessee Journal, is not only a testament to her family, but also a revealing peak into a shameful aspect of American history. Although the book is tagged as a work of fiction, its premise and themes reflect the social, political, and racial attitudes and views of the American South in the early twentieth century.

The novel focuses on two couples, one black family with young children and their white landowners, a childless couple who "leases" their acreage u
Jun 25, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
All of my least favorite things - bad writing, heaving bosoms, etc ick.
Angela Smith
Apr 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being interested in all periods of history this book was no exception. The story is set in 1913 in Rural Tennessee and tells the stories of two families. The first family is that of the name Welles, a black family share-cropping tobacco on McNaughton land. Annalaura Welles is in dire straits with her husband disappearing on her and her four children some weeks earlier, the crops are not growing well and their meagre food supplies are running out...Annalaura is desperate and her children are star ...more
Feb 08, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Page From a Tennessee Journal revolves around four people. Eula Mae has been married to Alex McNaughton for over twenty years. They have no children, a hole that she feels keenly. She loves her husband, but he hardly pays her any attention. She takes pride in anticipating all his needs and wants. But Eula Mae sometimes wishes that she could be more intimate with her husband; she just doesn't know how to apprise him of that fact without him thinking her too forward or, worse, a hussy.

Annalaura is
Apr 20, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Page from a Tennessee Journal tells the story of race and gender relations in 1913 Tennessee through the parallel but intersecting stories of two couples - white landowners Eula and Alex McNaughton and black sharecroppers Annalaura and Joe Welles. The story was emotional, brutal, and tender, highlighting the social structure of the South in that era. The story was more complex than your typical race relations novel because it looked not only at the black-white dynamic and the racism that pervade ...more
The writing style of this novel seems to be typical of the new writers coming out of Writers’ Workshops these days; generic. While the stories and settings are different, the overall style and tone of these new “serious” novels are the same. It’s as if they are all part of an upscale chain of restaurants. The formula seems to be: write prose that are better than average (but nothing too difficult, esoteric, lyrical or original), and write about a serious subject (war, slavery, Jim Crow laws) and ...more
Monica Savage
Bare with me while I try to explain my two star rating. First of all, this is a story about a harsh time in South's history - the treatment of blacks after slavery was abolished. It is the very ugly reality of the exploitation of black women by white men, and also of white, southern women by white southern men. I am glad the author reminded us of that time.

However, I wish the telling of the story had been stronger. The writing seems very standard, decent prose but nothing more. Characters are v
Lisa Cresswell
Dec 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 04, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fabulous book! Being from the south I found the story totally believable and the authors treatment of the characters wonderful. The story is set just after the turn of the century with a white landowner falling in love with a black sharecropper and while it was acceptable to have sex with black women it was taboo to actually love them or at least let it be known that you loved them. This was a time in southern history when women, black and white had very little say over their bodies or lives in ...more
Scott L
Sep 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powerful, horrifying, eye-opening. I don't think I've ever understood the plight of the black woman in the south, even as late as 1910, until now. I listened to the book - outstanding narration by Casaundra Freeman. Not only did I get inside the head and heart of the main character, Annalaura, but also her husband, her white lover, and finally the white lover's wife. Although slavery has been abolished for many years, it is still so much a part of the mind and culture of the South, controlling, ...more
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really good story which has held me captive for the last three days. It a story of motives, actions, and morals. Some of the characters do some truly wicked things, but they feel totally justified, and therefore do not see the devestation which their actions have caused. I guess very few things are purely black or white.
Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle, 2010-books
What a wonderful story. Powerful, moving, amazing. A very worthy read indeed. One of those books I found hard to put down once I started reading it!! it was worth every penny that I paid for it and then some.
Jamie Stevens
Mar 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful and enthralling story

I chose this book to read because of its title and its cover. I've always been interested in the post civil war reconstruction period in the south and the travails of its sharecroppers and its landowners. Francine Thomas Howard's characters jumped off the page at me and became people I cared about from the very beginning. It read like a personal journal to me. Annalaura, John, Alex, Rebecca, Eula are wonderfully developed characters able to relate to one another on
I tried. I really, really tried 3 times to give this book a chance, but I could not. Between the racial language to the gross sexual assault, there was no way in hell I was going to enjoy this book or even get anything from it other than the taste of rising bile in my mouth. Maybe someone else can somehow appreciate the historical accuracy of it, but for me, give the current climate at the end of 2017, this is not what I need. I stopped torturing myself halfway through and even returned this to ...more
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-read-2017
A friend recommended this book, it's probably one I wouldn't have picked up otherwise. I thought it was a good book, something different
May 10, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
pedestrian and terrible.
Jun 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled upon this book here on Goodreads. A shared book group member of mines, had the sequel as a "book she wants to read". I looked up the author and found there was this book. It was on kindle unlimited. I wasn't planning on reading the book but the kindle has new audio feature that was available with this book that I wanted to check out.

I will say this book was a very pleasant surprise. This is probably one of the first historical novels where I felt sorry for all women, no matter their c
Gloria Bernal
Sep 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Do not expect a fairy-tale ending. Remember this is the early 1900's in Tennessee. There were no happy endings for anyone in this situation. It was common for white men/landowners to have black mistresses, and often times these women labored on these white men's properties, where they lived with their wives. In this well written but heartbreaking novel, we get an intimate view of what it must've been like for all. For the white wives, who despite what they knew about their straying husbands, kep ...more
Shari Larsen
Sep 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sorry, too tired today to write a totally original review, so I am borrowing a description from Amazon. Review
"Book Description: In Francine Howard’s stunning debut, Page from a Tennessee Journal, rural Tennessee of 1913 remains an unforgiving place for two couples--one black, the other white--who stumble against the rigid boundaries separating their worlds. When white farmer Alexander McNaughton falters into forbidden love with Annalaura Welles he discovers that he has much more to fe
May 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Francine Thomas Howard should be congratulated for reminding us about the existence of slavery in the post-slavery era. The story begins with a description of Annalaura Welles and her four small children. Annalaura's husband, John, had suddenly left his family before the tobacco crop harvesting had been completed. He took with him most of the family's funds and food. Annalaura and her young children had to subsist on soup made from water and dandelions while spending their days working in the ho ...more
Feb 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enoyed this book. It kept my attention and I looked forward to reading it every chance I had.

The story is loosely based on the author's family secrets. It starts around 1913. Alex McNaughton, a married white farmer, has a plot of 40 acres for tobacco farming. These 40 acres are tended by a black family that lives in the barn - the Welles family. One day, Mr. Welles up and leaves without telling his family why. His wife, Annalaura and their 4 kids, are left to tend to the fields themsel
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book about life, post civil war.

I was looking for a book in the civil war period. This was not what I expected. I thought the book was very well done, maybe a bit to sexual but I still enjoyed the book.

Mar 05, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Being black in America after the Civil War, even into the 1900s, did not mean you were free. We see the lives of landowner Alex and his relationship with a black sharecropper's wife, Annalaura, whose husband left for about a year. While Alex forced the affair, Annalaura realized this way she and her husband would survive, until her wandering and philandering husband returns home. Unfortunately, Annalaura now has the true love of two men, Alex and her husband. She chooses, but only because one de ...more
Judy King
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting view of slavery-style issues past the turn of the 20th Century. Without a few pertinent references to modern events and inventions, the bulk of this book could have been set in the 1850s cotton-growning Mississippi instead of WWI era Tennessee... Good grief, the mind boggles at how long it took to get over the attitudes, actions, behaviors, beliefs,'s no wonder it took folks like the the Freedom Riders, federal integration of schools, "Miss Jane Pittman" and Rosa Parks to fi ...more
Aug 26, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this historical book even though both men in it, John and Alex, came off at certain periods as the most naïve, foolish men ever! So much so I found myself shaking my head at their thoughts and actions. I felt sorry for our main character AnnaLaura, who found herself in a predicament she really had no control over; all because her husband ran off. Granted he had a decent reason, but to just disappear was horrible, even if only trying to avoid the confrontation with his wife. Then Alex, wh ...more
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Compelling story of a Tennessee black sharecropper woman in 1913-1914 struggling to raise her family while raising tobacco for a white farmer after her husband disappears. The story intertwines the story of the woman and her four children, her absentee husband, the white farmer, the farmer's wife, and various other characters. Race relations, gender relations, and adultery are exposed for all their ugliness during this time period. The story has a quick pace and leaves you turning pages to find ...more
Kathy Barton
Mar 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This story was unusual for me - about a black family in the early 1900's that farm 40 acre's of land for a white family on his plantation. You think that things would be better for them, but they are basically not much better off then before slavery. It was very eye opening how they were treated. The husband goes off to Chicago to make some money for the family so they can buy their own land and leaves his wife and 4 kids with nothing. They are expected to harvest the tobacco, but have very litt ...more
Sherry Bledsoe
Aug 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
The way it was

It tells the story of how it was back before civil rights movement became a living breathing thing. Yes, black and white woman had no rights and sometimes white men also had no rights when it came to loving a black woman. Its a sad story that unfortunately happened many many times. It is a time we are not proud of but it was not something I was alive for, nor my father, nor my grandfather. So, the ones we can hold accountable are long gone and stories like this should be on dusty h
Apr 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-books
This is a very interesting book from a black woman's view. It takes place in 1914 in Tennessee and you see how different things were then for a black woman who was single or whose husband was not around. AnnaLaura's husband left her just after the tobacco crop they sharecrop for a landowner is in. She has 4 children with the oldest just 12. The owner of the land takes a liking to her and although he treats her well and thinks he is in love with her she knows this can never work. A Lot happens bu ...more
Nancy (NE)
Feb 01, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: period-pieces
I have mixed feelings about this book. "Pages" is a story of racial and gender issues in 1913 Tennessee. There were parts I really liked, and others I thought unnecessary. I'm no prude, but some steamy parts felt too close to one of those bodice rippers with a tawdry cover. On the other hand, that might have been when kept me turning pages after alot of heavy somber reading lately! The author tried to break some stereotypes by reversing what could have been cliched plots and characters, but it d ...more
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Book Discussion 1 9 Nov 30, 2012 08:54AM  
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One of four entrants in the international Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest to have original manuscripts published by AmazonEncore, Francine Thomas Howard has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area most of her life. She is the author of the historical novel, Page From a Tennessee Journal.
After a career as a pediatric occupational therapist, Ms. Howard is delighted to find an audience for her debut n
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