Meet Anne Aletha, who fought for equality for all ... in 1918.
BookLife Reviews (Editor’s Pick) called Anne Aletha an "intriguing story” that "cleverly intertwines fact with fiction.”
Kirkus Reviews described it as “a thoughtful account of early-20th-century racial tensions.”
In 1918 amid World War I, the Spanish Influenza, and a reemerging Ku Klux Klan, Anne Aletha, a young unconventional schoolteacher, inherits her uncle’s cash-strapped farm in Ray’s Mill, Georgia. Her plans to open a school for all children and her courage to challenge the racial injustices she witnesses plunge herself and those she loves into the violence of the Klan. Anne Aletha invites reader to reflect on the legacy of civil rights and women’s suffrage—and the road that still remains to be traveled.
INSPIRATION BEHIND THE STORY
The story is set in Ray's Mill, Georgia (now called Ray City). The author's family history served as a backdrop for the novel, including childhood summers she spent visiting her grandparents. The ancient oak dividing the road in front of Anne Aletha’s farmhouse was inspired by the oak outside the author's great uncle's old homestead in Odum, Georgia.
Downtown Ray's Mill
The inspiration for the oak tree in front of Anne Aletha's farmhouse
“Wright intelligently chronicles this tempestuous time in American history, including the ramifications of World War I, the women’s suffrage movement, and the deadly spread of the 1918 influenza pandemic.”
“Wright cleverly intertwines fact with fiction as she outlines the horrific prejudices in early-20th-century Georgia and the difficult decisions facing those who wanted to promote equality.”
—BookLife Reviews (Editor’s Pick)
Downtown Rays Mill, 2020
MEET THE AUTHOR
CAMILLE N. WRIGHT
Born and raised in the South, Camille Wright has deep roots in Georgia’s red clay. Her story idea was conceived when as a small antiques dealer she acquired a trunk of Victorian love letters. Writing in the tradition of Ferrol Sams, Olive Ann Burns, Sue Monk Kidd, Robert Morgan, and other Southern authors, Wright draws on family history, diaries, and letters to create her fictional world.
INVITE CAMILLE TO
YOUR BOOK CLUB
Invitations to Atlanta-area daytime book clubs are welcome. Contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q & A WITH THE AUTHOR
What inspired Anne Aletha and how did the novel evolve?
I first dreamed of writing a novel almost 40 years ago in the early 1980s when my mother and I acquired a trunk of Victorian love letters for our small antique business. I’ve always been an avid reader, but never a writer. The letters became my first inspiration to write a story. I fell in love with the couple named Alex and Nellie, and initially I thought I would write their story. But I soon realized that their story was not mine to tell and that I wasn’t ready to tell my own story. Later, when I knew what my story was, I fictionalized the couple, using their original names in my novel.
New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church
You spent early childhood summers in Ray’s Mill, Georgia (now Ray City). Could you tell us something about your experiences?
My memories of the few summers I spent with my grandparents, Joe and Effie Clements, in the 1950s have lasted a lifetime. Those early impressions of rural life in a small Southern town are a part of almost every scene in the novel. Sadly, today only the millpond remains. My grandparents’ Victorian clapboard house with its wraparound porches, the Clements Lumber Mill, and New Ramah Primitive Baptist Church out on Cat Creek have all burned or been torn down. But although the Ray’s Mill of my childhood is gone, the memories live on in Anne Aletha.
Railroad through Ray's Mill
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