“There is not one specific minute , hour or even day that changed my life. It was one summer; one twisted summer when everything derailed into endless complication. It was the summer I said goodbye to my childhood”
1971—In the tiny, backward town of Tulma, Tennessee, optimistic, bookish Caroline Carson unwittingly finds herself in the middle of a forbidden romance. Severely neglected by her family and forced to flee Tulma to protect her secrets, Caroline’s young life comes crashing down around her. She finds refuge in a new town, but the past always has a way of stretching around time and stirring up trouble.
When a new love comes into her life, she has to decide if she can give her heart to someone else, or if she will always be tied to someone she can’t have.
I will admit that I only knew Willow this year and dove into “Fade to Red” and “True Love Story” immediately after knowing her. I enjoyed both stories immensely and while I have been hearing and reading a lot of amazing feedbacks for “In the Fields”, I told myself that I will wait for a paperback of this novel. I don’t know but I just have this urge to have some books read and felt in paper. Color me weird but maybe that’s my bookworm fetish. However, the temptation was just too strong and I knew that 2015 cannot and will not end without me reading ITF.
“I’ve never loved anyone or anything as much as I love him. I try to memorize the way he looks at me. The way his lips tilt up when they see me. The way his eyes crinkle when he laughs at something I saw. The way his eyes turn a shade darker when he cried. I will love him until the day I die. I know this.”
In the Fields is a story of love and family; of losses and gains; of facing desperate times to finding hope and a story of biases and prejudices. It follows the life of Caroline during the 1970s in a small town in Tennessee. Growing up, she was strong and independent but equally smart and lovely. To an outsider, she has a beautiful life ahead of her but no one knows the secret pains that she lives through day by day. Another important fact, Caroline is WHITE. It may not be a very important detail in today’s times but back in the 70s, one’s color speaks a lot. She became friends with Isaiah (who later on became her love interest), the black kid who is smart and handsome, compassionate and driven.
“I fell in love already. I had someone who was everything I wanted. I didn’t get to keep him. And I never got over him.”
ITF is a poignant story of two people who fought and battled the harshest prejudice and lived to share their love. It started out beautifully and though there were moments when I just want to step inside and give Caroline all my love, I was truly touched and satisfied with the ending.
I love how Willow was able to take me back during those times which I only read about in history books. It was painful to see and realize how much restraint people had to have in loving and forming friendships during that era. We may no longer live it now, but we cannot ignore that there are thousands of people who lived this reality before. I am brown and will always be proud of my Asian race and I cannot imagine living in a time when I have to be restricted in who I can be friends with or who I can fall in love with. This tale of forbidden romance triggered a hell of emotions out of me; pain, love, understanding, despair, agony and acceptance.
“Our love is like air and we need each other to breathe.”
I truly appreciate Willow’s smooth and flawless writing and it’s been a while since I have last read a novel of this premise. This is refreshing as it was heartbreaking. I love this. Caroline and Isaiah will be in my heart forever.