1. Babydoll

    Baby Doll by Laura Lane McNeal.

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    If you loved the book The Help — you have to read Baby Doll by Laura Lane McNeal.

    The story is set in New Orleans in the turbulent years of 1964 to 1974. The story is told through the eyes of an outsider, Liberty Alice Bell. She is twelve years old and called Ibby .


    As the story opens, Ibby has been dumped on her eccentric grandmother, Fannie’s doorstep. Her grandmother , who she has never met, lives in a big house in the posh Garden District of New Orleans. She is being left there so her mother can think. Her father has just died. He was killed in freak accident while biking with Ibby. Now her mother, who has always been cold to Ibby seems to want to get rid of her.


    Ibby is immediately taken in by Fannie’s “family” — her housekeeper and cook and maid. Queenie is the cook and Dollbaby or Doll- as she is called -is the maid. They are mother and daughter . Doll has a daughter Ibby’s age, Birdelia . Ibby and Birdelia become close friends.


    As the story unfolds tight little group is buffeted against the turbulent social changes that sweep the nation.


    McNeal has a gift for creating real characters that defy the cloying stereotypes that so often mar novels set in the South.  Fans of strong female driven fiction will delight.