A Hundred Crickets Singing

Written by Cathy Gohlke
Review by Shauna McIntyre

In 1861, on the cusp of civil war, North Carolina must decide whether to remain loyal to the Union or join the Confederate cause. Minnie Belvidere’s large family estate in No Creek is a home filled with contradictions. As the war closes in on her family and begins to tear them apart, Minnie and the enslaved people of the estate must navigate the decisions made by her father and brothers, especially when their freedom is at stake.

Eighty years later and No Creek is once again sending young men off to war, this time in Europe. Marshall and his best friend Joe are shipped to England, where Marshall meets and marries a young British woman. But Marshal and Ivy are not technically allowed to marry because of the color of his skin. When things start to go wrong, Joe is the only one they can turn to for help. Back in No Creek, fourteen-year-old Celia Percy has been writing letters to Joe and Marshall when a storm rips through the attic of her old home and reveals a hidden room. When Celia realizes the treasures it contains, and the impact it may have on her friend Marshall, she recruits Joe and others in the community to help right an old wrong.

The narrative follows a pattern of engaging scenes followed by a short direct lecture. The writing is good enough that the author should trust the message is clear without the addition. Furthermore, the author’s attempts to make sense of the long history of racism fall short and veered a bit too far into white savior territory for my taste. Readers who appreciate inspirational lessons woven into the narrative may appreciate this novel.