Call Your Daughter Home by Deb Spera
Call Your Daughter is bittersweet to me. It took me a bit to get into the story due to the switching back and forth between the three characters. You have Gertrude, an abused wife trying to keep her four children alive. There's Annie, the matriarch of the Cole Family, who's been distanced from her own children for years. Finally, there's Retta, a freed slave who works for Annie.
The women become linked forever when Gertrude finally has the chance to escape her abusive husband by working for Annie's clothing factory. Gertrude's daughter is horribly sick and Retta is one of the only people with the skill to help save her life. Meanwhile, Annie is now Gertrude's boss. When Annie discovers a long-hidden family secret, her will to live may be shattered forever.
All of this story takes place during the Great Depression. Times are hard and the author does a great job bringing poverty and fear of survival into the story. There are times that the Depression feels like it's a character in the story rather than just the setting.
I'm not always a fan of historical novels, but this one really tugged at my heart. I've read stories from past generations in my family and know just how accurate some of this is. It's powerful but sad.