In the backwoods of Mississippi, a land of honeysuckle and grapevine, Jewel and her husband, Leston, are truly blessed; they have five fine children. When Brenda Kay is born in 1943, Jewel gives thanks for a healthy baby, last-born and most welcome. "Jewel" is the story of how quickly a life can change; how, like lightning, an unforeseen event can set us on a course without reason or compass. In this story of a woman's devotion to the child who is both her burden and God's singular way of smiling on her, Bret Lott has created a mother-daughter relationship of matchless intensity and beauty, and one of the finest, most indomitable heroines in contemporary American fiction.
The Boston Globe Bret Lott has a gift for making the ordinary seem luminous. In Jewel, he applies his art to a broad canvas and produces what may stand as his masterpiece....Lott matches the honest strength of his characters with that of his prose. His Jewel is a force of nature, her story rising out of a perfect, seamless union of teller and tale. The Los Angeles Times Lott is one of the most important and imaginative writers in America today. His eye for detail is unparalleled; his vision -- where he looks -- is like no one else's in this country. The Chicago Tribune Bret Lott's Jewel is a beautifully crafted first-person epic of one poor southern woman's personal duel with God....This is a voice we don't want to stop hearing....Some of the tenderest scenes of family love since those in Dickens.... The New York Times Book Review Sweeping and beautifully written....a parable for our age.