Newton County, Mississippi, 1874
She’d been daydreaming again, that was the trouble. Mama always said someday her future would pass her by while she was lollygagging, and Exah hated it when Mama was right. She knew her brother J. J. was coming home today, and just possibly bringing his friend Jesse Smith to stay, and she’d planned to be scrubbed and changed into her clean dress and greeting them in the front hall, fresh as a peach.
It was hard being the last child left at home. Not that she was a child anymore. She was nineteen — perfectly old enough to be…