Opal is an eighteen-year-old Black woman working as a housekeeper in a small Southern town in the 1930s—and then the Klan descends. A moving story that confronts America’s tragic past, When Stars Rain Down is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching.
The summer of 1936 in Parsons, Georgia, is unseasonably hot, and Opal Pruitt senses a nameless storm brewing. She hopes this foreboding feeling won’t overshadow her upcoming 18th birthday or the annual Founder’s Day celebration in just a few weeks. She and her Grandma Birdie work as housekeepers for the white widow Miss Peggy, and Opal desperately wants some time to be young and carefree with her cousins and friends.
But when the Ku Klux Klan descends on Opal’s neighborhood, the tight-knit community is shaken in every way possible. Parsons’s residents—both Black and white—are forced to acknowledge the unspoken codes of conduct in their post-Reconstruction era town. To complicate matters, Opal finds herself torn between two unexpected romantic interests—the son of her pastor, Cedric Perkins, and the white grandson of the woman she works for, Jimmy Earl Ketchums.
Faced with love, loss, and a harsh awakening to an ugly world, Opal holds tight to her family and faith—and the hope for change.
“When Stars Rain Down is so powerful, timely, and compelling . . . an important and beautifully written must-read of a novel.” —Silas House, author of Southernmost
- 2021 Langum Prize in American Historical Fiction – Finalist
- Stand-alone novel
- Includes discussion questions for book clubs
Angela Jackson-Brown is an award-winning writer, poet, and playwright who is a member of the graduate faculty of the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University in Louisville, Kentucky. In the fall semester of 2022, she will be joining the creative writing program at Indiana University Bloomington as an associate professor. Angela is a graduate of Troy University, Auburn University, and the Spalding low-residency MFA program in creative writing. She has published her short fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry in journals like the Louisville Courier Journal and Appalachian Review. She is the author of Drinking from a Bitter Cup, House Repairs, When Stars Rain Down, and the upcoming novel The Light Always Breaks. When Stars Rain Down is a highly acclaimed novel that received a starred review from Library Journal and glowing reviews from Alabama Public Library, Buzzfeed, Parade magazine, and Woman's Weekly. It was also a finalist for the David J. Langum, Sr. Prize in American historical fiction.