Elaine Hussey’s The Sweetest Hallelujah tells the story of an unexpected friendship and a rare welcome into an unfamiliar community. The story takes place during the 1950s in the Deep South, a time of aggressive discrimination against people of color and tremendous potential for violence against neighbors who choose to go against the norm. Its main characters include a tough-minded white woman named Cassie, a widow with an open yet broken heart, and an African-American single mom named Betty Jewel, a formerly well-known jazz singer and performer who is very ill.
Betty Jewel is raising an independent young woman named Billie. Billie, in turn, is busy attempting to get to know the man she believes to be her father, also a jazz performer and an all around scoundrel. Without giving away the heart of the tale, Hussey introduces a