If you read Robert Hicks’ novel Widow of the South you may recognize some familiar names, faces, and circumstances. However, it is not necessary to have read Widow of the South to appreciate Orphan Mother. It stands alone. Set during the first phase of Southern Reconstruction it is a look at the racial and societal tensions of the era – tensions that often resulted in violence. It follows the fates of Mariah the freed slave as she learns to let go off the mental and emotional chains of the past and Tole the assassin as he learns the impossibility of doing so. Well-written and insightful I read it slowly not wanting to miss a word. It was worth the time.