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Apron Strings [Kindle Edition]

Mary Morony
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (344 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.95
Kindle Price: $3.99
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Book Description

When a grown-up tells you not to worry, you had better start—first rule of thumb, Sallee Mackey, age seven. She is already more than a little bit wary of the adults in her Jim Crow era, Southern world with good reason. Sallee’s mother Ginny is flat out dangerous; her father Joe is on his way out the door; and Mr. Dabney the bigoted neighbor seems to be just a little too interested with the goings on at Sallee’s house—like he knows something no one else does. The only adult to be trusted is Ethel, the family maid, who has known Sallee’s mother since Ethel and Ginny were both girls.

That complicated relationship started the day Ethel spied Ginny kissing the black stable boy years ago. While Ginny has conveniently forgotten that she even knew Ethel back then, Sallee has not as she constantly lobs questions at Ethel about her mother’s girlhood.

From Sallee’s oft times humorous and always guileless vantage, grownups have a most mixed up view of the world. What does skin color have to do with learning? Closing schools rather than have black and white children in the same classroom, what’s the sense of that?

Ethel gives her very own biased account of her shared history with Ginny while Sallee hones her vigilance and stealth, skills she and her brother and two sisters have acquired in an attempt to understand the drama that swirls around them. Rocks are thrown through windows, a car filled with angry white men shout racial slurs at the children at play and a tragic poisoning threatens the entire family’s sense of security.

When Joe Mackey asks Ethel to testify on his behalf in a custody suit, her conflicted loyalties throw the entire family into even more turmoil.

Editorial Reviews

From Kirkus Reviews

A white Virginian family in the late 1950s struggles to stay together while enduring a failing marriage and racist neighbors in Morony's debut historical drama. For the Mackey family, 1957 changed everything, at least according to 7-year-old Sallee. Morony writes in a candid voice, refusing to sugarcoat the overt racism and making it clear that a small family in Virginia won't change the bullheaded beliefs of others. Readers will be glad that they've stuck around for the bittersweet ending. APRON STRINGS maintains a remarkable degree of refinement and Southern charm.


  I loved the language and nuances of each character...and the ending came all too soon for me.   ... What I found especially compelling was the fact that most of the characters were faceted and for every flaw you saw...there were other aspects that made them sympathetic.  There is a lovely balance here of kindness and crookedness that life often throws at you. ~ Bookworm Reviews

Product Details

  • File Size: 460 KB
  • Print Length: 253 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615951791
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00J0L79KO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #314,308 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Realistic yet uplifting story May 14, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Mary Morony has done a wonderful job of describing central Virginia life in the 1950s and 1960s. Her characters are vivid and realistic. She describes them as individuals rather than as members of any certain group of people. She sympathetically shows them with their tender hearts as well as their human foibles. She describes honest interaction between blacks and whites devoid of today's political correctness which poisons the dialogue.

Although Ethel is the maid she is far more than that. She is the loving disciplinarian of her employer's children. She takes pride in teaching them manners in the way she thinks her employer would want them taught. Her employer, Virginia, trusts her with them in her absence as she would trust a family member. She does not judge her on the color of her skin but by the love Ethel shows Virginia's children.

Morony describes the good and bad of the adults in her story. It has a ring of truth. In spite of family discord, tragedies, financial reversal, alcohol abuse, and ultimately family breakup, the Mackey children retain their family bonds.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully Realized May 21, 2014
By Hedge
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Author Mary Morony does a terrific job of depicting life in the 1950's south in this compelling novel of growing up in the segregated society of central Virginia. I literally couldn't put it down as I was swept into her descriptions of the conflicts and confusion that racism and apartheid inflicted on those (both black and white) who grew up in that era. Highly recommended.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stunning Novel June 13, 2014
With characters and dialogue so rich that they jump of the page, Apron Strings is a stunning novel of the late 1950's south.
There are literally dozens of sentences I find myself going back to--just to savor how beautifully they are written. All the characters ring true and young Sallee and Ethel's rich relationship anchors this well-told tale of the complex interplay of blacks and whites, friends and foes, lovers and the families that bind them all together.
An absolute must read--the ending is heart-wrenching and believable and this book will remain on my shelf to revisit again.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book! June 16, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Once I started it I could not put it down. It is amazing how realistic the voices sound. Sallee sounded just like a 7 year old girl. And the dialogue between the siblings rang so true. This very dysfunctional family made you weep for them. And there were many Charlottesville references.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, Captivating, applauds to Mary Moroney!! June 17, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wonderful prose clearly depicting the place and times. The character development was done so well, you wanted to reach out and hug the children, as well as shake some sense into the mother!!
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect read! May 19, 2014
By Mackie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Mary Morony's superbly written, Apron Strings, brought back lost memories of Virginia's late 50's/early 60's...Especially rich is the storyline between seven year old Sallee and Ethel, the family's maid...So well written, I could actually "hear" their dialogue and I thanked the heavens for the safe haven Ethel tried to provide Sallee from the all too many dysfunctional adults...I smiled and laughed, frowned and cried...The perfect read....As Ina Garten would say, "who wouldn't like that!?!"
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! March 22, 2014
By Max
I love the way it's written. Dialect is excellent. Brought back many memories of my own childhood. I think everyone should read it!!!! Max
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Authentic June 9, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully wdritten account of life in the South; more specifically in Charlottesville, Va. during the 50s. Couldnt put it down
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
like the read, similar to the help.
Published 3 days ago by Sherri Conner
3.0 out of 5 stars Engaging
I enjoyed the Southern cadences of the characters voices. The story is told from the perspective of a child and her maid/nanny. Read more
Published 6 days ago by A. J. Brown
4.0 out of 5 stars Apron strings
Good read....slave language sometimes difficult to understand...story was sad.
Published 11 days ago by Bonnie Rudner
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
Published 25 days ago by Brandon
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Would read more of her books..
Published 28 days ago by Brenda Murray
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read.
Another winner. Great read.
Published 1 month ago by Diana Nelson
3.0 out of 5 stars but I didn’t really enjoy it and it left me feeling cold
Sallee is a little girl being raised by her family’s black maid, Ethel. Her mother has checked out, her father is leaving her mother. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Heather E. Hejduk
3.0 out of 5 stars just average
Too long. Jumped from one thing to another. Disjointed. Depressing thought it would be much better than it was. Upset that I was forced to review it before I finished it.
Published 1 month ago by Martha Hegner
2.0 out of 5 stars Lack of Character Development
I was disappointed in the lack of character development. There was so much potential, but this book just didn't get there.
Published 1 month ago by Annie
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gem
If a novel doesn't catch me and pin me down right off, I'm apt to wander away after a short while. Apron Strings had me wrapped around its finger from the start. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mary I Michaud
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More About the Author

Segregated schools and water fountains along with "whites only" restaurants and movie theaters were the norm when I was growing up. I remember the hurled epithets and smashed windows of a society boiling in hatred.
I was one of six kids and had four of my own. As if that didn't provide sufficient material about family chaos, at the age of forty-something, with a high school daughter and a four-year-old girl still at home, I decided to get a college degree. I earned, and I do mean earned, a B.A. in English with honors at the University of Virginia. My concentration was creative writing.
More recently I pursued additional studies under the tutelage of my seven-year-old granddaughter. Her refresher course in childhood perspective was invaluable in writing this book.
I was born and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia by my family's black maid. She taught me love and acceptance with warm, loving humor and unending patience.
The relationship I was privileged to experience taught me much about the human heart and the redemptive power of love, especially between races.

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