Miss Ophelia by Mary Smith (Paperback)
Set in rural Virginia during 1948, Miss Ophelia is a remarkable debut novel that explores the issues of abortion, illegitimacy, adultery, and skin color. Belly Anderson now in the autumn of her life, reminisces about the last summer of her childhood. A strong-willed and free-spirited eleven-year-old, she reluctantly leaves her home in rural Pharaoh and goes to Jamison to help her mean Aunt Rachel recover from surgery. Belly has two reasons for deciding to go to Jamison: She's left alone when her only friend becomes pregnant and is sent away, and she hopes that she'll be allowed to take piano lessons from her mother's childhood friend. While taking lessons from Miss Ophelia, she learns a terrible secret about her beloved teacher--a secret that forces Belly to grow up and learn what it really means to be an adult.