A Place to Rest is a journey of discovery through the rapidly changing landscape of the post-World War II American South as viewed from the perspective of best friends, Mildred Morgan and Janet Bell. The pair grew up together in rural Grover’s Fork, Alabama, and remained inseparable through college, despite having little in common. Mildred is the classic wallflower—soft-spoken, malleable, and emotionally fraught. Janet is outspoken, iconoclastic, and highly ambitious. After college, the two-part ways.
Mildred returns to Grover's Fork, where she becomes a high school librarian. Living at home and socially adrift, she marries a fellow teacher and starts a family. Her carefully constructed safe harbor is shaken by the mysterious disappearance of her husband, and she turns to her young son, James, for emotional ballast and meaning. Janet lands a job as a reporter for the Montgomery Observer and settles in the state capital where she covers the Civil Rights movement as a Pulitzer-Prize-winning journalist. Even as her professional career flourishes, she remains vaguely unsatisfied. Despite their geographical separation and different paths, both are buffeted by the winds of change sweeping through the South in the 1950s.
Sharing their hopes and fears, dreams and nightmares, triumphs and tragedies in a vivid and unsparing correspondence, Mildred and Janet continue to navigate a journey to find meaning and hope in an indifferent world.
Tom Miller was born and raised in the Alabama Wiregrass when cotton was still king and mostly picked by hand. He attended the University of Alabama, did a stint in the U.S. Army, and eventually settled in corn country, a.k.a. Iowa, where he taught history at Scott Community College in Bettendorf. He is the author of six novels for middle-grade readers and scores of articles, essays, and reviews for journals, magazines, and newspapers. He also served for fifteen years on the Board of Directors of the Children’s Literature Festival. Now retired, Tom lives in Bettendorf with his wife of forty-one years, Connie. They have a son David and two grandsons, Dylan and Ryan.