Book Review and Giveaway | The Undertaker’s Assistant by Amanda Skenadore #bookreview #TheUndertakersAssistant #AmandaSkenandore #HFVBTBlogTours @ARShenandoah @hfvbt @KensingtonBooks

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Undertaker’s Assistant by Amanda Skenadore! Big thanks to Amy at HFVBT for the complimentary review copy.

⤵️Make sure to read all the way to the end for THE GIVEAWAY!⤵️

Publication Date: July 30, 2019 🆕

Pages: 304 pages

Genre: Historical Fiction


This was a novel that I found to be powerful and tragic as we follow Effie’s journey during the Civil War and the reconstruction era in Louisiana.

I was impressed by the research the author did for this book, both medical and historical.

Effie’s life was particularly sad in that we know she’s had a traumatic childhood and even though she’s a freed woman who is skilled and competent, she is still treated poorly. She was often alone and isolated which made her an easy target for unscrupulous people. She is guarded and abrasive and yet also naive. She never learned how to filter herself or fit in. Fortunately her friendship with Adeline helps give her some confidence and gets her involved in the politics of the time.

This was a fascinating story about a period of American history that was full of violence against women and racial turmoil. I enjoyed this well written historical fiction novel. The New Orleans setting was perfectly captured and the characters were haunting and memorable.

About the Book:

Set during Reconstruction-era New Orleans, and with an extraordinary and unforgettable heroine at its heart, The Undertaker’s Assistant is a powerful story of human resilience–and of the unlikely bonds that hold fast even in our darkest moments.

“The dead can’t hurt you. Only the living can.”Effie Jones, a former slave who escaped to the Union side as a child, knows the truth of her words. Taken in by an army surgeon and his wife during the War, she learned to read and write, to tolerate the sight of blood and broken bodies–and to forget what is too painful to bear. Now a young freedwoman, she has returned south to New Orleans and earns her living as an embalmer, her steady hand and skillful incisions compensating for her white employer’s shortcomings.

Tall and serious, Effie keeps her distance from the other girls in her boarding house, holding tight to the satisfaction she finds in her work. But despite her reticence, two encounters–with a charismatic state legislator named Samson Greene, and a beautiful young Creole, Adeline–introduce her to new worlds of protests and activism, of soirees and social ambition. Effie decides to seek out the past she has blocked from her memory and try to trace her kin. As her hopes are tested by betrayal, and New Orleans grapples with violence and growing racial turmoil, Effie faces loss and heartache, but also a chance to finally find her place . . .


Praise for Amanda Skenandore and Between Earth and Sky

“Gripping and beautifully written, Between Earth and Sky tugs at the heart with its dynamic heroine and unique cast of characters. Though this novel brings alive two historical American eras and settings, the story is achingly modern, universal and important.” –Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of The It Girls

“Intensely emotional. . . . Skenandore’s deeply introspective and moving novel will appeal to readers of American history, particularly those interested in the dynamics behind the misguided efforts of white people to better the lives Native American by forcing them to adopt white cultural mores.” –Publishers Weekly

“A masterfully written novel about the heart-wrenching clash of two American cultures . . . a fresh and astonishing debut.” –V.S. Alexander, author of The Magdalen Girls and The Taster

“By describing its costs in human terms, the author shapes tension between whites and Native Americans into a touching story. The title of Skenandore’s debut could refer to reality and dreams, or to love and betrayal; all are present in this highly original novel.” –Booklist

“A heartbreaking story about the destructive legacy of the forced assimilation of Native American children. Historical fiction readers and book discussion groups will find much to ponder here.” –Library Journal

“At its heart, this luminous book tells a Romeo and Juliet story. But Skenandore’s book is so much more than a simple romance. This novel examines the complex relationship between love and loss, culture and conquest, annihilation and assimilation.” –Historical Novel Society

About the Author:

Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer and registered nurse. Between Earth and Sky was her first novel. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Readers can visit her website at


Blog Tour Schedule:

Online Launch Party:

Facebook event:


During the Blog Tour, we are giving away two signed copies of The Undertaker’s Assistant by Amanda Skenandore! To enter, please use the Gleam link below.

Giveaway Rules:

– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on August 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.

– Giveaway is open to the US only.

– Only one entry per household.

– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.

– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.

Direct Link: CLICK HERE!

Did you enjoy this post? Please take a few seconds and click below to retweet!

[bctt tweet=”Book Review and GIVEAWAY! If you enjoy Civil War historical fiction with a strong and resilient female, look no further than new title: The Undertaker’s Assistant by Amanda Skenandore! #bookreview #historical fiction”]

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using this link. Thank you for supporting this blog and the books I recommend! I may have received a book for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Follow OrangeCountyReaders on Goodreads, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Support Us on Ko-Fi and Amazon. And please, feel free to leave a comment!