A darkly funny and deeply tender collection, Hill observes how place, blood-ties, generational trauma, desperation, obsessions, and boundaries (or lack thereof), influence the navigation of the worlds of twelve Black women in Appalachia.
Best Books of the Year, Oprah Daily
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Page One: Where New and Noteworthy Books Begin, Poets & Writers
10 of the Best Appalachian Books of the Year, BookRiot
In her dynamic debut, Halle Hill’s Good Women delves into the lives of twelve Black women across the Appalachian South.
A woman boards a Greyhound bus barreling toward Florida to meet her sugar daddy’s mother; a state fair employee considers revenge on a local preacher; a sister struggles with guilt as she helps her brother plan to run away with a man he's seeing in secret; a young woman who works for a scam for-profit college navigates the lies she sells for a living.
Darkly funny and deeply human, Good Women observes how place, blood-ties, generational trauma, obsession, and boundaries—or lack thereof—influence how we navigate our small worlds, and how those worlds so often collide in ways we don’t expect. Through intimate moments of personal choice, Hill carefully shines a light on how these twelve women shape and form themselves through faith and abandon, transgression and conformity, community, caution, and solitude.
With precision and empathy, Hill captures the mundane in moments of absurdity, and bears witness to both joy and heartbreak, reminding us how the next moment could be life-changing. Vibrant and exacting, Hill is a must-read new voice in literary fiction.
Praise for Good Women
“Characters are tormented by pregnancy (unwanted, ill-starred), weight control, evangelical faith, screwed-up mothers and fathers, and police brutality and are unable to find the comfort others do in Pema Chödrön, nontoxic cleaning supplies, or White Claw. A stunning slow burn brimming with observation, emotion, and incident.”
—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
“These sharp stories bring gallows humor to the Weight Watchers meeting, church study group, funeral parlor, emergency room — anywhere southern Black women are doing what it takes to get by.” —Marion Winik, People Magazine
“With humor and immediacy, Halle Hill’s empathetic, feral debut story collection spotlights 12 Black women across Appalachia and the Deep South, marked by faith and abandon.” —Lauren LeBlanc, The Boston Globe
"Good Women dips into the lives of complex Appalachian women who endure tough situations—from sex work to religious oppression to maternal strife—while struggling to forge ahead. Edgy and intimate, Hill’s stories form an unexpectedly cohesive series of vignettes that deliver a stunning proclamation on the modern female experience." —Leah Tyler, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“In this powerful collection, Hill gathers a chorus of women, each fumbling and fascinating in unique ways. Though the stories stand alone, together they offer a brilliant composite of what it might mean to be a Good Woman.” —Sara Beth West, Chapter 16
“In Halle Hill's Good Women, we meet mothers and daughters, lovers and friends, saints and aint's––all longing for something, some place, someone. They are curious, messy, and determined, and Hill's fierce and dazzling pen lets us feel every ounce of their complicated desires. Every mistake, every realization, every triumph, every tragedy. This is a fantastic firecracker of a collection I'll return to again and again!”
—Deesha Philyaw, author of The Secret Lives of Church Ladies
“In Good Women, Halle Hill gifts us an unflinching peek at women who are trying, women who are aching, women who are running their hands along the walls of their dark hearts, fumbling for the light. Important and beautifully written, this collection is alive with bite and verve tick-tick-ticking on every page.”
—Leesa Cross-Smith, author of Whiskey & Ribbons
“Full of fun and tension, Good Women masters the gift of taking your characters seriously. Hill writes with whip, guiding us through the insides of Southern Black women—their weekends, their inner dialogues, their dialect, their flesh, their humaneness—all of which heightens their depth. In this unforgettable debut, Good Women (pun intended) travel viscerally, becoming trapped in your fingertips every time you turn the page.”
—Kendra Allen, author of Fruit Punch
“Halle Hill misses nothing, sees everything—Good Women gives witness. These stories are intimate, unbound and Hill delivers them like a wrestled testimony barreling through time. Halle Hill is here, y’all. And Good Women, these stories, these lives, will last and last in all of us.”
—Ashleigh Bryant Phillips, author of Sleepovers
“Halle Hill is a major artist, one of the most astounding I know of living today. Good Women, her first collection of stories, sits dominant on the shelf next to the other classic story collections I admire. She’s written a future classic. You’ll see what I mean once you crack it open.”
—Bud Smith, author of Teenager
"This heralds a bright new talent." —Publishers Weekly
“This is a collection about awareness and choosing between misery fed by willful ignorance or working toward uncertain change. Introspective and heartbreaking, Good Women showcases the interior lives of women who are near their breaking points.”
—Dontaná McPherson-Joseph, Foreword Reviews
“Hill knows how to layer in just enough mystery and dread to keep readers invested. With a well-balanced blend of excitement and empathy, these stories are also able to handle darker topics without straying too far into melodrama.” —Zeja Z. Copes, Booklist
"Hill’s bold narratives leverage strong interiority and voice. These stories show how sometimes being a 'good woman' is about adapting and enduring. It isn’t always about achieving something admirable and fulfilling, but rather, surviving long enough so perhaps, someday, she will.” —Don J. Rath, Southern Review of Books