On a recent trip with a friend, I happened to glance at some books her daughter had brought home after her freshman year at college. Despite the grim description, I was intrigued by Elsie's Business by Frances Washburn.
The novel begins with the brutal attack of Elsie, who is beaten and raped by a group of white boys. Elsie, is half African American and Native American. The narrator of the book pieces together Elsie's life from various people he talks to including Nancy Marks, who befriends Elise. Elsie, like her mother cleans homes and makes beaded moccasins and other crafts from deer hides.
After leaving the town where she is attacked, Elsie is murdered. The mystery of who killed her is never solved. There are several other questions raised that are never answered.
I have to admit, this was a tough book to read. I think I sniffled/ cried through at least half of the book.