Hattie’s Place is the story of Hattie Robinson’s determination to overcome the restraints of South Carolina society in the 1900s. It tears at the heartstrings even as it inspires.
A letter from Will Kendrick breaks Hattie Robinson’s heart one week before her 1907 graduation from Greenville Female College. He’s ended their engagement, making mysterious references to events preventing him from committing to their relationship.
Alone and confused by Will’s cryptic letter, Hattie takes a position as an elementary school teacher in Calhoun, South Carolina, and tries to put her life back together. She moves in with prominent attorney Charles Barton, his wife Elizabeth, and their four sons.
Hattie’s attempts to start a new life are continually interrupted. A visit from Will shakes her to her core, while a tragedy in the Barton family throws her new home into turmoil.
Work offers little solace. With no legislation regulating child labor laws, South Carolina provides little help for teachers concerned with their charges’ welfare. But when an abusive father forces his ten-year-old daughter to quit school and take a back-breaking job at the local textile mill, Hattie knows she has to act, even if doing so puts her job at risk.