Stockett's debut novel deftly interweaves the first person stories of three women in 1960s Mississippi - and focuses on the relationship between black maids and their white employers.
The voices feel authentic and distinctive - and each has an important, and occasionally shockingly heart-tearing, story of racial prejudice and female empowerment. Together they make for a cracking read with a strong sense of place and character. Even the Southern summer heatwave made its presence felt.
If there is a criticism, it is that it relies too much on a white saviour character to propel the narrative. Perhaps that's realistic, but it is a repeated feature of other novels in the same genre.
Verdict: Compelling, moving and funny.