I checked this book out on a whim, because I liked another of the author's work. I was not even aware of the plot -- oddly enough, I started reading it shortly after the murder of George Floyd, and completed it while the Black Lives Matter protests raged in the weeks that followed. It felt like an appropriate fictional compliment to the hunger for racial awareness/equality on everyone's mind & pain in their hearts right now.
This author is white, and also I am a white reader, so perhaps there is room for interpretation, but my understanding is that the author researched her characters by sitting down & listening to the stories of real life folks who have lived the character's stories.
Highly recommended, if only for the amazing ending.