Mama June and Preston Blakely's lifelong dream has been to hold on to the 100 acres of land-all that is left of the family's plantation. But when the new tax bill arrives, it looks as though they might have to sell. As the family struggles to keep the land and remain united, the Blakely’s come to realize that their bond as a family is all they need to stay together.
This sounds like another winner. I have never read anything from this author, but her characters are already reaching out. I must follow this family and see what happens. I can just picture in my mind the father walking down that path with his dog at this side. This book will make me feel like I am in North Carolina, and I can see and feel the storm rolling in. I shall see what unfolds but it does seem to be a winner so far.
I feel like I've read something by this author before but can't remember. Will check to see what other books she's written. As a South Carolinian I'm always interested in reading SC books! I LOVE the dialogue/dialect and it is RIGHT ON so far. The only thing I'm having trouble picturing along the SC coast is a house "high on the bluff" on the Atlantic. There's a reason it's called the 'LOW' Country, lol.
this book reminds me also of the nine years i lived in the low country, 1980-1989. i was there for hugo. the characters read like some one i might have known or had as neighbors. will keep reading the next three sections before make up my mind if i will continue to read this book.
For this work, I feel I need more than one installment to decide whether or not this will be a keeper. The blurb sounds as though it will involve family loss, forgiveness, and forging a new way of life. These are topics that appeal to most folks, so I will read on.
I remember buying a sweet grass basket last April when visiting the environs of Charleston, SC. They are quite beautiful, expensive and true works of local art.
Can anyone explain the use of "Swanny.." which comes up in this first installment. I never heard it or seen it written, and wonder if it may be a euphemism for a swear word?
I agree completely with Ashley and Lisa. The melodrama would make me think I was reading a parody, if it weren't so just plain bad. With this book club I give all kinds of fiction a five-day chance, even the ones that don't appeal to me at all, but this is too awful. And though there's no paperback romance heroine on the cover, the word "coursing" in the opening few pages signals the same thing - trash.
Opening isn't as enticing as some books on similar themes, but I'm giving it a chance. I like stories with family, land, and working to preserve same...
We shall see.
Title is similar to two other books I've read. It threw me at first!
Is it just me, or is there a northerner-hating theme in "low-country" books? I read "Sullivan's Island" by Dorothea Benton Frank after sampling here in the book club, and I was shocked -- SHOCKED -- to the references of the "War of Yankee Aggression." Another book club sample had similar overtures. Now, in only the second e-mail for this book, people from the "north" are what is destroying the main characters way of life. Surely I'm being over-sensitive here, but it's a real turn-off, and certainly ejects me out of the "suspension of disbelief" a novelist needs.
Aside from that, I find the writing to be clichéd and formulaic -- the characters dull and overused: the old, tired, grouchy-but-really-loving man, and his strong, loving, runs-the-household-in-her-quiet-way, and equally tired wife. Granted, I've only just touched the book, but I feel nothing for these characters; they seem very one-dimensional. I think this is one week during which I can hit the "delete" key without guilt.
I can tell you're not from the south and never lived there, Sheryl. Amongst the old timers (that would be 6th generation southerners) the war rages on.
I couldn't agree with you more about thequality of this book. I fiured when I saw the selection and synopsis last week that it would probably be like this. Pretty tired theme. Moving on to next week.....
You're right; I have lived in three states, but never lived in the "true" south. I live below the Mason-Dixon line now, but suburban DC doesn't really count. :-) The continuing "war" is very interesting, sociologically speaking. To northerners, the Civil War is no different, really, than the Revolutionary War -- just another piece of history. I wonder what has cemented it so much on the collective memories of southerners? I'll have to see if anyone's published anything on that. Happy Thursday, everyone!
Remember, Sheryl, the war was fought mainly on southern soil. And it marked the end of a unique life for most southern land holders. Plus, aren't we all pretty bad at losing? I'm always fascinated by the difference in world views between Yankees and Southerners. I'm sure my history lessons were quite different from yours. And I'd guess that neither is absolutely correct.
Hi Ann - what do you mean by 6th generation - descendents of plantation owners? - or "old money"? - etc. - Please clarify - Being a "southerner" myself, I have never felt the war to be raging on -
Good question, Doris. It probably depends where in the south you are. In a lot of the areas noted for their particular southern charm (Savannah, Charleston, etc.) you're a newcomer if your family hasn't been there for at least 6 generations. It's getting better (or worse, depending on your outlook) with more and more business relocations to the larger urban areas. Note that a lot of these areas are dependent on the tourism that their "ante bellum" character lends. Myself, I'm just happy that the U. of Texas won the Rose Bowl and national championship. Ya'll can have all those ol' cotton fields!
Ann, that was the BEST and I mean BEST college football game I have ever seen! I was rooting for Texas. Your QB is incredible. He was DETERMINED to win. Sorry to go off-topic here but honestly, that particular game was a heart stopper.
Love from Gamecock country. :)
Wasn't it though?? We got calls from all over the country, including one from a college friend who was in the stadium! I'm trying to forget Vince Young, who has decided to by-pass his senior year and degree and take the big professional bucks. The NCAA needs to address this abuse of scholarship money. But we Longhorns are enjoying the victory while we can! My entire wardrobe has turned orange and white!
I had high hopes for Sweetgrass. I loved the environmental / conservation tone of the early pages. Also I can relate to the overbuilding by greedy contractors who like cement more than trees and grass. They are killing many once beautiful spaces. But once the story and characters unfolded, I lost interest. Nothing original in the plot, and characters I've read about before. I stopped reading on Wednesday.
Think I will have to give this book a try - they do have at my library - but will definitely not be reading "Sullivan's Island" after reading an excerpt (that's one someone mentiioned in this discussion earlier) - good to have an assortment of books to choose from, isn't it?
By the way, my dtr. mentioned to me the new Gail Godwin book - was in pre-pub a while back - hopefully it is now out -
I lost interest after the first day's reading(!). I think it was the same old tired theme that just bored me from the git-go. Now, believe it or not, I HAVE heard dialect exactly like this, even with "big words" like 'avaricious' thrown into an otherwise grammatically incorrect sentence(!). I think it's part of the 'charm' or enigma of some southerners. I am a Yankee by birth and upbringing (NYC suburb) but SC is my adopted home x 20 yrs. I have grown to love it here and the people...and their history. I agree with Ann speaking in reference to "6th generation" southerners and if you do the math that takes us back to about 1826 (a generation=20 yrs?). The Civil War was in the 1860s so you can see how it has still in some people's hearts, been "passed" on to descendants, hard feelings and all. But it IS changing. It's funny because I can relate to a southerner's angst and frustration when someone from "up north" relocates here and then proceeds to tell the locals how backwards it is etc. There may indeed be a knee-jerk southern mistrust of "Yankees" but it works both ways just as not all southerners are hillbillies or 'rednecks', throwing beer cans out their pick-up windows etc. An almost in-born hatred seems to bloom in generations following some wars, look at Ireland or the Middle East for example. It's sad because it goes so deep. Thanks for listening! (A northerner with a lot of southern sympathy in her blood.)