Tag Archives: Southern literature

Book Review: Still Waters

21 Sep

Cora Anne Halloway has a history degree and a plan: avoid her own past — despite being wait-listed for graduate school. Then her beloved grandmother requests—and her dispassionate mother insists — that she spend the summer at Still Waters, the family cottage on Edisto Beach, South Carolina.

Despite its picturesque setting, Still Waters haunts Cora Anne with loss. At Still Waters her grandfather died, her parents’ marriage disintegrated, and as a child, she caused a tragic drowning. But lingering among the oak canopies and gentle tides, this place also tempts her with forgiveness — especially since Nan hired Tennessee Watson to oversee cottage repairs. A local contractor, but dedicated to the island’s preservation from development, Tennessee offers her friendship and more, if she can move beyond her guilt.

When a family reunion reveals Nan’s failing health, Cora Anne discovers how far Tennessee will go to protect her — and Edisto — from more desolation. Will Cora Anne choose between a life driven by guilt, or one washed clean by the tides of grace?

Award-winning writer, Lindsey P. Brackett just writes life — blogs, columns, articles, and stories — in the midst of motherhood. A blogger since 2010, she has published articles and short stories in a variety of print and online publications. She writes a popular bimonthly column for several local newspapers in which she meditates on small town southern life.

Her love of family ties and southern places prompted her first novel, Still Waters, a Lowcountry story about the power of family and forgiveness. Thanks to her four kids, in her home you’ll find wet towels, lost library books, and strong coffee.

Connect with her at http://www.lindseypbrackett.com, where she just writes life, on Facebook as Lindsey P. Brackett, on Twitter @lindsbrac, or Instagram @lindseypbrackett.

 

My Impressions:

Still Waters by Lindsey P. Brackett was my book club’s selection this month. I chose this book because of the Southern island setting that I knew would suit our club’s anniversary. A good beach read for a late Summer book getaway is what I was expecting. I certainly got that, but I didn’t realize I would also get a book that as one member put it was way more than fluff. Romance is definitely a part of the book’s appeal, but Still Waters, with its emphasis on family, faith, and forgiveness, is a book that will get you thinking. So sit back in your rocker with a glass of tea and be prepared for a book that will speak to you about reunions and reclamation (in more ways than one).

Cora Anne is fresh out of college with a UGA diploma. Her life has been one of plans and purpose since she was 11 years old. But a storm and a determined grandmother put her back on the road to Edisto Island, a place that claims and breaks her heart at the same time. With the notion of helping her grandmother ready their beach house, Still Waters, Cora Ann confronts her past while clearing a way for a future.

I loved the strong characterization in Still Waters. There are so many great characters to choose from, I found it hard to have a favorite. Cora Anne is a sympathetic character in her turmoil and guilt that has dogged her for 12 years. Her grandmother, Nan, is feisty, strong, insightful, and bold, though her body is frail. If ever there was a swoon-worthy hero, it is Tennessee. His care and concern for Cora Anne surpass his own wants. Secondary characters are fun and create a great compliment for the activities of the main characters. Cora Anne’s triplet brothers provide wonderful comic relief. And there are at least two characters I would love to see get their own book. The setting itself, Edisto Island, is its own character. The essence of the island winds itself through the narrative and the imagination of the reader. It is now on my bucket list of places to visit. Forgiveness is one of the themes in Still Waters. More than one character wrestles with guilt and remorse. The author does a great job of portraying what “living under” forgiveness really looks like.

Still Waters is really a lot of things — southern lit, women’s fiction, family drama, and romance, to name a few. It sounds like a big jumble when stated that way, but that’s not the case at all. It is a well-crafted blend like the spicy gumbo Nan makes. Some sweetness, some spice, and a lot to warm the heart and soul.

Recommended.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(I received a complimentary copy of Still Waters from the author. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

Top 10 Tuesday — How Could I Forget?!

23 Jan

Today’s Top 10 Tuesday theme from That Artsy Reader Girl is books I liked, but can’t remember what they are about. When I saw this title I smugly thought, I can remember all the books I’ve read! Yeah, right! I began by looking at my book club’s list of past selections. Over the past 15 years we have read some excellent books, all I thought still held a special place in my memory. That would be a no. Given a bit of prompting, I remember the gist. But character names, plot essentials? Well, I’ll credit my lapse to the hundreds of books I have read in between now and then. That’s my story and I am sticking with it!

On a side note, back in the day we read a lot of women’s and Southern fiction. A lot of our time now is spent with high-octane suspense. Not sure what that says about my book club. Hmm.

For other bloggers’ forgettable books, click HERE.

 

Books I Forgot I Liked! 😉

 

Coffee Rings by Yvonne Lehman

They met in college, three young women with unstoppable dreams-until one tragic event pulled them in separate directions. Nineteen years later, they each find themselves living back in Laurel Ridge, North Carolina,and covering their deeply held pain with genteel social behavior. Annette is widowed and running a coffee shop. Ruby is married to a minister and raising three children. Lara is divorced and managing a women’s boutique. When their long-held secrets surface, how will they hold the fragile pieces of their lives together? Are the stains of the past too deeply imbedded for true forgiveness to occur?

Fallen Angels by Patricia Hickman

The award-winning author of Sandpebbles presents the first installment in the Millwood Hollow series about an unlikely hero and a trio of abandoned siblings struggling for survival in the South during the Great Depression.

Grace at Bender Springs by Vinita Hampton Wright

This critically-acclaimed literary novel set in the small, worn-out town of Bender Springs, Kansas boasts an intricately detailed plot with a variety of character types that give every reader someone with which to identify.

 

 

Hot Flashes And Cold Cream by DiAnn Hunt

An eccentric best friend, a leaky Chihuahua, a teenager in trouble, and a workaholic husband with a gorgeous new colleague. Those are the ingredients for Diann Hunt’s wise and funny story about growing . . . well, older . . . with grace.

Jamaican Me Crazy by Debbie DiGiovanni

When putting together another “perfect” Christmas is just too much, the women of Lakeside Baptist Church rebel (as much as Baptists can) and buy six tickets to Jamaica. Trading their to-dos and grocery lists for sunscreen and flip-flops, the ladies think they’re going to have the time of their lives. Only their sunny holiday turns out to be more than they bargained for and they get cold reality, sans sugarplums, for Christmas. A great escape for those snowy, gray December days, Jamaican Me Crazy is just what the doctor ordered. Christian women who dig friendship fiction like The Potluck Club will love this exciting tale of a Caribbean Christmas gone crazy.

Like a Watered Garden by Patti Hill

Mibby Garrett walks through grief as if feeling her way through an unfamiliar room on a moonless night. She’s been unable to get her life back on track after losing her husband in a bicycle accident. Owner and operator of Perennially Yours Garden Design and mother to twelve-year-old Ky, Mibby struggles to keep her “boat tied to the dock” as she avoids reminders of her husband and their former life. A new garden design project, the puzzling case of dying rosebushes, and a mysterious young stranger bring Mibby out of her fog. Has God answered her prayers in the most unexpected way?

Love The Sinner by Lynn Bulock

When her philandering, con-artist husband is murdered, full-figured Gracie Lee Harris, with the help of God and some newfound friends, wades through a wealth of suspects — all women he scorned and cheated — to catch a killer.

 

Mercy Me by Margaret Graham

Down-to-earth, feisty southern widow Esmeralda counsels her best friend and the women’s Sunday School class while rallying the petty Apostolic Bible Church women to assist an impoverished mother with AIDS.

Passing by Samaria by Sharon Ewell Foster

The date is 1919 — a time of unrest and drastic change. For Alena, though, life in Mississippi is perfect, and she prays she will never leave her home. That prayer is shattered when she makes a horrible discovery – -a discovery that leads her to challenge all she believes. Against the backdrop of the Great Migration, from a quiet, country setting, Alena is catapulted to Chicago, the “city of broad shoulders.” There, amidst riots, misplaced love, and post-war confusion, the outspoken young woman struggles to find herself and the one true thing that will save her. 

The Town That Came A-Courtin’ by Rhonda Rich

Leaving behind the disappointments and romantic upheaval that marked her life in her hometown of Dexter, Georgia, Abby Houston finds success as a best-selling author and warm-hearted acceptance from the residents of Bliss, Mississippi.

 

 

Have you read any of these books?

If not, have I peaked your interest?

Book Review: A Redbird Christmas

20 Dec

199532Deep in the southernmost part of Alabama, along the banks of a lazy winding river, lies the sleepy little community known as Lost River, a place that time itself seems to have forgotten. After a startling diagnosis from his doctor, Oswald T. Campbell leaves behind the cold and damp of the oncoming Chicago winter to spend what he believes will be his last Christmas in the warm and welcoming town of Lost River. There he meets the postman who delivers mail by boat, the store owner who nurses a broken heart, the ladies of the Mystic Order of the Royal Polka Dots Secret Society, who do clandestine good works. And he meets a little redbird named Jack, who is at the center of this tale of a magical Christmas when something so amazing happened that those who witnessed it have never forgotten it. Once you experience the wonder, you too will never forget A Redbird Christmas.

Fannie_Flagg_Author-Bio-200x300Fannie Flagg’s career started in the fifth grade when she wrote, directed, and starred in her first play entitled The Whoopee Girls, and she has not stopped since. At age nineteen she began writing and producing television specials, and later wrote and appeared on Candid Camera. She then went on to distinguish herself as an actress and a writer in television, films, and the theater. She is the New York Times bestselling author of Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man; Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe; Welcome to the World, Baby Girl!; Standing in the Rainbow; A Redbird Christmas; and Can’t Wait to Get to Heaven. Flagg’s script for the movie Fried Green Tomatoes was nominated for an Academy Award, and the Writers Guild of America Award and won the highly regarded Scripter Award for best screenplay of the year. Flagg lives happily in California and Alabama.

My Impressions:

A Redbird Christmas was my church book club’s December pick, and it was unanimous (an unbelievable feat!), we all liked it. Fannie Flagg took a small, south Alabama town and made it magical. The setting is wonderful with the river, the charming town and friendly people. But it is the characters that make this story. Flagg takes lost, wounded, lonely people and places them in a family in the little town of Lost River. When asked which character was our favorite, most of our group chose Jack, the surprisingly talented red bird or cardinal that claimed the hearts of the townspeople and healed the hurts of a little girl.

Flagg also achieves something special in her storytelling. She takes ordinary people, ordinary setting and adds a twist of the mysterious and magical. There is a fairy tale quality to her writing that changes the everyday into something special.

If you are looking for a sweet, definitely Southern tale that will make you laugh and perhaps cry, try A Redbird Chirstmas. (Please note: there is some mild profanity.)

Recommended.

(I purchased a copy of this book. All opinions are mine alone.)

To purchase a copy of this book, click on the image below.