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Bloodroot (China Bayles #10)

3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  2,020 Ratings  ·  111 Reviews
Lawyer-turned-herbalist China Bayles returns to the Deep South, where her family’s legacy of silence is at last broken—and the past finally, unforgettably, speaks the truth… 

A frantic phone call from her mother brings China back to her family’s Mississippi plantation—a place she’d forsaken long ago. But the late-spring air is thick with fear—and from the moment of her arri
Paperback, 320 pages
Published January 7th 2003 by Berkley (first published October 1st 2001)
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Alannah Davis
Dec 08, 2012 Alannah Davis rated it it was amazing
In #10 of the China Bayles series, China responds to an urgent phone call from her mother and goes back to her childhood home in Mississippi - to the family plantation and the past from which she had turned away.

Too many of the cozy mysteries I've been reading lack depth, especially when it comes to characterization. That's why it's so refreshing to read Susan Wittig Albert's work. Her work is always so rich with characterizaion and history, that I can imagine her writing volumes of backstory i
Dec 22, 2012 Mandolin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-inventory
Albert, Susan Wittig

China Bayles long ago rejected her Southern roots and the heritage of racial cruelty and prejudice that has been passed down through the Coldwell line, along with Jordan's Crossing, the sprawling Mississippi plantation on the banks of the Bloodroot River. A cryptic phone call from her mother, Leatha, however, sends China packing and wondering if her mother's allusions to ghosts of the past has any relation to her own recurrent nightmare of a body being dug from the gar
Jasmine Giacomo
Jan 07, 2011 Jasmine Giacomo rated it really liked it
China Bayles goes home, to her ancestral manor house in the swamps of the South, looking for answers to the mysteries of her own family tree.

This was my first China Bayles mystery, and I enjoyed it. The herbalism, the pervasive, odorous mugginess of the swamps, the heavy feel of generations of conflict and mystery--it was all good, baby.

The plot, a straightforward investigation into whether a newly-missing man possessed a claim to the land under China's ancestral home, quickly spun off into curl
Catherine Woodman
Jul 29, 2011 Catherine Woodman rated it liked it
China Bayles has an ambivalent relationship with her mother Leatha. Leatha spent most of China's childhood and adulthood in an alcoholic fog. Leatha is now on the wagon, but with so much baggage the relationship is still difficult. Leatha is staying with her sick Aunt Tullie on the family plantation in Mississippi, and there is something very wrong. The manager, Wylie, has announced to Leatha and Tullie that he has a deed to the land under the plantation's main house, is assaulted by the angry o ...more
Mar 14, 2016 Sue rated it really liked it
August 2016: re-visited via audio because I liked it so much and it was fun to listen to while sewing!

March 2016: I think this might be my favorite of the China series so far, although I love them all. This one does not take place in Pecan Springs, TX but China travels to her ancestral home in Mississippi to help her mother care for her ailing aunt. While there she becomes embroiled in a family history search, which of course was interesting to me, as she tries to track down a genetic disease in
Mar 21, 2009 David rated it it was amazing
In Bloodroot (Berkley, 2001) Susan Wittig Albert has written a novel that probes the depths of generational family secrets through a multi-layered story of kinship bonds and lost loves. China Bayles, Albert's venerable protagonist of (currently) seventeen published novels and many short stories, has left the relatively comfortable confines of her herb business in Pecan Springs, Texas to join her mother, Leatha and Aunt Tullie at Jordan's Crossing, the Coldwell family plantation in the Yazoo Vall ...more
Megan Bodwell
Feb 26, 2013 Megan Bodwell rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
I do like this series. This installment may be my favorite so far, for two reasons I think. First, I am doing my own family's genealogy and the family history links in the story were really appealing to me. Second, I really enjoyed the recipes that Albert included in this book. I have been hoping to see more herbal recipes in the series and these look particularly good.

This series has done a great job in continual development of the main character, China Bayles. She remains herself, yet constant
Jul 29, 2011 Margaret added it
Shelves: 2010
Took me a little while to get into the story - I'm not usually all that interested in Deep South generational tales - but somewhere after 50 pages or so I became interested. I really like that China (maybe being an ex-lawyer?) is a thinking amateur detective and does not (for the most part) impulsively confront suspects and get herself unwittingly into dangerous situations. I liked following her thought process and that she consciously decides who to tell what rather than blurting it all out at ...more
Ellen Moore
Oct 16, 2015 Ellen Moore rated it it was amazing
I found this book very interesting. It was quite different from other books in the series with a different setting--China's mother's homeplace, a Mississippi plantation called Jordan's Crossing, and mainly dealing only with China and her mother Leatha instead of the usual cast of characters. The family history and sordid secrets kept for decades made an interesting story, and the information included about China's great aunt Tullie's genetic debilitating disease, I found very interesting. There ...more
Aug 16, 2008 Susan rated it it was amazing
All of the China Bayles series books are written with a conversational style, and endearing sincerity. The characters are both loveable and believable as are the places. Albert describes things well enough to give you a picture for your mind's eye without allowing the descriptions to overtake the storyline. If you've never lived in Central Texas trust me when I tell you that this is as close as you can get without moving here! These books are a comfortable, easy read - equally good for rainy day ...more
Jun 09, 2013 Lily rated it it was amazing
Loved this story. It was chance to see China at her best, AWAY from McQuaid and Brian. The thing I didn't like was the fact that she believed Amanda's story too quickly. She should have demanded a DNA test before she let her anywhere near the old lady. Also, and this is a minor thing, the family tree chart includes Brian as her son. He isn't a blood relative so there should've been a notation indicating that he is a stepson. At least an asterisk or something. Other than that it was a fun additio ...more
May 20, 2012 Teesa rated it it was amazing
My favorite of the series so far...not my favorite location, can't wait until China gets back to Pecan Springs and the usual cast of characters.

"she ain't who you think she is" sums it up for me. I was totally prepared to just get thru this book and on to the next in this series but enjoyed this read and its cast.
Oct 25, 2012 Sallee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
This has been one of my favorite China Bayles's mysteries. Her description of the southern plantations of her ancestors made you feel the sultry heat and smell the honeysuckle. The story has multiple twists and turns and as alwayss, she keeps you guessing right up to the end. I could hardly stop reading it yesterday and finished it first thing this morning. That's the kind of book I like.
Feb 16, 2017 Pat rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
China travels to Jordan's Crossing, her family's plantation in Mississippi.
Her mother calls asking for help.
And of course, China goes to help. She has quite a past, family tree included.
This was an engrossing story, and I enjoyed it, but it just didn't feel like a China Bayles story, and it was bogged down by huge dollops of self-righteous moralizing and uneasy white hand-wringing about the sins of the Southern past. China and Leatha's indignation at the numerous revelations of their ancestor's misdeeds in the name of racism and appearances was shrill and unconvincing and queerly performative.

And of course Albert lacked the cojones to actually have either China or Leatha have t
Lissa Notreallywolf
Oct 13, 2016 Lissa Notreallywolf rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 15, 2012 Mssuzyq623 rated it it was ok
I MEANT to read BLOODROOT by Amy Greene, (I realized soon after starting this). Something labelled "mystery" is not something I would choose--even less so something labelled "a China Bayles mystery". I find mysteries to have many undeveloped characters, and lack of detail, but that is the nature of mystery. its just not what I like to read. But I started it, attracted to the herbology and southernness of it. It was an ok book, though a lettdown from just finishing the Big Stone Gap series by Adr ...more
Apr 29, 2015 Jenn rated it liked it
Sometimes I'm in the mood for a regency-type romance. Sometimes it's a good scifi. Or maybe an epic fantasy. Or some standard fiction. And then, sometimes I'm in the mood for a nice, popcorn, cozy mystery. This is the 10th is such a series. So imagine my surprise, when I don't get a cozy mystery with all it's quirky characters, but some sort of generational family drama. With ghosts. Um, what?

The story here was okay, but it doesn't fit into the rest of this series AT ALL. I mean, there are ghos
Fredell Boston
Apr 19, 2016 Fredell Boston rated it really liked it
Another winner from Susan Wittig Albert--well written and well researched. It is all about the search for ancestors and meaning of life in present-day South.
Lawyer-turned-herbalist, China Bayles returns to the plantation where she spent some of her growing up summers. After her frantic mother calls needing China's help in caring for dying Aunt who is the owner of the estate. Much mystery and intrigue follow when a heretofore unknown deed surfaces--declaring that part of the plantation's land ha
May 15, 2011 Pylgrym rated it it was ok
I am a sucker for books about my home state but I should stay with our authors. Mississippi has more honored authors than any other state. Albert's book has an interesting storyline and good characters. I never read any China Bayles before. However, Ms. Wittig's knowledge of race relations in the South seems to be stalled somewhere between D. W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation and the Sixties freedom riders. I grew up here and I know the changes made and as someone who tra ...more
Jul 23, 2011 Michelle rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery
This is the tenth book in the China Bayles series and it takes a different turn with a change in location. China is asked by her mother to return to the ancestral home in Mississippi to help with her great aunt who raised China's mother when her grandmother died. There is a problem with a title to the land and her great aunt Tullie is suffering from Huntingdon's disease. When the foreman with the claim to the land turns up dead, Tullie blow to the head with her cane lands her in peril. China mus ...more
May 06, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Shelves: mississippi
China Bayles, Pecan Springs, TX herb shop and tea room owner, is called back to her family's Mississippi plantation by her mother, who's been caring for China's ailing great aunt Tullie. China's ancestors' actions are now coming back to haunt the remaining family members, and China has her hands full just keeping up with one crisis after another upon her return.

I enjoyed the Deep South setting of this book, as China begins to learn the truth about her family's history and the consequences those
Jun 24, 2009 Nancy rated it really liked it
Book 10 in the China Bayles mystery series takes China back to her maternal grandparents home in Mississippi. The tales revolves around the dark secrets that tie two families together. Two families share in a tragic and disturbing past. Albert's mystery casts light on the lives of the plantation owners in the American south and those enslaved to the land to manage and do the hard, brutal work. She tells a compelling story. I had the story figured out before the book's characters did, but that di ...more
Jul 31, 2012 Michele added it
Shelves: mystery
I have been re-reading the China Bayles books in order. This tenth title in the series is set in her mother's birthplace in Mississippi. Most of the time when the main character is taken out of his/her regular setting it doesn't work that well, at least to me. This is an exception, an excellent entry in China's life. One thing the author has done with the main character that is very compelling is show from the beginning of the series how she changes her attitudes, moves in different directions, ...more
Feb 25, 2016 RebeccaS rated it really liked it
I was a little unsure of jumping into this series midway, but I'm so glad I gave it a try. This book seems like it's a little unique because instead of being based at China's store and town, she goes back to her family's land and unearth's so many secrets it's almost hard to keep track. However, I really liked China and was quickly sucked into her hunt for answers in her family's history. I was surprised by all the complicated bloodlines that were involved (her family and others'). I was barely ...more
Aug 30, 2011 Marci rated it liked it
Being an avid genealogist, I studied the family tree at the front of the book and so was one up on the plot line because of the strangeness of some of the facts in the tree. I did notice that Albert made a math error with one of the characters, whose birth year is ten years different from what's on the tree to what's related in the story. This is a significant editing problem, but it didn't make much difference in the story after all. I liked the mystery and the way it related to generational pr ...more
Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman
May 22, 2015 Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman rated it it was amazing
Loved this one! Susan Wittig Albert has done it again. Ex lawyer now herb shop owner China Bayles returns to her family home only to discover an incredible family history. Being a genealogist myself, I have to admit I was hooked. A great little who done it mixed in with some old family secrets/mysteries coming to light.

I am reading the series in order and the change of scenery was a welcome change. In addition, Mississippi and Texas are different growing zones, so new herbs were introduced as we
Anne Hawn Smith
Jun 12, 2010 Anne Hawn Smith rated it really liked it
In this book, Susan Wittig Albert takes China Bayles back to the Old South and immerses her in her childhood. Her mother, Leatha needs help with her Aunt Tullie and there is no one but China who can help.

I got the feeling that the mystery was just a vehicle to carry China back to her roots and untangle the fascinating story of her ancestors. Many of the characters in the book are extremely well drawn and the reader is able to establish a connection, but the crime and its victim are not as fleshe
Katie Rekowski
Sep 19, 2016 Katie Rekowski rated it really liked it
China Bayles #10, Read by Julia Gibson. China's Aunt Tullie is 85 years old and suffers from Huntington's Disease. Seems there is some trouble on the homestead plantation. Chyna's mom strongly suggests she come quickly to Jordan's Crossing, the plantation. Some legal help may be required. Did Great Aunt Tullie murder Tobias, the plantation manager? Does she and her mother also have the hereditary gene of Huntington's? The mysteriously appearing diary of an ancestor holds a story no one was aware ...more
Dail Sams
Jan 17, 2016 Dail Sams rated it really liked it
China Bayles explores her strange Mississippi family roots in this installment of this outstanding herbal mystery series. China is urged to meet her mother at the ancestral home at Jordan's Crossing to help her care for her great aunt Tullie who is sick with a degenerative neurological disease. Once there, China is beseiged by old memories, nightmares, childhood friends, a frightening murder, and even ghostly visitations. It takes all her investigative skills to reveal family secrets hidden for ...more
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Susan is the author/co-author of biographical/historical fiction, mysteries, and nonfiction.

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Other Books in the Series

China Bayles (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • Thyme of Death (China Bayles, #1)
  • Witches' Bane (China Bayles, #2)
  • Hangman's Root (China Bayles, #3)
  • Rosemary Remembered (China Bayles, #4)
  • Rueful Death (China Bayles, #5)
  • Love Lies Bleeding (China Bayles, #6)
  • Chile Death (China Bayles, #7)
  • Lavender Lies (China Bayles, #8)
  • Mistletoe Man (China Bayles, #9)
  • Indigo Dying (China Bayles, #11)

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