I loved this story of a forty-something, disenchanted wife and mother reuniting with her high school sweetheart because of the dual time narration: prI loved this story of a forty-something, disenchanted wife and mother reuniting with her high school sweetheart because of the dual time narration: present and past. The bittersweet theme of the road not taken always soothes me. However, ironically, the least satisfying part of the book was the actual reunion with the long lost love. The author was trying to convince the reader that there was still a connection between Judith and Willy, but I didn't buy it. They never really talked about anything of substance, and Willy, in both past and present, just speaks in vague platitudes like, "what will be, will be," ~ that sort of thing. In the past, at least, they had a physical connection. In the present, Willy is a sick and bloated alcoholic, still a nice guy, but repellent nonetheless. What he does give Judith, and I totally understand this quality, is a place of peace in the natural world and with herself, presently lacking in her Hollywood life.
Maybe that's what makes a relationship solid gold: the best mate is someone who lets you be....more
Think you know small towns? Okay. Think you know small towns in Florida? Not so much. Then read American Ghost and absorb the Southern socioeconomicsThink you know small towns? Okay. Think you know small towns in Florida? Not so much. Then read American Ghost and absorb the Southern socioeconomics through the story of fictional Hendrix, Florida, and its cast of characters. Jolie Hoyt is simply enduring life in the economically stunted, racially haunted backwater when she meets and falls in love with graduate student Sam Lens. Oral history comes back to haunt the Hoyt family once Sam starts documenting their stories. Hendrix snaps shut tighter than a Steinhatchee scallop with repercussions for all characters.
I loved the description of Hendrix and its more affluent neighbor, Cleary. I've known a few Hendrix and Cleary towns in my day, the impoverished, poorer community envying the prettier one. Residents are judged by address and last name. Geography is usually destiny in the small town South, but Janis Owens shows how truth and open acknowledgement of past sins offer an alternative.
Spanning late 1700s to early 1800s, this novel's setting is a Southern Virginia slave plantation. The author's plentiful research is apparent in the eSpanning late 1700s to early 1800s, this novel's setting is a Southern Virginia slave plantation. The author's plentiful research is apparent in the exquisite attention to detail: plantation layout, antebellum decor, food preparation, clothing. There's even a jaunt to Williamsburg (my favorite part) which rings true for those who've visited that city.
The characters are just as richly detailed~Lavinia, a white indentured servant, and Belle, a slave fathered by the plantation owner are the main characters and narrators. Both of these voices are authentic and richly evocative of the ups and downs of daily life lived in the South. What ultimately soured this novel for me was the almost soap opera-like relationships of the characters. I know that slave masters and owners raped the female slaves, but that's only the beginning in this book. There are burnings and beatings and hangings, not to mention opium guzzling and babies dying right and left. I forgot which baby was which because as soon as one died, there was another born to take its place.
Still, the writing was so vivid, I won't soon forget this book. ...more