Cheryl Gatling's Reviews > Summer in the South

Summer in the South by Cathy Holton
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's review
Jun 29, 11

Read from June 10 to 29, 2011

One of the things that made me want to read this book (it wasn't the uninspired title) was a hint on the jacket that the family in the novel had once entertained Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Faulkner. Those names were only thrown out in passing, though, a way of showing that when you are a member of an old-money old Southern family, hobnobbing with the famous is really no big deal, hardly worth mentioning. Ava is a mutt from Chicago, raised by a rootless, single parent mother. When she accepts the invitation of an old college friend to spend the summer with his aunts in Tennessee, she experiences some culture shock. The slower pace, the daily cocktails, and garden parties are appealing, especially since Will, her college friend, is quietly in love with her. Although she holds him at a distance, she knows that all she has to do is say yes, and this life of ease and comfort could be hers. But on the other hand, the concern with tradition and propriety can be stifling. Everything painful is hidden under a veneer of politeness. Ava is too nosy (and an aspiring writer) to let things be. She just can't stop herself from snooping around. Aunt Fanny had a first husband, Charlie Woodburn, but no one wants to talk about him. Charlie died under mysterious circumstances, but no one wants to talk about that, either. Will has a poor cousin named Jake. They used to be best buddies, but no longer speak to each other. Something came between them, but, you guessed it, no one wants to talk about it. The novel starts out slowly, as it moves at that slow Southern pace, but it really picks up toward the end as Ava accumulates more and more details, and begins to piece together the whole story. I received this book free in the mail through mysterious circumstances.

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