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The Bequest of Big Daddy

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  27 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
Ratio Janson, the crusty patriarch with an infamous background and a hair-trigger temper, is reverently referred to as Big Daddy by his family clan. His feisty great-granddaughter Jo-Dee overhears shocking gossip at Big Daddy’s funeral and is determined to plumb his murky past, from Reconstruction to the present day.

From a vast turpentine industry to the ruins of a decayin
Paperback, 248 pages
Published April 1st 2013 by Koehler Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Rob Slaven
Apr 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
As usual, I didn't pay anything for this book but instead it arrived happily in my mail because of a GoodReads giveaway. Despite this very kind consideration I give my candid opinions below.

As the book begins we meet Big Daddy, an irascible and taciturn old man who would as soon tell someone to "F*** Off" as look at them. Big Daddy is a beast of a man with a huge progeny because of a life of casual infidelity to every woman he's ever been with. The balance of the book explains this horrid man's
Michael Murphy
Mar 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Jo-Ann Costa’s debut historical novel skillfully weaves a vivid tapestry through generations across the South. Costa takes readers on a colorful ride from pre-Civil War Georgia, the war and reconstruction and through the first half of the twentieth century. Her literary style paints characters as solid and vivid as the red clay of Georgia. The Bequest of Big Daddy is an epic tale of sex, murder, revenge, and passionate ambition readers will long remember.

The story begins when eight year old Jo-D
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Spanning 1843 through 1981, this novel follows the Janson family, through Jo-Dee Janson Cipriano (a fictional take on the author, Jo-Ann Costa, I presume), a young woman fascinated by her great-grandfather, Big Daddy -- Horatio 'Ratio' Gage Janson. Rude, unruly, wild, downright 'randy' (according to her mother), Jo-Dee knows Big Daddy only as a wizened old man on the verge of death. His passing prompts her to seek out the truth of his story, propelled by a curiosity to know just how bad, how wil ...more
Maureen Timerman
Mar 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013
Big Daddy aka Horatio “Ratio” Janson story begins before he was born. We meet his Grandmother and grandfather. A Mother who wanted the very best for her son Clay Man Janson, she let him go live on a plantation to grown up. The Southern Aristocracy before the War.
The story does open with Jo-Dee and the Summer of 1953. She is with her Dad to say goodbye to her Great Grandfather Ratio, he was dying at the age of 91. Thus begins Jo-Dee's search for answers about her families history, mainly Big Dadd
Apr 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
In the "Bequest Of Big Daddy" a story that opens in the summer of 1953. We meet Jo-Dee and her father as they are what turns out to be the final visit to Horatio "Ratio" Gage Janson also known as Big Daddy, who is essentially on his deathbed. A few weeks later he dies and we meet several of the extend family at the funeral, and when inquisitive Jo-Dee overhears something at the funeral it sets her on a journey of finding answers, and knocking a few proverbial skeletons out of Big Daddy's closet, ...more
Pamela (Lavish Bookshelf)
Apr 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Written in the vein of the famous Southern novels, The Bequest of Big Daddy is a debut novel that is as inviting as those wide Southern porches. From the very first page, Jo-Ann Costa's writing reeled me into this story. The characters are larger than life, especially the patriarch they call Big Daddy. Ruling the family even from beyond the grave, Big Daddy is a totally flawed nasty foul-mouthed man whose life was filled with more than one life-altering secret.

The Bequest of Big Daddy travels t
Nov 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Bequest of Big Daddy offers the reader a magnificent peek into the workings of a Southern family patriarch. Big Daddy is one of those swearing, fear inspiring relatives many of us who have been raised in the South remember with both nostalgia and regret. Big Daddy was born Horatio “Ratio” Janson and lives many more lives than one. He experiences parental neglect, is wrongfully charged with a heinous crime, experiences the love of a good wife but ultimately does the unforgiveable. While Big D ...more
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
** Please note that I received this book for free from Goodreads First-reads **

This was my first book by Costa, which left me not knowing what to expect. Books set in the South always fascinate me because that region typically sets up to feel like a different world. This one was no exception.

The Bequest of Big Daddy was not exactly a fast read, but it did hold my attention. The story opens and closes with a modern day character who is determined to dig into the past of her deceased Great Grandf
Mar 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Bequest of Big Daddy is a fantastic historical fiction novel. Jo-ann Costa really brings the life of a strong-willed, no-nonsense, rough around the edges southern patriarch to vivid reality. Horatio “Ratio” Janson lives such a varied life that it is almost too much for one person to endure. He experiences everything from the scant love of a mother to charges of a heinous crime to the love of a good wife to the conviction of an unforgivable act. Ratio lives to see many women in and out of his ...more
Sharon Chance
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found "The Bequest of Big Daddy" an intriguing and very interesting look at a multi-generational family of the South. Author Jo-Ann Costa takes her readers on quite a fascinating journey through time as she tells the story of the Jansen family from the beginning of the Civil War to present time.

This story is a very frank, often very gritty look at one man's battle to establish himself and his family in times that were very rough and very gritty. This is a very mature story with some explicit s
Kathleen Kelly
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: finished
The story starts in 1953 at the last family gathering that the patriarch, Ratio Janson, better known as Big Daddy. Told in granddaughter Jo-Dee's voice, who decides to do a little more digging into the life of her grandfather and how he came to be the formidable man his family and others knew him to be. The book takes the reader from when Ratio is a child, with an uncaring mother and an absent father through the Civil War and the Reconstruction, and further on we find out how Big Daddy makes his ...more
Lynn Lund
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I have received a free copy of this book through a GoodReads First Reads giveaway.
A delightful book of gorgeous scenery and such intriguing characters, you'll find it hard to put down.
I have one little criticism, and that pertains to the final chapter. In my opinion it could have been edited down a bit because frankly it felt a bit like it dragged on.
Despite that, I have and will continue to recommend to anyone who enjoys a damn good story.
Jessica Mancini
Mar 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
I received this as part of a goodreads giveaway. I definitely recommend that you check it out. The author has a gift for engaging storytelling. Her ear for language and portrayal of region dialects is excellent. I think you will enjoy this introduction to the progenitor of the Janson clan.
Apr 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
The Bequest of Big Daddy is the debut novel of Jo-Ann Costa and she is a natural born storyteller with characters that are larger than life and not soon forgotten. The Southern family of the Janson clan has Big Daddy, Ratio Janson, at its helm ruling his family with an iron fist. Now that sounds bad and while Big Daddy has a lot of bad habits he’s actually good to those who are family although family also knows to get clear out of his way when the warning signs are there to do so. Big Daddy has ...more
Meagan Myhren-bennett
The Bequest of Big Daddy
By Jo-Ann Costa
Jo-Dee Janson Cipriano is out to discover the truth behind her great grandfather. Who was Big Daddy? Was he truly born mean and profane as family legend painted him or was there something more to the man? Jo-Dee's search began because of attending Horatio "Ratio" Janson's funeral in 1953.
Big Daddy swore with a vengeance before it became common, it was just his way to use "outhouse language". And he was known for his temper, even shooting off the mailman'
Jul 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Going into this I expected a story during the Civil War, telling the life of Big Daddy, a man who was an awful person. Except that's not quite what I received. Instead Big Daddy was born to a Civil War widow, and while there is a chapter telling the story of his parents during the Civil War, the majority of it takes place afterwards. As for Big Daddy himself, he actually isn't that mean of a person. Yes, he has his vices, and he made some hard choices by circumstance, but deep down I think he's ...more
Jes Jones
Oct 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this book for free through Goodreads First Reads Giveaway.

An interesting tale of one man's life (Horatio "Ratio" Gage Janson) and all the trials and tribulations he encounters, all the women he beds and the children he produces as well as all that he manages to accomplish from the 1800's through the 1950's.

This is definitely a novel that requires the reader to create a family tree just to keep up with all the characters, the affairs and the children. Up until Ratio begins producing
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013, fiction
The Bequest of Big Daddy is a character study of Ratio Janson that starts before he was born. Born to a cold, unloving mother and subjected to abuse growing up, it's clear why Ratio grows up to be the tough, sometimes cruel man called Big Daddy. The majority of the story is set in old South and this was the part of the book I enjoyed the most. Ratio was not a likeable fellow but his story was authentic and captivating. I didn't click with the modern day part of the story. Big Daddy was a legend ...more
Jean Craig
Jul 09, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting character studies, but many hard to care about.
Amanda Johnson
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Jo-Ann Costa
Feb 10, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  (Review from the author)
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Novelist Jo-Ann Costa, formerly an executive for a Fortune 500 company founded by the late Howard Hughes, a member of several state and national Boards of Directors, a Deputy to the California Business Roundtable, and President of the Board of Philanthropy for her firm, left the corporate world in 2002. Along with the wildlife, Ms. Costa now makes her home at the edge of Colorado’s Weminuche wild ...more
More about Jo-Ann Costa
“The barking hounds ran in and out of the creek, making slapping waves, turning the Georgia earth to mud under the longleaf pines. With the dogs at play, they were, for a lovely short time, naive boys on a glorious summer's day, lost in clamorous youth.” 2 likes
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