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Lamb in His Bosom

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  1,446 ratings  ·  142 reviews
In 1934, Caroline Miller's novel Lamb in His Bosom won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. It was the first novel by a Georgia author to win a Pulitzer, soon followed by Margaret Mitchell's Gone With the Wind in 1937. In fact, Lamb was largely responsible for the discovery of Gone With the Wind; after reading Miller's novel, Macmillan editor Harold S. Latham sought other ...more
Hardcover, 357 pages
Published December 1st 2005 by Peachtree Publishers (first published 1933)
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This book was akin to discovering a buried treasure! How this Pulitzer Prize winning novel (1934) never came to my attention until January of 2016 when I read a brilliant review by Goodread’s friend Sara, I cannot imagine. I thank her for first introducing me to this exceptional book and to GR group On the Southern Literary Trail for selecting this as the September read which prompted me to purchase a copy and begin reading. It’s not an easy book to locate for borrowing purposes, but it was well ...more
Diane Barnes
Aug 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was at Trader Joe's this morning and the cashier asked me what were my plans for the day. I told her I was going to finish my errands, then go home and settle in with a book. She asked me the title, I said "Lamb in His Bosom" and she gave me a blank stare. I told her it was about the settlers in the backwoods of Georgia before the Civil War. Another blank stare, then she told me she preferred books with drama.

Drama? Drama? I should have told her I planned to go home and dive back into this
Two years ago, I set out to read every Pulitzer Prize-winning novel roughly in order and I’m now finishing up the 1930s. It’s been an interesting, arduous, and somewhat surprising project.

After 16 books, I can see clear patterns and the biggest one, by far, is America’s infatuation with its own rural past. Fully 11 of the 16 I’ve read are historical novels set in the country. There’s nothing wrong with that, but many of these works didn’t deserve the prize, while novels like The Great Gatsby,
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
This book was one of the two picks for September of the On the Southern Literary Trail book group. I know, I'm like the worst book group member on all of Goodreads. But I finally got one finished in time to redeem myself with these fantastic people and be a part of the group, so there's that.

Lamb in His Bosom won the Pulitzer in 1934, and even the infamous Margaret Mitchell of Gone With the Wind fame declared this book her favorite and said it was the best book written about the American South
Richard Derus
Oct 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Rating: 4.5* of five

What a read, what a ride, what a life I led reading Cean's tribulations. What a miserable thing it is to be a woman, apparently, and how hard it is to love another! Forget the hell out of children.
The little unknown thing was growing within her as suddenly and softly as the first touch of spring on the maples. It was putting out its hidden, watery roots as simply and surely as little cypresses take root in a stretch of swamp water away off yonder. It was coming upon her as
Book Concierge
Nov 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovers of literary fiction
Cean Carver weds Lonzo Smith on a fine Spring day in 1832, and they leave her parents’ home for the six-mile journey by ox cart to their new homestead. This 1934 Pulitzer winner deals with a backwoods country existence in rural Georgia, following the Carver / Smith families until shortly after the Civil War. Over the course of several decades, the book explores what life was like for these farmers of pre-Civil War America. They battle weather, wild animals, disease, and injuries. And, when ...more
A Lamb in His Bosom: Caroline Miller's Antebellum South

I was enthralled by Miller's portrayal of the strength of the yeoman farmer class in the wiregrass and piney woods of antebellum Georgia. The pace of life was dictated by the seasons. Whether crops would flourish or wither depended on the unpredictable vagaries of the weather. The harvest would yield a bumper crop or yield so little that starvation stared families in the faces. Death was a predictable misery. Disease, accident, all deadly.
Nov 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in early Southern life
Lamb in His Bosom is Caroline Miller’s Pulitzer prize-winning novel centered on poor farmers in the pre-Civil War South. My reaction to this novel was visceral. I am proud to say that my own heritage is rooted in just such rural people and that I could indeed see traces of my own great-uncles, grandmother and grandfather in the characters of the hard-working men and women portrayed here. It is, however, the women who capture my heart and make this novel sing personal songs to me. Cean, her ...more
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This winner of the Pulitzer Prize the year before Gone With The Wind is the life story of Cean and Lonzo who newly married set out to build their lives in the backwoods of Georgia. A simply told story ( including terms like howsomever) of the self reliance required in a time when the daily chores of life such as growing crops and raising 14 children made you very old before age 40. 4 stars Sept OTSLT
Jul 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book was a total surprise. The author was born and partly raised in my small southern Georgia hometown and was the first Pulitzer Prize winner from the southern U.S. She's the one who paved the way for Margaret Mitchell.

The book itself seems simple on the surface, but really goes much deeper, especially if you know south Georgia. For someone who grew up in the region, there's something uncannily familiar in the characters. Uncanny because the books is set in the pre-Civil War era, yet you
Jul 15, 2018 marked it as abandoned
I will come back to this one, some day. Perhaps.

I just didn't feel any magic, after 40 pages or so, and it's much too hot to be reading a song of the south that doesn't deliver from the get-go, when it's 40C in the shade!

My mind kept drifting towards Conrad Richter's Awakening Land trilogy, (which also won the Pulitzer) and how I fell into it like a cool drink of water; this one was merely tepid.

Like Cean in the novel, "I be thinkin' on it sum a'fore I set my min' to it agin."

Julie  Durnell
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: southern
An exceptional accounting of antebellum south Georgia pinywoods pioneers, exquisitely written. The title coming from a psalm/hymn "How Firm a Foundation" that was a favorite of Cean's mother - "when hoary hairs shall their temples adorn/Like lambs in My bosom they shall be born".
Apr 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lisa by: Margaret Mitchell House
Shelves: southern
I read Lambs in His Bosom after visiting the Margaret Mitchell house in Atlanta and learning that this novel was her favorite book. Fascinated and curious as to what moved Margaret Mitchell, I bought the book right there, in the gift shop and read it right away. It is interesting to me that the author who romanticized the old south aristocracy was influenced by a book about the southern poor, whose lives were so remote that they hardly knew there was a war going on beyond the boundary of their ...more
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For me it was difficult to read because of the dialect and so it was 4.5 stars. But I had to round it up for the grit in this couple and the precision to a time, place, and their cored priority of everyday. The minute to minute of what is "survival important and right to do" NOW. The telling of their tale in the real eyes of their own scopes of knowledge and belief. It's life before antibiotics and all of those warm and cozy modern features like 24 hour hot water ready in minutes and electric ...more
Aug 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone, book groups
Recommended to Cheryl by: Pulitzer list
In the 20-year history of our book club, one devoted to reading classics and Pulitzer and Nobel prize winning lit., we rarely have one that has brought as much acclaim as this book. Several of us had read the book and recommended it for years. The outdated title was off-putting to the other group members. They were all pleasantly astounded and still recommend it to any newcomers that attend our group with misty eyed fondness. Perhaps the title, which uses religious references that are not played ...more
Nov 24, 2008 rated it it was amazing
My great-great aunt wrote this book and i have one of the first copies ever printed in 1933. i love the book because of all the work that she put into it just to write the story. Miller actually me with people and collected stories and wrote the book. it is very interesting from a historical and language aspect. read it!
Andrea (Catsos Person) is a Compulsive eBook Hoarder
1) Classic Bingo 2016-->O5 Prize Winning Female Author

2) Women's Lit Enthusiasts January 2016 BOTM

This amazing book won the Pulitzer in 1934 and richly and justly deserves to be more widely known.

In 1934, Caroline Miller won the Pulitzer Prize for Literature for Lamb in His Bosom. She was the first Georgian to win this award, soon followed by Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind. Both novelists explored the life of Georgians. However, Ms. Miller wrote about the poor farmers who did not own slaves and who labored from morning to night making a living.

This book was a realistic picture of the life of a farmer, Lonzo, and his wife, Cean, in the period before the Civil War and contrasts
Mr. Kovach
Feb 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a very powerful and beautifully-written book about rural Georgia in the 1800s. (It was Margaret Mitchell's favorite book!) If you are interested in American history, especially historical fiction about the antebellum South, check this out. (Some of the characters' ways of thinking are backward and offensive by our standards, especially regarding racial issues, but it is a book about uneducated people from a time long ago, and it can be valuable to see how far we've come racially, ...more
Gary Lindsay
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pulitzer-winners
If you are looking for a book with a strong female protagonist, I highly recommend this regional novel set in rural Georgia in the first half of the 19th century. Although it shares a general setting with Gone in the Wind, the two books couldn't be further apart in culture. The white farmers in this part of Georgia struggle to scratch out an existence with their own sweat and savvy, not through slave labor. The women in this time not only toiled in the field alongside their husbands, but milled ...more
robin friedman
Jan 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
A Novel Of Georgia Pioneers

The Pulitzer Prize for fiction generally is awarded to novels that celebrate the diverse character or ideals of American life. In 1934, "Lamb in his Bosom", an unusual first novel by an unknown southern writer, Caroline Miller, received the Prize and became a best-seller. Miller (1903 -- 1992) continued to write through her life, but she never duplicated her initial success.

"Lamb in his Bosom" is a historical novel set in rural south Georgia from about 1840 to the end
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An incredible and rare book. The authenticity of the characters and their world is what makes such a startling read, especially considering that the poor white southern antebellum story is one that - at least at the time of Caroline Miller's writing - lay largely undocumented. I was particularly interested to read in the afterword how she found her source material back in the 1930's, how she would travel with her children in tow, knocking on strangers' doors with the thin veil of asking for ...more
Janice (JG)
Aug 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a novel of historical realism about the Georgia backwoods and the poor whites who pioneered there in the antebellum south. It is also a story about the women who were the glue that held it all together. Caroline Miller writes simply, with (as Elizabeth Fox-Genovese says in the Afterwords) "an extraordinary fidelity to the language of those she was writing about." This is a rare excursion into a time and place and people that history has never had much interest in, or information about. ...more
Donna Brown
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this is one of the best books I've ever read. It recreates a time in Georgia before the Civil War in great and convincing detail. It also could apply to almost any American pioneer family in the country: out-of-use names for things, the hard work it took to do things we take for granted, the frustration of a woman who is pregnant most of her life. Ms. Miller gets into the minds of both the women and men very convincingly.

According to her bio at the back of the book, she spent lots of
Patricia Rohrer-walsh
Feb 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Caroline Miller informs her readers about the people and life of the back woods of rural Georgia during the ante-bellum period of the US. More than that though, she teaches her readers about human endurance, suffering, hope, and constancy. We follow Cean--as mother, wife, daughter, and sister--through her struggles to become a woman she can look in the mirror and be proud of. Despite her hardships and disappointments, Cean self-actualizes, growing more confident, competent, and beautiful. The ...more
Susan Bybee
Jan 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Winner of the 1934 Pulitzer prize. The story of Cean Carver Smith and her family, farmers in backwoods Georgia before and during the Civil War. While writing this novel, Caroline Miller went around visiting old-timers in her area and closely observed their dialect and learned from them the old ways of doing things. Some chapters are like reading an issue of Foxfire. Lamb In His Bosom was a powerful read and reminded me a great deal of The Awakening Land trilogy. I'm sure Conrad Richter was ...more
Feb 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pulitzer, dead-baby
It took me a while to get vested, but once I was, this was a very moving read. A nice change of pace from my other recent reading, and a great, humanizing reminder of how alike we all are.
Jun 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Good writing. I could see the characters and the setting and hear the people talking. I just did not find it engaging. Too many times I found myself having to push through.
May 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Winner of the 1934 Pulitzer Prize, this novel portrays life in rural Georgia before the Civil War. Interesting mix of stories. I really liked the use of dialect in this book. The book also touched on different social issues of the time period. Interesting contrast to Gone with the Wind which won the Pulitzer Prize three years later.
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I rated this book 5 stars - amazing - not because it was the best I've ever read but because of what it represents. Why I've not heard of this book before this year is a mystery. Everyone knows of Gone with The Wind but this book was written in 1934, and Margaret Mitchell wrote to the author, Carolina Miller, that this is her favorite book. Lamb in His Bosom won the 1934 Pulitzer Prize for Literature. Although fiction this book best represents the common, hardworking, poor people of Georgia (and ...more
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Caroline Miller published her first novel, Lamb in His Bosom, in 1933 and became the first Georgian to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. The thirty-year-old housewife and author produced one of the most critically acclaimed first novels of the Southern Renaissance period. In addition to the Pulitzer, the novel earned France's Prix Femina in 1934 and became an immediate best-seller.

Miller, the
“She was glad that she had not let on to Lonzo how she felt; a woman has business to be as strong as a man. No, a woman has to be stronger than a man. A man don't mind laying the ax between a calf's eyes; a woman does mind, and has to stand by and watch it done. A man fathers a little un, but a woman feels it shove up against her heart, and beat on her body, and drag on her with its weight. A woman has to be stronger than a man.” 6 likes
“God's forgot that ever I lived... He's forgot...and He never cared, nohow...."

He smoothed her brown, rough-palmed hand; he held her hands to keep her from jerking herself away from his admonishing: "Oh, 'tis not true, the words yere a-sayin', Cean Smith; and well ye know it. Never does He forget a child o' His'n. 'Tis His children that forget that He is rememberin'. Get on yere knees and climb on them up to the shelter o' His arms. Knock on His ears with yere prayers. Creep into His arms, Cean Smith, and lay yere head on His bosom, and He'll hold ye closer than inny man ye ever love can ever hold ye. He'll lay His hand on yere head and ye'll stop yere restless fightin' against His will. He'll shut yere pitiful little mouth from complainin' against Him. Ye'll hush and be comforted...."

She dared him to prove his saying: "Then pray fer Him to do them things fer me!"

He prayed; and when he had finished, Cean's will was as water to God's will, and Cean's tears were softening and healing to her heart.”
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