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The Past Is Never

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  678 ratings  ·  102 reviews
A compelling addition to contemporary Southern Gothic fiction, deftly weaving together local legends, magical realism, and the search for a missing child.

Siblings Bert, Willet, and Pansy know better than to go swimming at the old rock quarry. According to their father, it's the devil's place, a place that's been cursed and forgotten. But Mississippi Delta summer days are
Hardcover, 276 pages
Published March 20th 2018 by Skyhorse (first published March 6th 2018)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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Mary Beth *Traveling Sister*
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it

On a hot summer day, Bert, Willet, and Pansy went swimming swimming in the quarry in Missippi Delta.

They were not allowed to swim there since it was known to be cursed. Their father always told them that it was evil, the devil's place. Bert and Willet wander off and when they come back, Pansy has disappeared. Not drowned, not lost... simply gone. Pansy is only 6 years old. They keep looking and hunting for her. They looked years for her. They were Pansy's brother and sister. Their mother died
Angela M
Mar 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
4+ stars .

After I read the first few of pages, I thought maybe this was going to be a little too eerie, a little too dark, a little too suspenseful, a little out of my comfort zone. I continued reading and a few pages later I knew that I would not be able to abandon this writing. This writing that was full of emotion and beautifully descriptive. I couldn’t leave it without finding out what happened that day when Bert and Willet take their younger sister Pansy to the quarry, where the water was
Diane S ☔
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Southern Gothic takes us to the Mississippi Delta and a quarry said to be evil, cursed. Three siblings told to give a berth to this quarry, instead it becomes a place they regularly go to swim. Something horrible happened here in the past, bug the past is never, it is carried inside the person or inside a place that has seen the evil of man. Something terrible happens on this the three siblings last day, and changes their lives forevermore.

Fantastic characters, all terribly flawed as the most
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
4 mesmerizing, mysterious, magical stars to The Past Is Never

This is a hard book to describe at first thought! I read Tiffany Quay Tyson’s debut, Three Rivers, and adored it. It was a simple book with beautiful writing and a story of family. I was thrilled when I saw she had a new book coming out.

Once again, Tyson focused on family. Three siblings, Bert, Willett, and Pansy go swimming at the forbidden local rock quarry, and one of them disappears. It’s a story of good and evil, the past
Norma * Traveling Sister ~ Semi-hiatus for now until I fully get my reading/reviewing hat on! 😂 I’m almost there! 💕
Wow! So many great books that I have read since my little reading break! I loved this one and what an absolutely wonderful ending!!!

Thank you so much to Edelweiss for the opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book in exchange for a review!
Susanne  Strong
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 Stars.

Growing up in the Mississippi Delta, siblings, Bert, Willet and Pansy, don’t have the easiest life, but they have each other. Pansy is the youngest, the favorite and is spoiled rotten. Their mom treats her like royalty and when he’s around (which isn’t often), their dad dotes on her.

They live in a place that is full of legends and is said to be cursed. Unexplainable things have happened in this place. Bad things. Is it legend, the curse, or do bad things happen to bad people?

The days
Theresa Alan
May 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a sumptuously written novel. Told from the point of view of Bert (Roberta Lynn), she’s fourteen years old when she and her sixteen-year-old brother Willet go in search of berries, leaving their six-year-old sister Pansy swimming in the quarry. Pansy is the strongest swimmer of them all, and, even though their father has told them the quarry is cursed, it’s a brutally hot summer day, who wouldn’t want the relief of cool water to swim in?

Willet and Bert get separated in the woods, but when
Feb 10, 2018 rated it really liked it

”Old black water, keep on rollin'
Mississippi moon, won't you keep on shinin' on me?

“Keep on shinin' your light
Gonna make everything, everything
Gonna make everything all right
And I ain't got no worries
'Cause I ain't in no hurry at all.”

-- Black Water, Doobie Brothers, lyrics by Patrick Simmons

"To understand the world, you must first understand a place like Mississippi."
- William Faulkner

The Mississippi Delta is known for many things, it is the birthplace of the Blues, it
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edelweiss
4+ to a "quite a story" story!

This was a fascinating tale of family and the concept that family does not always mean blood. This tale brought together many characters chief among them were: Bert, Willet, and Pansy. The children, as well as their parents, were attracted to an old rock quarry where legends, folktales, and Gothic fiction seem to abide. The children in an attempt to cool off on a hot Mississippi summer's day head off to the woods and then to the quarry which contains a pool of
Bridget Vollmer
Dec 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4 1/2 heartbreaking stars. I really don’t know what to say about this book. It was so sad yet so beautiful. I really wanted a different ending but the ending was strangely perfect. I felt so connected to Bert and Willet’s story....the prose was beautiful. I really loved this story, it’s a perfect example of Southern gothic done right. I’m done rambling....just read the book.
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This was a good story of family secrets, family bonds, family past, present and future. It's told in an atmospheric, dark, tension-filled manner.
Six-year old Pansy goes missing without a trace after a swim in the quarry on a blistering hot summer day. Her 2 siblings are left with questions, fears and confusion that don't get answered. Five years later, they go in search of the truth.
Two time-lines always coming closer together give us history and truths.
The characters are all flawed and
Apr 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Equal parts suspense mystery, family saga and Southern gothic. I was surprised how completely drawn in I was but could only put this book down the last couple of days when I was literally so tired I started to nod off sitting up. The lack of sleep was worth it. The basic premise reminded me of Bad Man, a younger sibling inexplicably goes missing while in the charge of older siblings and the rest of the book is driven by the aftermath and search for answers. I enjoyed this quite a bit more with ...more
Aug 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dark and atmospheric. Different. A bit haunting and an enjoyable read.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow, among the best books I have ever read. I am in awe of Tiffany Quay Tyson's ability to tell a story rooted in history, with such complex story lines that are simple to to the reader. This falls in the category of can't put it down. My first read by this author, I'm off to look for others.
Michelle Shouse
May 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An Absolute Gem!

Hurry up and write more! Save time to enjoy this amazing jewel of a book--the best I've read in months!
McCaid Paul
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
*5 stars*
Just read the book. There is nothing more to say. A review can't do this justice. This might just change your life.

Deb Coco
Feb 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's no surprise that I would fall in love with this book, given that the title is a nod to my favorite William Faulkner. It also meant it had a lot to live up to. This author is new to me, and now I need to look for her previous book because I was totally smitten with the story. Tyson must have grown up reading all the same authors I've loved for years, because her novel has all the earmarks of great Southern writing. Full of atmosphere, vivid descriptions about the natural (and supernatural) ...more
Kimberly Belle
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I discovered this beautiful book when I was on a book festival panel with Tiffany - who is as lovely off the page as on. :) Like Three Days Missing, this is a book about a missing child, and yet our books are as different as...well, night and day. This is a suspense, yes, but wrapped up in a tale about a Southern family and the history that both binds them together and tears them apart. Lyrical and haunting, The Past is Never is southern gothic fiction at its best. I was mesmerized!
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
4.5 -- This dark and twisty tale was absolutely gripping, beginning in the past with a dual timeline that eventually comes crashing together in the present. Tyson's debut novel, Three Rivers, has been on my TBR for ages and after seeing what she can do with the written word, I am deeply regretting that it has been just sitting there for so long...
Apr 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: award-nominee
Writing is what puts this novel into a 5* category. It is so descriptive, evocative of place, with just the right amount of suspense and emotion. Great characters and important story round out the novel.
Talk Supe
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
I have a thing for motives and endings when it comes to plot drivers. I appreciate a good mystery & would chase it til the last page given that it SHOULD make sense in the end. Though I love some parts of of this book, I dislike the ending because it felt shallow and, IMHO, didn’t justify the hardships Willet & Bert went through. I’ve gotten invested not just in this siblings’ quest to find the truth, but also rooted for them hoping all the heartaches will be worth something in the end. ...more
Oct 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was crazy tangled web woven together almost perfectly. Almost. I would’ve preferred a different reunion and it almost felt a little rushed at the end but I like the message that you don’t have to be blood to be family.
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a beautifully written book.
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Stop what you’re doing and read this book right now!!!
Linda Williams Jackson
Kept Me Up Way Past My Bedtime

I stayed up way too late reading this book. But I had to know how the two stories (past and present) would come together and whether they would find their sister. Great book.
Jen Ryland
Really enjoyed this!

Read more of my reviews on! Check out my Bookstagram!

Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018
Loved the characters and the Southern fiction in this one. This was a stellar read. 5/5 stars.
Kerry Booth
Dec 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Wow. A quiet novel that takes you along like a canoe down a river. It's only until you look back that you appreciate the rapids this author navigated you through.
Jim Ringel
Apr 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tiffany Quay Tyson’s The Past is Never begins as a mystery about a child’s disappearance, grows into an indictment of racism and the hatred and despair it weaves through a society, and then blossoms into full redemption. The book is a dark journey of the soul that illuminates into a blessed ending.

The missing child, Pansy, is the youngest of three children in a rural Mississippi family. The father is a gadfly, never at home, leaving the children in the care of their overworked momma. One day,
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
This novel was exceptionally written. I really enjoyed it.

Four stars because I felt unsettled by the Black/Seminole historical parts being written by a white woman, and because there were too many sexual assault scenes.
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Books & Coffee Bo...: December 2018: The Past is Never 7 21 Dec 07, 2018 07:15PM  

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Tiffany Quay Tyson's second novel, THE PAST IS NEVER, was chosen as an 'Okra' Pick by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance. It's available now.

Tiffany was born and raised in Mississippi, where most of her fiction is set. Her debut novel, THREE RIVERS, was a Mississippi bestseller and a finalist for both the Mississippi Institute of Arts and Letters Fiction Award and the Colorado Book