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Cold Sassy Tree

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  99,448 ratings  ·  4,153 reviews
The one thing you can depend on in Cold Sassy, Georgia, is that word gets around--fast.

On July 5, 1906, scandal breaks in the small town of Cold Sassy, Georgia, when the proprietor of the general store, E. Rucker Blakeslee, elopes with Miss Love Simpson. He is barely three weeks a widower, and she is only half his age and a Yankee to boot. As their marriage inspires a whir
Kindle Edition, 405 pages
Published September 4th 2007 by Mariner Books (first published 1984)
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M C Depends on what you mean by "vulgar". The characters don't have the best vocabulary, but they do not frequently curse throughout the book. There's a p…moreDepends on what you mean by "vulgar". The characters don't have the best vocabulary, but they do not frequently curse throughout the book. There's a part of the book where the main character overhears his grandpa in bed with his new wife. He describes their sounds and conversations and also overhears his grandpa's new wife sharing a story about her step father sexually abusing her. Other than this one part, it's no too inappropriate... If it was a movie, it'd probably be PG-13.(less)
This question contains spoilers... (view spoiler)
Alison Riedi He is considered “old” she perhaps believes he does just want a housekeeper.

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Average rating 4.01  · 
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For years, I had heard the best American novel set in the South was "Gone with Wind" or "To Kill A Mockingbird," or more recently, "The Help" and certainly these books have their contribution to literature (you can read my reviews if you'd like), but BY FAR, my favorite book ever set in the Southern United States is this one and only gem by the lovely Olive Ann Burns. A joy to read, and re-read, and share with all your friends, I give you my review of a story that is a treasured friend...
✨ Gramy ✨
I originally read this U.S. Historical fiction book about 20 years ago. My daughter had to read it for a school assignment, so we read it at the same time. We shared many a laugh over the shenanigans referred into this glimpse in a small southern town, Cold Sassy, Georgia and set in 1906. This timeless treasure explores themes such as religion, death, and social taboos, and certainly has the ability to entertain with hilarious wit and humor.

Grandpa teased her about it. "You look like you done
Do you enjoy a sweet story? Are you a religious person with deep faith? Do you enjoy books set in the South at the turn of the century? Then this book is probably a good choice for you.

My own response to the two first questions is not affirmative, and that is why I cannot give it more than two stars. No, it is not a bad book. It is fine, it’s OK………if a bit boring. Although it gives a pretty good depiction of small town life in Georgia, it says nothing about racial inequities which of course sti
Cold Sassy Tree was Olive Ann Burns's debut novel, published as she turned 60, and I can tell you, she does not disappoint the reader. She was a seasoned writer, but not a novelist, and clearly, she knew how to tell a story.

This book represents everything I love about reading and writing. There's an "old school" feel here, an indescribable quality that takes me back to sitting in trees as a child, my back supported by the trunk and my young mind supported by whatever precious book I held proppe
Jan 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Sissy
Recommended to Megan by: Grandma Hazel
Shelves: fiction, favorites
My grandmother's favorite book of all time, so I have always wanted to read it. This is such a great book. It nearly ripped my heart out for making me think of my Grandmother. It is about a 14 year old boy in 1906 Cold Sassy, Georgia. The book centers on Will Tweedy's relationship with his grandfather and the small town scandal that begins when his grandfather remarries a young woman two weeks after his wife's passing. The narrative is so witty and touching and it is written in such a strong sou ...more
Mar 10, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
1 star - I really hated it.

A long, boring soap opera about small minded, judgmental, gossipy people in a backwoods town that specializes in making a full blown scandal over every petty incident. It includes something for everyone: racism, sexism, chauvinism, religious prejudice, and "yankeeism". It is like an all you can read buffet of ignorance.

But there's something for the romantics too! A charming love story about a vile old adulterer, whom after lusting for years after a woman young enough t
Diane Barnes
Jun 28, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: re-reads
3.5 stars

I read this in 1984 when it was first published and remembered liking it, but not much more. This time around, I just felt sorry for the peripheral characters and the way they were bullied by Grandpa Blakesley. Loved the southern speech and dialogue, hated the small town gossip and conventions. Poor Miss Mattie Lou, dead three weeks in the first sentence, most poorly treated person in the book.
La Tonya  Jordan
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Recommended to La Tonya by: Jubliant JuJuBee's Book Hive Book Club
Shelves: favorites
The town of Cold Sassy Tree, GA in the summer of 1906 changed forever. This is the year Miss Mattie Lou Toy Blakeslee died and her devoted husband of over 4o years Enoch Rucker Blakeslee (grandpa Blakeslee) married Miss Love Simpson just three weeks after she died. Miss Mattie Lou not cold in her grave. Miss Love Simpson was a Yankee from Baltimore, MD and a woman young enough to be Mr. Blakeslee daughter. The gossip and the scandal that pursued. What was Miss Love's motive? What was Grandpa Bla ...more
Barbara H
This is the portrayal of the town of Cold Sassy, named for the huge Sassafras tree in its midst, which the inhabitants had frequently debated on renaming. The time period is set in the early 1900's in the South. Initially I was annoyed by the use of the local vernacular and associated grammatical errors, but I gradually adjusted to it and accepted that it was an effective and necessary factor to the telling of the tale.

The nub of the story is the coming of age of 14 year old Will. The plot devel
Book Concierge
Digital Audiobook performed by Grover Gardner

Thirteen-year-old Will Tweedy narrates Burns’ historical novel which takes place in the small Georgia town of Cold Sassy Tree circa 1906. It starts when his grandfather, E Rucker Blakeslee elopes with Miss Love Simpson. It’s a scandal, given that Blakeslee’s wife was buried just three weeks prior, that Miss Simpson is only half Blakeslee’s age, and even worse, Love is a Yankee!

Oh ,what a treat this novel is! The characters are richly drawn, and cover
Sonja Arlow
Feb 03, 2019 rated it liked it

There is something so charming about a book set in this bygone era of the South.

Where boyhood pranks involved setting loose a few rats during your Aunt’s play, where the highlight of your weekend is to go fishing with your friends and where the first motorcar will cause the whole town of Cold Sassy to stop and stare – including the livestock.

There is a sweet innocence to the story even if, at times, dark issues are discussed.

Will Tweedy’s family has had their share of heartache especially as th
Apr 13, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I actually really liked this book, but I think I enjoyed the cultural and historical aspects of it more than the story, to be frank. Burns paints a wonderful picture of life in a small and changing southern town in the early 20th century. The depiction of the social tensions between the "lintheads" who work in the cotton mills and the rest of the town hit the nail on the head, in terms of the southern industrial mill era. We also see the coming of the automobile and the way that the town is stil ...more
3.5 stars, rounded down.

Miss Mattie Lou is dead and her husband, Rucker Blakeslee, waits only three weeks before marrying the milliner who works at his store, Miss Love Simpson. The rest of the novel deals with the repercussions of this marriage, the development of the relationships between the new bride and the family, and the way this new view of his grandfather affects his grandson, Will.

I am generally fond of coming-of-age stories, and felt the story gained something from having the young W
I enjoyed this book but it fell a little flat, it had some good parts but I was expecting more because of the outstanding reviews. The story is told out of the eyes of a young boy from a privileged family. All of the characters lead back to his Grandfather and his fortune. Just a little trite for me. I think I was ruined by the absolutely wonderful bestseller, "The Saving of CeeCee Honeycutt", another book set in the South. ...more
This was a good, slow moving book. I know that sentence didn't make sense but it does when you talk about this book. ...more
This was an amazing book! I read it with my dear friend Elizabeth Laumas, which I feel just added to the enjoyment of it as we shared our thoughts chapter by chapter. And this is a book that takes you to different “places” chapter by chapter.
This is not just a book about a family in a Southern town around the turn of the century. This is a book about gossip and overcoming its affects. It’s a book about relationships and acceptance. It’s a book about understanding God. It’s a book about love and
Rachel Aranda
“Cold Sassy Tree” is not a book that I would normally fall in love with. If I’m completely honest I can see myself being bored or annoyed with it if I had read this story at a wrong point in time. However, I didn’t and am so glad! The narration of Grover Gardner just added to my enjoyment. For me, he somehow got the accuracy of Southern women and men through various age ranges. I found myself laughing out loud a few times. I played some moments for friends and they laughed too. If you were going ...more
Apr 21, 2021 rated it really liked it
People have told me about this old favorite for quite a long time, and turns out I even had a copy in my house! (So aged, that it fell apart as I read it. I had to throw parts of it away in chunks as I read it.) Its been on my TBR for four years, and because of the Trim challenge I finally got to read it! I really loved it. I thought it was charming. A young boy's perspective about his grandfather, his family, and the town. Again, charming is the word for it. Well done, and worth the wait. ...more
Sep 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: blm
An entertaining book set in Cold Sassy, Georgia, this is a story that accurately depicts life in the south with lingering post Civil War hurts and lifestyles. The audio narration was fantastic. It is a coming of age story for Will but also a love story and family drama with a bit of comedy sprinkled throughout. There are those who will dislike this book because of the religion and racism that is portrayed. It's frustrating to read I agree, but I also think that's how we as a society can learn fr ...more
In July, 1906, Grandpa Blakeslee, successful farmer and businessman, shocks his two daughters and many of the townspeople of Cold Sassy Tree, Georgia, when he announces his intentions to marry in short order Miss Love Simpson, a milliner employed at his general store. Now, there were two reasons that this news was sending shock waves throughout the small community. One, besides the fact that Miss Simpson, was from the North, was that she was twenty years his junior, he being 59 and Miss Simpson ...more
May 23, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe Janette only gave this book 3 stars! I love this book, it's so delightful, the characters are so human with their fears, and pettiness and prejudices and lusts. It had a lot of humor in it as well, like when the grandpa decided eloped with the millner (hat maker) 2 weeks after the grandma died, and his excuse was, "she's as dead as she's ever gonna be!" But we didn't doubt his devotion to the grandma, because he completely lined her grave with cut roses from her rose garden. It's ...more
Jess the Shelf-Declared Bibliophile
Wonderful work of Southern literature, set in Georgia in the late 1800s. I actually enjoyed this even more than I expected. It will definitely be a new love of mine, in the same ranks as Gone with the Wind!
Joan Bannan
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh my! What a find. What a great book! I need to look up which of my Goodreads friends reviewed this and brought it to my attention. Thank you! I joined Goodreads because I HAVE to read and want to read great books. As I read the last page of this book, my first thought was, "I love Goodreads!"

At a time when we are questioning our reverence for Confederate history, this book brings to light the heart of Confederate humility and loyalty.

This is a story of a young man, Will Tweedy, as he sorts ou
Linda M
Jul 11, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 07, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is so much to love about this book. The characters are vibrant, the language is rich and there are good life's lessons throughout--but it's not preachy. This is a story told with lots of humor although it does have it's tear-jerker moments. Young Will Tweedy is 14 at the turn of the century and is living in the town of Cold Sassy, Georgia. His grandfather causes an uproar in this sleepy little town by eloping with the beautiful young employee in his store. That's bad enough but what really ...more
Dawn (& Ron)
It is a shame the literary world lost the talents of Ms. Burns so early, but what a wonderful gem she left us. I first read this book years ago, only to learn that the author passed away while writing her follow up. This book still remains one of my all time favorites and it is the only other novel, besides "To Kill A Mockingbird", that weaves a spell, through a child's point of view, of a fading southern way of life. It shows both the idyllic southern childhood of a small town and the sadness o ...more
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love this book - such a loss that Olive Ann Burns died relatively young. I'll admit my opinion of it is influenced by the fact that it came to me by way of my favorite aunt and uncle, but it's a well told tale. ...more
Tracey Franklin
Apr 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had a good time laughing and crying. Such a beautiful, moving novel.
I was extremely excited to read Cold Sassy Tree. Southern fiction is one of my absolute favorite genres and certainly close to my heart since I am from the South. I didn’t know anything about the book before reading the summary. Upon reading the summary, I anticipated a heavily plot driven story about the events after Mr. Blakeslee marries Miss Simpson.

The characters of Cold Sassy made the book for me, despite the fact I hated most of them. In a way, though, I think the reader was supposed to ha
Lizzie Jones
Jul 01, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I can't help but love Rucker Blakeslee with my whole heart, along with every other character in this book. This is the witty coming-of-age story of Will Tweedy from Cold Sassy, Georgia. He loves fighting, telling stories, and driving his daddy's cadillac, but most of all he loves his Grandpa Blakeslee. They have a sweet relationship and although the story is filled with minor scandal (1920's deep-south kind of scandal) and intrigue, the focus of the book is the relationship between a grandpa and ...more
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Olive Ann Burns was a professional writer, journalist, and columnist for most of her life. She published two novels, one posthumously, and for many years was a staff writer for Atlanta newspapers and the Atlanta Journal Magazine. Her most notable achievement was "Cold Sassy Tree", a novel that describes rural southern life and a young boy's coming-of-age at the tu

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“But to mourn, that's different. To mourn is to be eaten alive with homesickness for the person.” 182 likes
“Ask and it shall be given you,'" I began. "'Seek and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you; For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.' We have the same message in the Book of Saint John," I said, sounding for all the world like a preacher...."
Well, but how could I just stop there? Those words were worse than nothing if I didn't tell what they meant to Grandpa. Looking at the long rough box, I spoke timid, in a mumbled voice. Not preachified at all. "Grandpa didn't think Jesus meant, by that, that we should ast God for things, or for special favors. He said we could trust that in the nature of things, without astin', we'll get lots of blessin's and happy surprises and maybe a miracle or two. When Jesus said ast and you'll get it, He meant things of the spirit, not the flesh. Right now for instance, I could ast, 'Lord please raise Grandpa from the dead,' but it wouldn't happen. But I can say, 'Please, God, comfort me,' and I'll get heart's ease. Grandpa said Jesus meant us to ast for hope, forgiveness, and all that. Ast, 'Hep us not be scared, hep us not be greedy, give us courage to try." I was really carried away. "Ast any such and God will give it to you. But don't ast Him not to let fire burn, or say spare me from death. At least, uh, that's what Grandpa said.”
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