Having lived in the South all my life, I have an interesting relationship with
books set in the South or featuring Southern characters. The stereotypes about
Southern people/life, particularly those in the Appalachia region, are as
numerous as they are often insulting. I can assure you, our accents are not
correlated with our intelligence levels, and we do not see shoes as optional.
However, when a book captures Southern life in a realistic way, from the deep
love of the mountains to the realities of poverty in many areas, including both
the good and the gritty, I am ecstatic.
Here are three recent releases that feature the South. I have yet to read them,
but I canâ€™t wait to see what theyâ€™ve done.
A stunning debut novel that offers a new look at a classic love story
about soul mates torn apart by the circumstances of their time.
Dickinson is haunted by her past and feels caged in by life in small town
Missouri. When she discovers a strange man in Stone Field where her family grows
their sorghum crop, her life takes on new meaning. He has no memory of who he is
or what brought him to Cat's farm, but they fall passionately in love.
Meanwhile, the country is on the brink of the Civil War, and the conflict in
Missouri demands that everyone take a side before the bloodbath reaches their
A passionate and atmospheric reimagining of Emily Bronte's
Wuthering Heights, Stone Field explores how violence and vengeance
perverts the human spirit, and how hatred can be transcended by love.
With her mother facing prison time for a violent political
protest, seventeen-year-old Liberty Briscoe has no choice
but to leave her Washington, D.C., apartment and take a bus
to Ebbottsville, Kentucky, to live with her granny. There,
she can at least finish high school and put some distance
between herself and her motherâ€”or her former mother, as she
But Ebbottsville isnâ€™t the same as
Liberty remembers, and itâ€™s not just because the top of
Tannerâ€™s Peak has been blown away to mine for coal. Half the
county is out of work, an awful lot of people in town seem
to be sick, and the tap water is bright orangeâ€”the same
water that officials claim is safe. And when Grannyâ€™s
lingering cold turns out to be something much worse, Liberty
wonders if somebody at the mine is hiding the truth about
the water. She starts to investigate and is soon plunged
into a world of secrets, lies, threats, and danger.
Her searches for answers and justice lead to even tougher
questionsâ€”should she turn to violence and end up like her
mother? Give up her quest for the sake of keeping the peace?
Or keep fighting until the mine is shut down for good?
What is Kaycee willing to risk for the sake of love?
And what will
she risk for acceptance?
In Sunshine, Tennessee, the main event in
town is Friday
night football, the biggest party of the year is held in a
field filled with pickup trucks, and church attendance is
mandatory. For Kaycee Jean McCoy, life in Sunshine means
dating guys she has no interest in, saying only "yes, ma'am"
when the local bigots gossip at her mom's cosmetics salon,
and avoiding certain girls at all costs. Girls like Bren Dawson.
Kaycee, Bren doesn't really conceal who she is. But
as the cool, worldly new girl, nobody at school seems to
give her any trouble. Maybe there's no harm if Kaycee gets
closer to her too, as long as she can keep that part of her
life a secret, especially from her family and her best
friend. But the more serious things get with Bren, the
harder it is to hide from everyone else. Kaycee knows
Sunshine has a darker side for people like her, and she's
risking everything for the chance to truly be herself.
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