I’ve been looking forward to Brandy’s review of Gone South, by Meg Moseley. First off, I’ve already heard stellar things about this book, and secondly, Brandy is real blessing and encouragement to me, and I knew she’d do a great job. You can find her blog here: Bookishness and other Beauties, where she explores writing, genealogy, and other cool stuff.
With no further ado, let’s jump into the next book on my To Be Read list! Thanks for reading it for me, Brandy…I have a feeling I’ll be buying this one.
GONE SOUTH by Meg Moseley
Book Review by Brandy Heineman
|GONE SOUTH–Amazon link|
Thanks for having me, Heather!
As a Southern girl with Northern roots and a genealogy nut to boot, I might just be the quintessential reader for Meg Moseley’s newest release, Gone South (Multnomah, 2013). Only a few pages deep, I was already rooting for and sympathizing with Letitia “Tish” McComb.
Single, 35, and caught up in a series of sad goodbyes, Michigander Tish jumps on an opportunity to purchase the McComb ancestral home in Noble, Alabama, where her great-great-great grandparents, Nathan and the first Letitia McComb, once lived. However, she is so entranced with this connection to the past that present day reactions to the McComb name escape her notice at first.
Ms. Moseley does an expert job weaving in supporting story lines, layering in friendly neighbor George Zorbas to cushion Tish’s landing in Noble, and introducing troubled Melanie Hamilton as a wild card who has used up her second chances with everyone in town. Mel’s reputation as a thief slams doors shut in her face, but in spite of the warnings from George and the few citizens of Noble who will actually speak to her, Tish sees a young woman with nowhere else to go and takes her in. After all, Tish and Mel both suffer the effects of the same ailment: a bad name in a small town.
A story that could have easily been bogged down with difficult historical details instead glides along on the strength of great dialogue—fluid in some exchanges, snappy in others—and the smooth, mellow pacing of a story worth reading straight through on a long, leisurely Saturdayafternoon. The author threads an interesting motif with antique props through the story, including heirloom letters, prized costume jewelry, a missing gold watch and a stolen classic Corvette, but significantly, the final distribution of objects is never the point of the story, and the characters’ resolutions are not pinned to these earthly treasures.
Some readers might wonder whether Civil War and Reconstruction-era grudges can realistically ignite tensions in a contemporary story. It’s a fair question, but as one who’s been asked, “Who’s your daddy?” by a small-town old-timer suspicious of my weird, hybrid accent, I didn’t find it far-fetched at all. In fact, I found this novel’s realism continued after I’d turned the last page as my mind poked at where each character ended his or her own piece of the story. (Click to Tweet!) Not everyone confesses; not everyone forgives.
Meg Moseley respects her story world, characters, and readers, and she avoids reframing the past with wild revelations from dusty wills and deeds. Instead of endlessly trying to make amends for a broken past, her main characters mature and look to a future of better choices. A picture of repentance, well-painted. (Click to Tweet!) Gone South is a beautifully crafted novel, and one I enthusiastically recommend for readers of women’s fiction.
You can find out more, read chapter one, and purchase Gone South at Meg Moseley’s website.
BRANDY HEINEMAN writes contemporary women’s fiction peppered with a dash of the historical. She graduated from Wesleyan College in Macon, Ga., where she studied Communication and Business Administration. After spending several years in the financial services industry, she left to “seek first the kingdom of God” (Mt. 6:33) and to develop her craft as a writer. She and her husband Michael love traveling to new places for relaxation and inspiration, and stories usually come find her whenever she steps off the beaten path. They reside in metro Atlanta with two of the most pampered kitty cats you’d ever want to meet.
****Thanks so much for the in-depth review, Brandy! I thought Melanie in Gone South would be like Miss Melly in Gone with the Wind, so it was interesting to see she was most definitely not! I’ve heard nothing but good about this novel, not to mention, I’m in love with the cover art, so I’ll definitely be buying this one!****