Books | September 2015
In a time when questions and opinions swirl about what is or is not Southern, about who we are as a people or where we are headed, and about pristine protagonists versus their flawed and painfully human counterparts, Southern literature remains a strong and unbending testament to the richness of our culture and the importance of our ever-complicated heritage.
Assembled here are two of the best new volumes for your Southern literature library, complete with all the nostalgia and magic that make our region’s writing an unmistakable proclamation of love for our cherished, many-layered Southern home.
The Curse of Crow Hollow by Billy Coffey
Undoubtedly recalling the style and talent of many great Southern authors before him, Billy Coffey unravels the memorable and intricate tale of Alvaretta Graves in The Curse of Crow Hollow. Rhythmic and expressive, Coffey’s words pull readers into rural Crow Hollow where everyone has their own opinion of Alvaretta, but none of those opinions are endearing or kind. Ranging from accusations of true insanity to fears of witchcraft, the whispers among Crow Hollow residents are many where this perplexing mountain woman is concerned. Drawing heavily on the power of folklore and superstition, Coffey crafts a tale of mystery and darkness. As the book unfolds and its characters seek to uncover the much-coveted truth, they learn more about themselves than they ever thought they could. Billy Coffey is hailed as one of the best Southern writers of our time and is recognized for his ability to combine the captivating charm of the South with the grotesque and unexpected. He has written several critically acclaimed books and is a regular contributor to quite a few publications as well.
Among the Fair Magnolias by Tamera Alexander, Shelley, Gray, Dorothy Love,
and Elizabeth Musser
For a bit of lighter reading Southern-style, this new collection of delightful love stories has something for just about everyone, particularly those looking for an escape to the past. All set during the turbulence of the years before and after the Civil War, these novellas each center around the life of one strong heroine who is faced with nearly impossible choices in terms of life and love. Family homes, battles of the heart, childhood friendships, faith, and plantation ownership all come into play as these captivating tales unfold. Simultaneously, broader themes of duty, family bonds, and Southern heritage play out among the expertly written characters. Each story has a well-rooted regional feel and leans heavily on the nostalgia of the Old South complete with idyllic scenery and flowery dialogue. All of the tales would certainly fall under the category of historical romance are brimming with the vibrant history and graceful charm that our region is so often recognized for. Exciting plot twists and subtle humor add to the overall feel-good vibe of these romances. As an added bonus, each novella includes a delicious recipe related in some way to the story. Among the Fair Magnolias is an ideal choice for book clubs and is sure to sweep readers away to a time of gentility and refinement in the not-so-distant past.
The Storied South
Commonly rooted in themes family ties, spirituality, and community bonds, the prose of the South remains solidly grounded in regional values in The Curse of Crow Hollow and Among the Fair Magnolias
Story by Shana Raley-Lusk