This book pretty much had me from the first glance. How could I not read Gone South when the cover has a woman in a graceful Southern gown running up a red dirt path...and under the gown hem you can see blue jean cuffs? And the little peek of the house she is running toward... an old Southern house... doesn't that intrigue you?
Well, it intrigued me!
I am so glad that I had the chance to request this book to review from Waterbrook's Blogging for Book's program.
And I am so glad that that gown and jeans combo came from a scene in this book. I am not tellin' which scene, but suffice it to say it involved Tish, a Michiganer who has Gone South; George, an antiques dealer, and Mel, a young girl who needs a friend or two.
Meg Moseley writes with a really neat style, one that let me read her character's thoughts. I enjoyed that, as each characters viewpoint adds much depth to the story. Her descriptions are fresh and make you look again at the "ordinary" and see it in a new light. Isn't that a hallmark of good writing?
I mean, I fell in love with Tish's house the first time it was described: "She stopped in the doorway, taking it in. Straight ahead, a hardwood floor and an elegant staircase, its dark bannister wrapped with Christmas greens. To the left, the corner of a graceful sideboard and dining room table. To the right, a room with hight ceilings and and tall narrow windows. A rich red Oriental carpet lay before a fireplace with a mahogany mantel and a marble hearth. Why, it was the parlor where her great-great-great-grandparents might have hung their wedding portrait. If the walls of the room could speak, their stories would weave connections between two Letitias, born generations apart."
Oh yes... Tish and I would be friends... we are both drawn to that beautiful house! :-)
Tish is a character we could all be friends with: she is brave and kind, resilient and hopeful.
I loved getting to meet her, and run up the path to that old house with her.
I am glad I was able to be Gone South.
And now I must say: I tend to get attached to secondary characters in a book, especially when they are well drawn. Any chance we can have a sequel to tell Darren and Mel's story?
Please? Please? :-)
Ok. Then I'll be eager to read your next novel, A Stillness of Chimes.
But when she gets moved into her new house, she is shocked to find out that the people in the town, once they know her name, give her a cold shoulder. It seems her great-great-great-grandfather was a "carpet bagger," taking advantage of the southern people after the Civil War. And no one in the town has forgotten it.
Add Mel to the story. She is a twenty year old runaway who has come back to her hometown, penniless and pretty much disowned by her family and Tish takes her in. And then there's George. He owns an antique store and has eyes for Tish.
And there you have it. The book is longer than the plot deserves. It might have made a good short story. As a full length novel, the story drags. The issues with Mel, being good, then bad, then good, then bad, well, it is just repetitive. And the "romance" between Tish and George is stilted and drags on. Then the end is very quick. Suddenly, every one lives happily ever after.
Some of the characters are Christians, like Meg, who keeps meaning to find a church, as soon as she gets settled. Mel desperately prays to God to help her (even when she is doing something not exactly legal). That's pretty much it.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.
Letitia McComb has an interest in her family's history that traces back to the Civil War. Inspired by a past trip with her father, Letitia travels south to purchase the homestead. Eager to begin her new life within her historical home, Letitia is surprised by the new yet different version of her family's history that is told by her new southern town.
A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
The warning - "don't judge a book by its cover" - rings true in the novel "Gone South". The book's cover sparks early interest in the book; however, the novel does not sweep the reader into the southern adventure that is proclaimed by the cover. The ending of the novel leaves the reader not far from where the reader started. While the storyline and plot is thin, Meg Moseley maintains a smooth writing style with tasteful transitions and graceful word choice.
RATING: 3 (OUT OF 5) pennies
*I received a complimentary copy of Gone South from Multnomah Books for my honest review*
When her mother and future stepdad decide to make a move to Florida, Tish takes time off to help them move. Part of her plan for adventure on her trip is to stop in Noble, Alabama on her way home. The former home of her great-great-great grandparents, Nathan and Leticia McComb is for sale and Tish hopes to have a chance to get inside and take a look into their lives.
Once she arrives, she does more than look-she decides to buy it! The sale of the house is not without conflict as she talks the seller into a lower price that she can afford. The old North vs. South feelings are awakened!
Once Tish makes her final move to Noble, she finds that there are no warms feelings for the McComb family. Tish had always heard wonderful stories about Nathan and Leticia growing up. But now Tish has only one friend in town, George Zorbas, the local antique dealer.
You will enjoy this story as Tish and George deal with the town's prejudice and learn the real story of Nathan and Leticia!
Michigan girl, Tish McCombs, may be ready to begin again after an accident that left her heart and dreams crushed. When she find that her great-great-grandparent's home is on the market in the deep South of Alabama, she ventures down to take a look, memories of visiting there with her father when he was living still fresh in her mind. She only wanted to see the house. Reconnect with her roots. What she didn't expect was to fall in love with it. Usually predictable, Tish decides to buy the house and leave her past in Michigan behind. What catches Tish totally off guards is that McCombs aren't welcome in this little town. Not only are they not welcome but there are grudges and hard feelings toward her ancestors that have lasted since the Civil War!
Mel is hitchhiking, trying to figure out where to land since the rift between she and her family over her taking something she thinks is rightfully hers. When Mel is forced to leave behind all the money she has saved, she has no choice to return home but her family turns her away.
Two outcasts. Mel is homeless and Tish has plenty of space and is virtually friendless but can she trust Mel? George Zorbas (whose mother one lived in the home Tish has just purchased) is the only one who seems willing to give the two a chance and both of them need healing and a new start.
Meg Moseley has done a fabulous job of capturing small town Southern life. Even down to the lack of trust to "outsiders" is accurate and believable. If you enjoy a tale with a bit of mystery, surprise turns, small-town life, and a touch of romance, Gone South is definitely worth your time. If you're like me, the cover is enough to make you pick it up and begin to read. This is my first read by author Meg Moseley, but I hope it won't be the last. Perhaps a sequel to Gone South? There were enough unanswered questions at the end of the book to consider that a possibility.
I did receive this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way obligated to write a positive review.