Thursday, July 19, 2012

Review: Cold Sassy Tree

Cold Sassy Tree
by Olive Ann Burns

Why did you choose this book? the cover caught my eye and it was a book club choice
When did you read this book? June 2012
Who should read this book? readers who are ready for a slow-paced Southern read
Source: library book club kit
Here is a synopsis of Cold Sassy Tree from Goodreads, where it rates 3.87 stars.

If the preacher's wife's petticoat showed, the ladies would make the talk last a week. But on July 5, 1906, things took a scandalous turn. That was the day E. Rucker Blakeslee, proprietor of the general store and barely three weeks a widower, eloped with Miss Love Simpson--a woman half his age and, worse yet, a Yankee On that day, fourteen-year-old Will Tweedy's adventures began and an unimpeachably pious, deliciously irreverent town came to life. Not since To Kill A Mockingbird has a novel so deftly captured the subtle crosscurrents of small-town Southern life. Olive Ann Burns classic bestseller brings to vivid life an era that will never exist again, exploring timeless issues of love, death, coming of age, and the ties that bind families and generations.

My Review 

I originally picked this book up because my eye was drawn to the cover. The reviews were very good, so our book club made it one of our selections. I have to be honest and say if it had not been a book club read, I probably would have set it aside after about 50 pages. It was very slow paced, and the southern dialect was difficult to read at first. But because it was a book club discussion, I kept at it, and after a few more chapters, the dialect was not only no longer an obstacle, but I began to ‘think’ in dialect. It took a few more chapters before I really got interested in the story. I did finish, and I’m glad I did, but it is not a book I would normally stick with.

This is not exactly historical fiction; there are no ‘historical’ characters interacting in the book. But it does give you a look into what life was like in the the small town south in the early 1900s. The story is told by Will Tweedy, a fourteen year old from the ‘right side of the tracks’ in Cold Sassy. He is the grandson of Grandpa Blakeslee, and as the story opens, Grandma Blakeslee has been dead for three weeks. Grandpa shocks his grown daughters, and the town, by running off to marry his young, attractive milliner, Miss Love. As he explains to his daughters, it is ‘cheaper to have a wife than a housekeeper’ and grandma ‘isn’t getting any deader’ if he waits longer to remarry. Hopefully you can tell from this that Grandpa is quite a character, and is used to getting his way. The daughters are polite, but cool towards their ‘step-mother’, but young Will is entranced. The rest of the book tells Will’s experiences during the next year, and his perception of what is happening in relation to Miss Love and the family.

If you have time for a relaxing, slow-paced read without a lot of complicated plot twists, this is a good book to try. Just don’t expect a lot of action.

My Rating:  ★★★  3 Stars

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