Published July 9th 2019 by Sourcebooks Landmark
Before I begin my review, I want to thank Davida at The Chocolate Lady’s Book Reviews for her recommendation. Her review had me adding this one to my TBR and I am so happy that I finally had the time to read it.
5 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Wow, this book was not what I expected and I mean that in a good way. This is the story of the Kratt family and all they dealt with for several generations. It is a story of life in the south, the good and the bad. It is a story of racism, classism and how people treated one another for many years. We all have ideas of what it was like in the south as recent as the late 1900s, but Andrea Bobotis writes in such a way that you feel like you are there. You feel the heat, the bugs, see the cotton and run away to hide with those being hunted.
Miss Judith wants to make a list of all that she owns before it is her “time to go.” Of course what she owns is only worth what someone else would pay for it. So, she really doesn’t have a lot, but what she does have are the stories and the memories that go with each item. She also has secrets, secrets that she wants to keep close to her breast. Secrets that would harm the family name and some others. Unfortunately, when her sister, Rosemary, returns home she knows that keeping those secrets may not be as easy as she would like.
The story is a historical fiction tale of what it was like in South Carolina. The author does an amazing job with this dual timeline story, weaving the life of 80 something Judith with the past of the Kratt family, including a family murder. The descriptive writing gives us well-developed characters that we can easily picture. As the time changes, so does the way racial tensions loosen, but there are still issues to be dealt with. Although Judith was a bit strict and staid, as the story went on, I really started to like her. Amaryllis, the young girl that helped bring Judith out of herself, was wonderful. She was innocent and honest and curious which allowed Judith to share stories with her and then with us, the reader. This was an absorbing, all encompassing read. I did not stop reading until the last page. I loved this book and recommend it to anyone, especially those who love family sagas, good southern literature, mysteries, human drama and human rights issues.
About the Book: Some bury their secrets close to home. Others scatter them to the wind and hope they land somewhere far away.
Judith Kratt inherited all the Kratt family had to offer—the pie safe, the copper clock, the murder no one talks about. She knows it’s high time to make an inventory of her household and its valuables, but she finds that cataloging the family belongings—as well as their misfortunes—won’t contain her family’s secrets, not when her wayward sister suddenly returns, determined to expose skeletons the Kratts had hoped to take to their graves.
Interweaving the present with chilling flashbacks from one fateful evening in 1929, Judith pieces together the influence of her family on their small South Carolina cotton town, learning that the devastating effects of dark family secrets can last a lifetime and beyond.