Books

This Is A Page Solely Devoted to Highlighting Southern Writers and their Literary Works 
(A New Book Will Be Added Weekly)
I finished reading Secrets Over Sweet Tea, by Denise Hildreth Jones, a few weeks ago and I have to say I absolutely loved reading this book. It was a fun read for me on a personal level because the characters would have lunch and go shopping at places I recognized and have been to. I loved how Jones portrays her characters as someone you could sit down and have a glass of sweet tea with. 

"Secrets can be funny things. We think they keep us safe, but more often than not, they spill out when we least expect and make a mess out of everything. It’s a truth Scarlett Jo Newberry knows all too well—a truth Grace Shepherd and Zach Craig are about to learn the hard way. As the lives of this boisterous pastor’s wife, polished news anchor, and beleaguered divorce attorney intersect in the tree-lined streets of Franklin, Tennessee, scandal threatens to topple their carefully constructed worlds. Grasping at survival, they embark on a journey of friendship and courage, desperate to find a way back to laughter, love, and life". This book exemplifies what rediscovering oneself looks like and that it is never too late to get back in touch with who you really are and fulfill your life's passion. I highly recommend this book. 
I have to say I honestly considered not even adding this book to this list of Southern books because the ending is not tied up perfectly with a bow. I thought on it a while and decided that life is messy, not every beginning has a fairy tale ending, and life is made up of a series of choices that either leads to a good or bad result; and maybe that is the message the author is trying to deliver. Michael Lee West captures the essence of small town Southern life so perfectly in her novel, She Flew the Coop, so much so that it had to be added to this list. 

She Flew The Coop, by Michael Lee West, takes place in Limoges, Louisiana where gossip is being spread about, neighbors consoling each other with casseroles when tragedy strikes, and of course scandal is involved. In the spring of 1952 the gossip mill in Limoges, LA is far from empty; with a sixteen-year-old, Olive Nepper, pregnant (by the Baptist minister), Olive, currently in a coma after drinking pop mixed with roes poison. Olive and her family are not the only ones livening up the rumor mill either, there is other juicy gossip to be spread around in this "small Southern community of unpredictable eccentrics, wandering husbands, and unsatisfied wives - and few local sins will be put right by home cooking". Michael Lee West never fails to capture a readers attention, She Flew the Coop is "a beautifully rendered portrait of small-town Southern life, filled with humanity that brilliantly weaves comedy with dark calamity". 
Thin, Rich, Pretty, by Beth Harbison, is a wonderful vacation, beach, or just anytime read. Thin, Rich, Pretty is the story of three girls who made a decision at summer camp one year, that would have repercussions for decades to come. Thin, Rich, Pretty is the story of three women who believe that happiness is the next dress size down, more money in a bank account, or an approving glance from anyone. These three women end up saving one another and showing each other the path to true contentment. Beth Harbison has a great style of writing that is always funny and heartwarming, I highly recommend any of her novels!
American Thighs: The Sweet Potato Queens' Guide to Preserving Your Assets, by Jill Conner Browne, is a wonderful must-read book that will have you laughing. "Here are stories of growing up and learning about life the hard way. From disastrous haircuts to fashion or verbal faux pas, from the kiss wished for but never gotten to the one that should have been skipped, these are the moments that mark each of our journeys from what we thought back then to what we know now".
Bound South, by Susan Rebecca White, is the perfect summer read; you are sure to find at least one character in this novel that you will love! The lives of three Southern women {an Atlanta matron, her rebellious teenage daughter, and their housekeeper's teenage daughter} intersect in curious ways. This novel is chock-full of drama scandal, and of course the ways of the South. "A richly compelling debut novel of family, friendship, and folly".
Before you jump to a conclusion, American Ghost, by Janis Owens, is not about ghost, but only those of our past. This is a wonderful novel that is the perfect blend of Southern, mystery, and of course a love story tangled in it all; the perfect combination for a novel! Jolie Hoyt is a Southern girl and daughter of the local preacher, living in a small Florida Panhandle town, Hendrix. When Jolie meets Sam, a Jewish anthropology student from Miami, who is doing research, but also discreetly trying to find out the truth about a 1930s racial crime, that his great-grandfather was involved in, she falls head over heels for him. Sam inevitably pries too deep into the 1930s crime and becomes the victim of long tradition of small-town violence. Twelve years later certain circumstances force Jolie and Sam to come back together to revisit unresolved issues of their young love and shed light on the 1930s racial crime that involves Jolie's hometown. With all the elements American Ghost, by Janis Owens, contains it is truly a memorable read. 
 
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, by Beth Hoffman, is a book that will make you laugh, cry, and smile. "Twelve-Year-Old CeeCee is in trouble. For years, she's taken care of her mother, Camille, the town's tiara-wearing, lipstick-smeared laughingstock, a woman who is trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. When tragedy strikes, Tootie Caldwell, CeeCee's long-lost great-aunt, comes to the rescue and whisks her away to Savannah. There, CeeCee is catapulted into a perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity - one that appears to be run entirely by strong, wacky women. Both hilarious and heartbreaking, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt charts the journey of an unforgetable girl who loses one mother, but finds many others". A summer must-read! 
We're Just Like You, Only Prettier, by Celia Rivenbark, is a laugh out loud read! I just finished reading this book and absolutely loved it! Rivenbark has the ability to make the most common things hilarious. "In this wickedly funny follow-up to her bestselling novel Bless Your Heart, Tramp, Celia Rivenbark welcomes you, once again, to the South she loves, the land of "Mama and them," "precious and dahlin,".
Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, by Susan Gregg Gilmore, is a novel that you are sure to fall in love with. During the 1970s in Ringgold, Georgia, Catherine Grace Cline is the daughter of a third-generation Baptist and is dying to escape small-town life. With the help of a family friend the Catherine Grace's lifelong dream of moving to the big city of Atlanta becomes a reality. Before things get off the ground in Atlanta, tragedy brings her home, and she begins to wonder if her place in the world is where she started off. 
What Southern Women Know About Flirting, by Ronda Rich, teaches you to master the art of flirting like a true Southern bell. Rich reveals the techniques and secrets for making the most of every woman's natural female instincts. "With good humor, real-life anecdotes, and plenty of savvy know-how, Ronda shows readers how to: win others over with grace, confidence, and charm". What Southern Women Know About Flirting will provide you with an afternoon of entertainment and insight. A great beach read!
Yankee Doodle Dixie, by Lisa Patton, is the charming sequel to Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’Easter. You will fall in love with the novel's heroine Leelee Satterfield all over again; with her ability to find adventure, love, and so much more in between! After moving up North and having her life turned upside down Leelee has decided to return home to Memphis, TN with her two daughters. Back in the South Leelee opens up another restaurant, reunites with her three lifelong girlfriends, and still has a love interest back in Vermont. A delightful book to read! 
Hope in a Jar, by Beth Harbison is a wonderful, light read and a page turner! You will read this book in one or two days. "Twenty years ago, Allie Denty was the pretty one and her friend Olivia Pelham was the smart one. Throughout high school, they were inseparable until a vicious rumor about Olivia - a rumor too close to the truth ended their friendship. Now, on the eve of their twentieth high school reunion, Allie, a temp worker, finds herself suddenly single, a little chubby, and feeling old. Olivia, a cool and successful magazine beauty editior in New York, realizes she's lonely, and is finally ready to face her demons." Hope in a Jar is a great book to read while relaxing on the beach or by the pool! I promise you will love it!
Life is Short, I Wish I Was Taller, by Ann Ipock, will have you laughing out loud with a big smile on your face. This book contains humorous tales of everyday life in a not so every day world. Life is Short, I Wish I Was Taller, is a great book to take on vacation or just to read when you need a good laugh! Ipock is also the author of Life is Short, So Read This Fast!  and Life is Short, But It's Wide.
How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World {The Art of Living with Style, Class, and Grace}, by Jordan Christy, is a book every woman/girl should own. This book will show you how to impress, dress, find true friendship, date Mr. Right, polish your professional image, and have a fun night out. In today's society women of class, style, and charm are hard to find; a man still wants a girl he can take home to his parents and employers and peers still respect classy conduct. Christy offers a fresh look at seemingly "old fashioned" advice. How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World is a must-read, 5 stars! 
The Widow of the South, by Robert Hicks, is about an older woman, Carrie McGavock, who lived through the time of the Civil War, and reflects back on her life. Carrie is left with only the company of her former slave and the almost 1,500 soldier buried in her backyard. As Carrie is walking the rows of the dead, an old solider appears; it is the same man she meet on the day of the battle that changed everything for her. He is the man who came to her house as a wounded soldier and left with her heart, he asks Carrie if the cemetery has room for one more. The Widow of the South is based on a true story. "Known throughout the country as "the Widow of the South," Carrie McGavock gave her heart first to a stranger, then to a tract of hallowed ground-and became a symbol of a nation's soul." This is a book to keep for a life time, 5 stars, in my opinion. 

Coming Home {The Southern Vernacular House}, by James Lowell Strickland and Partners of Historical Concepts, contains breathtaking photographs of beautiful Southern homes. This book demonstrates this prestigious firm's talent for translating traditional architecture into charming and inviting designs. This is a wonderful book to own; it will give inspiration for decorating and some wonderful ideas!   
Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell, is the ultimate Southern novel! Gone With the Wind is not only considered to be the greatest Civil War saga of all time but the greatest love story of all time as well. You will fall in love with the two main characters, Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler. This book captures the essence of Southern lifestyle during the time of the Civil War and is simply a novel everyone Southerner must read!
Bless Your Heart, Tramp, by Celia Rivenbark, will have you laughing out loud and rolling around on the floor. "Step into the wacky world of "womanless wedding" fund-raisers, in which Bubbas wear boas. Meet two sisters who fight rural boredom by washing Budweiser cans and cutting them into pieces to make clothing. Learn why the word snow sends any right-thinking Southerner careening to the Food Lion for extra loaves of bread and little else". This is a great pick-me-up book for when you're having a hard day, it will turn you frown upside down! 
Every Day by the Sun, by Dean Faulkner Wells, is a wonderful memoir of the Faulkner family of Mississippi. Wells explores the relationship between her father and her uncle, William Faulkner, and the relationship between herself and her uncle, and the Faulkner family history. This is must a read, it is one of the best memoirs I have read! 
Crazy Ladies, by Michael Lee West, is a book that you will not be able to put down and has a character that everyone will be able to relate to! Miss Gussie is the glue in the family that holds everyone together; she has two daughters, Dorothy and Clancy Jane, who both have very different personalities and ambitions in life. Needless to say these two take different directions in life, one marrying for money and the other running away with her boyfriend after finding herself in trouble. The book comes full circle when both girls have a family of their and certain events bring them back home. This book will take you through four decades as it recounts the "universal loves, sorrows, and joys of women's lives". 
The Grits (Girls Raised In The South) Guide to Life, by Deborah Ford with Edie Hand, makes for a great beach read, you will have a hard time putting this book down! Find out the code behind the distinctive and irresistible-style of Southern women. The Grits Guide to Life is full of  quotes, Southern recipes, true stories from Southern women, advice, and most importantly Southern lessons. Every Southern girl or just those Southern at heart should read this book!
 
The Sweetest Thing, by Elizabeth Musser, takes you on a trip to Atlanta in the 1930s during the time of the Great Depression. Perri Singleton is surrounded by the security of her family, friends, school, and town, but her world takes a turn as tragedy strikes her family. Another girl, Mary Dobbs Dillard, who is individualistic and passionate is sent to live with her aunt in Atlanta at the insistence of her parents. Perri and Mary Dobbs forage an unlikely friendship that will be tested through out the novel. This is a book everyone should read!
"For almost 30 years Bunny Williams, the celebrated interior designer, has been having a passionated affair with an 18th-century New England house. From the moment she walked up the driveway it was love at first sight, even though the property was in sad shape". In this book Bunny Williams describes how she restored her beautiful home. She provides advice on interior decor, addresses practical matters, and even includes a few recipes. An Affair with a House is a must have decorating book! 
Read What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should), by Ronda Rich, to learn how Southern women get their way and by using charm and whit. This book explains the attitude of Southern women, and how you can get the same kind of personal, romantic, and professional success. 
Susan Gregg Gilmore's second novel, The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove, is a fantastic read! "For the Groves, one of the city's most prominent families, and particularly Bezellia, uniquely named for a fiery ancestor, it's especially difficult. Bezellia is closer to the family's black servants, her nanny, Maizelle, and the handyman, Nathaniel, then she is to her alcoholic mother and her distant, inaccessible father. When Bezellia has a clandestine affair with Nathaniel's son Samuel, their romance is met with anger and few from both families. In a time and place where rebelling against the rules carries a steep price, Bezellia Grove must decide which of her names will be the one that defines her."
The Help, by Kathryn Stockett, is an unforgettable and timeless novel that should be added to everyone's collection. Skeeter, Aibileen, and Minny; three very different women living in Jackson, Mississippi during the 1960s, come together determined to start a movement of their own that will change a town and the way people view one another. This novel is chock-full of hope, humor, and drama.
Patton’s debut novel, Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’Easter, is hilariously enchanting. The main character, Leelee Satterfield, lives a comfortable life in Memphis, TN with her husband and two daughters until her husband, Baker, gets an idea to buy a Vermont inn. With the move up North comes an interesting turn of events. 

7 comments:

  1. I love reading and you have some great books here! I cant wait to try a few that whistling Dixie sounds great!
    Karolyn

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    1. Whistling Dixie in a Nor' Eastern is actually one of my favorite books! I know you will love it! :)

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  2. Love this page! I'm always up for a new southern writer and you've given me some new authors to check out. You should look for "Calling Me Home" by Julie Kibler. It's a newer book. I'm halfway through it and can't put it down.

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    1. I will definitely have to check out "Calling Me Home" I am always on the search for a good book!

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  3. I have been looking for a great southern reads list for ages!!!! Only to find lists that really fall short! I have read many of these but there are many more I cannot wait to pick up. Thanks so much for this compilation!

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  4. I love this! I'm always on the lookout for great Southern reads. New follower via GFC and Twitter.

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