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review 2017-11-28 05:42
The Sisters of Glass Ferry
The Sisters of Glass Ferry - Kim Michele Richardson

By:  Kim Michele Richardson

ISBN: 1496709551

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date:  11/28/2017

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +  (ARC)

 

From Kentucky’s finest Southern storyteller, Kim Michele Richardson returns following (2016) GodPretty in the Tobacco Field and (2015) Liar's Bench with her latest gripping mystery (her best yet), crime thriller: THE SISTERS OF GLASS FERRY –Rich in character, strong family bonds, suspense, and dark deeply-buried family secrets with a Southern Gothic twist. 

Set in the southern riverside town of Glass Ferry, in the heart of Kentucky bourbon—a gripping complex multi-generational tale of three families and four generations. Told from two points of view (Flannery and Patsy), and dual timelines.

From 1952 to 1972 and beyond, meet the Butler family. 

Mother Jean, father Honey Bee, and twin daughters: Flannery Bee and Patsy Jean. Their rival, The Henrys. 

Even though wise Beauregard “Honey Bee” (dad) has passed on, his legacy lives on through his daughters. A bourbon distiller, he made sure his family was taken care of and taught his daughters to be strong. 

Teaching them about guns, bullets, driving, and other things a man would teach his sons, and in particular, Flannery – the bourbon business, the river, chores in the barn, and his secrets (including his recipes) as he unburdens his soul to his thirteen- year- old daughter. 

His rules still called from the grave. 

Honey Bee had said, “Kentucky without its whiskey men, its stills, would be like New York City without business suits and buildings.” 

Flannery loved everything about whiskey. Loved that Honey Bee had taught her the secrets of its doings. " She loved the dark earth and the mystery of its scent that tucked itself into a strange sweet growing time." Her sister was more like their mom. 

Patsy had other friends besides her twin Flannery and Flannery felt betrayed and jealous. The mom referred to her husband's business as “the devil’s water.” However, Honey Bee thought his River Witch was respectable. After all, he was licensed and offered a true gentlemen’s whiskey. 

However, there was a payback. They had to keep the sheriff's pockets full of fees (taxes). Sinful bribery by the Henry brood, in more ways than one. Carried down to the next generation. 

However, Honey Bee always reminded his family the business had saved them throughout history, through the Depression and Prohibition. Only four licenses were handed out over the years in Kentucky and he was one. 

Later, in the story, we discover there were also twin sons (Paxton and Preston) which died as babies. A big mystery is unveiled near the conclusion regarding a third family and the connection to the Butlers from decades earlier. 

 



The story revolves around 1952 — the night of the prom. Patsy had a special date with her boyfriend Danny Henry. Danny the younger son. There was also the oldest, Hollis (bad news-troublemaker), and the father Jack which is the Sherriff.

The Henry’s looked down on the Butlers. Some thought being a twin was bad luck. A small town of half-truths, sadness, domestic abuse, rape, cover-ups, corruption, mental illness, and rumors. Spirits of the past. Unfinished business. 

Patsy was the beautiful and curvy sister; whereas, Flannery was the smart one and not so beautiful. Patsy was closer to her mom and Flannery her dad. They were eight minutes apart. Patsy was protective of her younger sister. The girls did not always get along. Sibling rivalry. 

However, prom night. The night it all went wrong – will haunt Flannery the rest of her life. The argument. The night Danny and Patsy went missing. From her mom’s sadness to the guilt of her sister. 

The 1950 Mercury, pearls, prom night, a gun, bullet, two different brothers, twin sisters, Hospital Curve, Ebenezer Road and the Kentucky River. 

The same river that had given Flannery so much would take yet another from her. The night Danny and Patsy went missing. They never made it to the prom. There was also the haunting day Patsy accepted a ride with Hollis three months earlier when Danny was flirting with Violet. 

Now, Patsy is gone and Jean still makes a cake each year for Patsy and Flannery on their birthday. However, this year, a car was found in the muddy Kentucky River and the secrets of the past begin to unravel. They had all hoped the two runaway lovers had been living a secret life; however, a tragedy. 

Two different twin sisters cannot seem to escape their tragedy and loss. Regrets. Secrets. One after another, trapped with no seemingly way out. 

“Reckoning Day was why Flannery stayed precisely eight minutes ahead, looking over her shoulder for those lagging minutes when the devil might try to collect." 

Flannery had the pearls. Her mom wants desperately to find the family pearls. Flannery would have to tell everything – both her secrets and Patsy’s. Flannery could only think of getting miles away from Glass Ferry. From her mom’s sadness, the rumors, and her guilt which only pushed her into yet another nightmare relationship. 

Now twenty years later she returns. 

What would Hollis do? A pact with the devil. The Henrys and their hold on this family, throughout generations. Precious moments lost. Brokenness and drowning misery. Is history repeating itself?

 
Flannery has to do something to help clear her sister’s reputation and name. The strong urge to avenge her sister. Will she have the courage, to tell the truth, or seek revenge? Justice. 

In the background, there is also another intriguing mystery (icing on the cake). The long-dead midwife Joetta, alleged to have been a witch and a murderess. Does her spirit still haunt Ebenezer Road?

However, the parents kept one big secret which is yet to be unveiled. An old family matter. A secret box. A diary. Holding the key to the past. (A nice twist)!

Will the spirits of the past, continue to hover over the lives of this family? How far will a sister go to protect her secrets and seek justice for those she loves.

Riveting. Emotional. Compelling. Haunting. Beautifully written. A mix of psychological, domestic suspense, crime thriller, mystery, historical, and Southern Gothic. 

A tale of heartbreak, and the strong bonds of family, balanced between destruction, regret, and redemption. The dark consequences that reverberate through the lives of three families, who will never be the same again. Love and loss. 

Richardson’s best yet! Once you start reading, you will not be able to put this one down. These families will draw you into their web of secrets and lies across generations, keeping you turning into the night. 

For fans of David Joy, Wiley Cash, Joshilyn Jackson, and Ron Rash.If you enjoy authentic Southern Gothic family mysteries, this one is for you. Ideal for book clubs (discussion guide included). My mom was a twin and come from a long line of family twins- always find them intriguing. 

Highly Recommend! Have read all her books and a huge fan. Anxiously awaiting the next book. I enjoyed reading what’s next for the author: Add this one to your TBR list. 

“I am currently working on my next novel The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, and have spent countless hours researching and exploring the Pack Horse Library Project of 1935. It is a fascinating tale of tribute about the fearsome librarians who traveled on horseback and mule to provide books to the poor and isolated communities in Kentucky.”

Read More 

A special thank you to the author, Kensington, and Netgalley for an advanced digital and print copy. I have also pre-ordered the audiobook narrated by Marguerite Gavin. 

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Buy the Book

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/09/01/The-Sisters-of-Glass-Ferry
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text 2017-11-15 17:13
Finding more books . . . .
The Impostor - Noel B. Gerson

I thought I had inventoried all the books that are stashed in the studio.  Apparently not.

 

In my never-ending quest to provide covers - even the wrong ones, if necessary -- for all the books on my BookLikes shelves, I got down on my hands and knees in search of The Impostor, which I knew was out there.  Sure enough, there it was on the bottom shelf in the middle of a stack of other mid-century book club editions.  Few of them have dust jackets, so they aren't worth scanning. However, I knew The Impostor not only still had its paper cover but that it was in reasonably good condition.

 

When I lifted the other books from on top of it, I checked their spines to see if there might be some surprises.

 

The first two titles were ones I recognized as being duly entered on my spreadsheet.

 

The third was the surprise.

 

No dust jacket, but a nice book club edition of Phyllis A. Whitney's Columbella!  I was certain I had inventoried all the Whitneys and none were in the studio.  Alas, this one somehow got skipped.  It has now been added!

 

 

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review 2017-11-14 07:06
The Coven (Beatrice Scarlet) - Graham Masterton

1758,London.Beatrice Scarlet,a widow, works in a refuge for "fallen"women. But then some of these young girls (who,after a rehabilitation period,are sent out to factories )disappear.

Although the title implies witches and witchcraft (so does the cover by the way),this is more of a mystery story with some dark/horror undercurrents. But after a rather slow start it is definitely a thrilling read and mostly well written.This also happens to be the second book in this new series. 

Only comment,perhaps certain scenes (rape scenes mainly)might have been a little less graphic. 

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review 2017-11-11 22:17
Excellent historical perspective on the genre
The Tale Of Terror: A Study Of The Gothic Fiction - Edith Birkhead

Disclosure:  I acquired a free Kindle edition of this public domain work.

 

Although a bit dry at times, Edith Birkhead's 1921 study of gothic fiction is still a valuable resource for anyone wishing to understand the evolution of the genre.  Her insights remain relevant even a century (almost) later.

 

She starts with Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto and moves forward into the novels of Mrs. Radcliffe, Matthew "Monk" Lewis, and others at the end of the eighteenth century.  The connections she makes between the authors and the books they read as well as the books they wrote was interesting.  Too often, literary analysts seem to assume the books write themselves and evolve one after the other without human intervention.

 

Many of the books and authors cited have of course been classics for a very long time, but others are less well known and less available even in this age of digitization.  It's going to be fun tracking down some of these unfamiliar titles.

 

One aspect I found particularly interesting, and again given that this was written nearly a hundred years ago, was that Ms. Birkhead recognized the integration of aspects of the gothic story into other genres of fiction, whether bringing elements of the supernatural into the mundane setting such as The Picture of Dorian Grey, or allowing natural fear and terror to heighten the reader's excitement and interest, as in The Prisoner of Zenda.

 

The edition I obtained is complete with footnotes and index, which will be very useful.

 

Recommended.

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review 2017-10-30 13:00
Blackwater: The Complete Saga by Michael McDowell, narrated by Matt Godfrey
Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell,Matt Godfrey

Blackwater: The Complete Saga on audio is absolutely phenomenal! Phenomenal! That's right, it's so good, it deserves two PHENOMENALS. 

 

First-about the book itself. Michael McDowell was a force to be reckoned with as far as writing about family dynamics. If you've read The Elementals, Gilded Needles, or Cold Moon over Babylon, (and if you haven't you SHOULD), you already know that McDowell writes about families like no one else. Now imagine those books expanded to cover several generations of one family, in this case The Caskeys, and you might have an inkling of how great a work of literature, (that's right, I'm calling it literature), Blackwater really is. 

 

Starting with a huge flood in Perdido, Alabama and a mysterious woman found in a partially flooded hotel and ending with another flood in the same town, there is a symmetry here not often found in horror fiction. Perhaps it's because Blackwater isn't really a horror novel, (or series of novels, as it was originally released back in the 80's), at all. I would describe it more as a Southern Gothic soap opera or family saga, with supernatural and horrific elements.

 

One of the things I adore about McDowell, and there are many of them, (click here for my essay on McDowell's work), is how he treats horrifying supernatural events as if they were no big deal. Somehow, the way he does that makes the event even more horrifying, if that makes any sense. 

 

Of course, as I mentioned above, McDowell writes family dynamics like no one else and this book proves it. Throughout generations even, McDowell is at the top of his game writing about this family with its rich men and domineering women. Being from Alabama himself, the authenticity of the family's bearing and standing in their community of Perdido is never in doubt. His insights into human behavior are unmatched and beautifully written-without fail. Here's a quote from the first book of this novel,The Flood, (which takes place in the early 1920's):

 

That was the great misconception about men: because they dealt with money, because they could hire someone on and later fire him, because they alone filled state assemblies and were elected congressional representatives, everyone thought they had power. Yet all the hiring and firing, the land deals and the lumber contracts, the complicated process for putting through a constitutional amendment-these were only bluster. They were blinds to disguise the fact of men's real powerlessness in life. Men controlled the legislatures, but when it came down to it, they didn't control themselves. Men had failed to study their own minds sufficiently, and because of this failure they were at the mercy of fleeting passions; men, much more than women, were moved by petty jealousies and the desire for petty revenges. Because they enjoyed their enormous but superficial power, men had never been forced to know themselves the way that women, in their adversity and superficial subservience, had been forced to learn about the workings of their brains and their emotions.

 

 

I could go on and on about McDowell, as many of you already know, but now I'd like to address the narration of this story by Alabama native Matt Godfrey. 

 

I just don't have the words to describe how McDowell's words, combined with Godfrey's narration, made me feel. Together, they made a great work even greater. Godfrey's voicing was so true to the source material it made the Caskey voices come alive. ALIVE, I say! I laughed out loud many times, and I cried a few times too.

 

I most especially adored his voicing of James and of Oscar. Don't get me wrong, I loved these characters back when I first read the books a few years ago; but with Matt's voice attached to them, they became larger than life. It was easy for me to recognize who was talking just by the inflections and changes of tone. I've never listened to an audio book where it was easier for me to identify who was who, just by how the narrator voiced them. I've listened to a lot of audios over the last few years, and that's never happened to me-at least not in a book with as many characters as Blackwater. That's why I say now, with no reservations, that this is the BEST audiobook I've ever read. PERIOD.

 

I hope that I've convinced you to give this audio a try by giving it my HIGHEST recommendation. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it if you do give it a go. 

 

You can get your copy here: Blackwater: The Complete Saga

 

*I received this audiobook free, from the narrator, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.* **Further, I consider Matt Godfrey a friend, even thought we've never met, but this review IS my honest opinion.**

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