Joshilyn Jackson's bestselling first novel, "Gods in Alabama," generated a storm of praise from critics and colleagues. Now Jackson delivers a new tale that will make you both laugh and cry-the story of a Southern woman caught between a decades-old family feud and the realization of her own dreams. Nonny Frett understands the meanings of "rock" and "hard place" better than any woman ever born. She's got two mothers, "one deaf-blind and the other four baby steps from flat crazy." She's got two men: her husband, who's easing ...
Joshilyn Jackson's bestselling first novel, "Gods in Alabama," generated a storm of praise from critics and colleagues. Now Jackson delivers a new tale that will make you both laugh and cry-the story of a Southern woman caught between a decades-old family feud and the realization of her own dreams. Nonny Frett understands the meanings of "rock" and "hard place" better than any woman ever born. She's got two mothers, "one deaf-blind and the other four baby steps from flat crazy." She's got two men: her husband, who's easing out the back door; and her best friend, who's laying siege to her heart in her front yard. She has a job that holds her in the city, and she's addicted to a little girl who's stuck deep in the country. To top it off, she has two families: the Fretts, who stole her and raised her right; and the Crabtrees, who lost her and can't forget that they've been done wrong. In Between, Georgia, population 90, a feud that began the night Nonny was born is escalating, and a random act of violence will set the torch to a thirty-year-old stash of highly flammable secrets. This might be just what the town needs, if only Nonny wasn't sitting in the middle of it...
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Feuds have fascinated humanity for as long as history has been recorded. From the ancient Greeks through the Bible and on to The Godfather, it's all about honor--personal, familial, professional--and protecting that honor. Daytime soap operas and Friday Night Smackdowns are full of juicy, delicious feuds. Just as nineteenth century readers avidly followed newspaper coverage of the Hatfield-McCoy saga, so contemporary readers follow feuding hip hop stars and teen celebrities. And how about those Hatfields and McCoys? We can thank them, in large part, for that staple of American culture, the Southern Gothic.
In Between, Georgia, which could be called Gothic Lite, the feuding families are the Fretts and the Crabtrees. One family is upstanding, upright, and uptight, the other peopled by flaming tempered ne'er do wells. Both, though, are quirky and eccentric enough to embarrass or frustrate even the most loving, loyal, and family-oriented of offspring.
Nonny Frett, who narrates Between, Georgia, has the dubious luck to be the offspring of both these families. She's a Crabtree by birth, the daughter of fifteen year old Hazel, but has called Stacia Frett "mama" since she was born. When Hazel Crabtree knocks hysterically on Bernese Frett's door in the middle of the night, in labor, the book is truly off and running, and we know exactly what the story will be like. No please, no thank you, just "Get it out of me" and "Don't tell my mama" and "I hate you." Bernese Frett, the oldest of the three Frett sisters and an RN (and ever the pragmatist) delivers the baby. Her sister Stacia, deaf since birth and slowly going blind from a congenital disease, falls immediately in love with the baby and adopts her.
Thirty years later, Nonny's living in Athens, Georgia, working as an interpreter for the deaf and divorcing her musician husband. She's been pulled in all directions for most of her life by love of her true family, the Fretts and the desire of her birth family to pull her into their fold. Over the course of one weekend the action escalates, as Bernese Frett and Ona Crabtree kick the feud into frighteningly high gear.
Although there's drunken violence, dead animals, and a horrible fire, Between, Georgia is a romantic comedy at heart. The characters are extreme but believable. Nonny's suitors are both gorgeous and hot and flawed, and the reader truly understands why she's having so much trouble taking the final step with her horn-dog of a husband. Both the Fretts and the Crabtrees are interesting and, in some (little) way sympathetic.
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