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An Elderberry Fall (Zane Presents) Paperback – August 26, 2014
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About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
On February 4th, 1921, I gulped a breath of fresh air before I took the last step down the train steps onto solid ground. The brisk wind caressed my skin, and alerted me to a new reality. “So this is Richmond, Virginia,” I said to myself, gazing around at the cobblestone sidewalks and cars. My six-month-old son, Robert, had his head resting on my shoulder as I struggled with my overloaded suitcase, straining every muscle in my body, but I could not have cared less. Who would have believed a young girl like me would be here—in the big city, with streetcars and tall buildings and with colored people strutting around in fine, fashionable outfits, like the kind white folk wore in Jefferson County on special occasions? The coloreds appeared proud, like they owned the town. It felt good, and I fought to slow my heart down from the rush of anxiety. It was certainly different here. Most of the folks I knew probably thought I would live forever in Jefferson County amongst the sour memories and shame from the child I bore out of wedlock. But I was not so ready to stay there. When Simon asked me to come to Richmond, Virginia, my real transformation began.
• • •
My child, Robert, is beautiful. He is almost flawless. Each day I study the ridges around his little fingers, waiting to see if his tan color and fine features and that innocent, charismatic smile will remain. He favors me for the most part. However, there are times when his eyes seem dark and mysterious, and it sends chills throughout my body.
Robert, Simon and I live in a small apartment on the west side of Richmond—Jackson Heights, they call it. It’s the colored section of town. It is a fine neighborhood, with shrubbery and flowers planted tastefully in front of well kept tenement houses and single-family row homes. Our place is a small, brick, two-story house with a cast-iron fence around it. Alongside the yard is an elderberry bush, which reminds me of the sweet jam Momma made in the fall. Most of the neighborhood residents are colored and oblivious to the surrounding communities. Everything seems to be within walking distance—the grocer, tailor, the cobbler, and the feed and seed store. The corner store has everything we need. Farmers are unloading crates of vegetables every day, and hanging inside are hams, and there is a meat counter where slices of select meat can be packaged. It is well stocked, and I am overwhelmed that I no longer have to work in a field with the hot sun beaming down on me. Simon has a rooster and two hens in the backyard, mainly for eggs. But, I can imagine them on the table stuffed with cornbread dressing.
We share our backyard with a couple downstairs. They are on the front porch every day sitting in a porch swing with wide smiles swept across their faces as if the stresses of life had floated past them even though they are different from others in the neighborhood. Most people stare transfixed by their difference. The lady is white, very pale, and the man is colored. Most feel their living together is a disgrace to everyone around them. It is alright with me because they seem happy. And from where I come from, happiness is the center of life and satisfaction. The man is tall and very dark, almost as dark as a midnight sky. He is clean, somewhat handsome and solid in build. She is a petite lady of normal height, a brunette, with barely any frown lines or wrinkles and sky-blue eyes. The Halls are at least sixty years old, but they don’t look it. Directly across the street from us is another strange, but beautiful couple. The man is rugged in appearance like most railroad workers. He has long lashes like those of a woman, thick bushy hair and flawless caramel skin. Though handsome, he is never well-groomed. His wife is also attractive. She is dark chocolate with a lot of hair that falls to her shoulders, and bounces as she walks; her pouty lips are the kind the old people swear are sexy. Those neighbors have two children. Simon and I are getting used to the newness of city life, the sounds of the streetcars, the pinging of the church clock, and the whispers of voices walking down the street. On steamy summer nights, the neighborhood seems to explode. Vague voices and outbursts of laughter are heard from blocks away. It’s a jovial place. The sounds of crickets chirping are drowned out by the hissing of the steam shooting out of the trains and streetcars starting and stopping along its route through town. The action is hypnotic. I find myself loathing going to sleep, because I relish the sounds of city life so much. It is invigorating.
I can’t help wondering about Momma and her life in a world shadowed with trees. She is alone now, with painful memories about a time all of us would love to forget. But, somehow the past always come back to you in some form. Carl, my brother, is still in Jefferson County, and yards away from my mother. He is just like my papa, strong-willed and no-nonsense. He is the strength she needs right now. When Camm was murdered, I’d waited for her to lose it all—break down in tears—but instead her face appeared less tense, relaxed. Just like for me, a burden had been lifted from my mother’s shoulders.
Simon is all I need right now. He is such a handsome man, physically and mentally strong. He is truly mine in every form, something I never thought would happen; and I adore ever inch of his being. I quiver sometimes just thinking about how complete he makes me feel. “Oh, Lawd, is this right?” I say to myself, and feel warm chills travel over my skin. He says he loves me, and acts like it, too. He is so attentive to me and Robert. Along with most women we are around, the lady across the street is always staring at my husband. I smile shyly at her, knowing she’d better stay in her place, because he has chosen me.
Top Customer Reviews
Ruth Watson picks up Carrie's story in Richmond, Virginia. She is married to loving Simon, her hometown knight in shining armor. He has taken her to a new place, away from the pain and shame she suffered. As he aspires to become a staple in the Negro Leagues, Carrie is encouraged to be a content wife and mother, a woman who should be grateful such a good man "took her and Robert in." This is where Watson's magic begins. In beautiful prose, she unfolds a multifaceted look at life for African-Americans, and particularly women, during the twenties. Carrie fights against wanting marriage and a career, trusting her husband, and questioning if things are as they seem. In poetic, seamless fashion, Watson introduces characters that intrigued readers in book one: Pearl, Mae Lou, Ginny, Willie, Carl, and John. We meet new characters as well who lend intrigue to the plot.
Today I'm thinking of Adam, Nadine, and Mrs. Hall, hoping I'll see them again. (Hint hint) Side note: Just when I thought I knew all the uses for vinegar, Watson threw me for a loop. Bravo, Ruth Watson, and thank you for such a beautiful story.
This quote does not begin to describe Ruth P. Watson, the author of "An Elderberry Fall"
This novel is exquisite, daring, and intriguing. You are engaged the moment you read the first word.
The characters leap from the pages as they each take you on their journey of mystique, but each of them have
a personal story, but this is what makes this novel interesting, the character's are continually trying to convince you that they did not kill Herman Camm.
This is the "aroma" of the subliminal story line that grasps your mind, Carrie, Simon, Ginny, Ms Pearl, Carl ect. will not stop "talking" in your head as you read, because they are constantly trying to defending their own testimony to distract you from asking the question, where were you when this murder took place?
The characters are have mastered their alibi's which creates an pregnant illusion that won't give birth to the truth.
This is a true southern thriller that captivates you totally as you try to separate the facts from the fiction.
The ending was simply brilliant, the best is yet to come.
I really love the title as it has a great significance to the book. Elderberries reminded Carrie of home where they grew beside her childhood home and because ripe Elderberries are known for their healing and medicinal purposes while at the same time the rest of the plant is potentially deadly.
I don't want to give away any spoilers but the events and twist will leave you in awe and made me ask myself the question - Is Herman Camm Really dead? How Innocent is Pearl? What secrets if any is Carl hiding? If you were a lawyer, what would you withhold to protect your family? Just to name a new....
Ruth P. Watson you are amazing! Can't wait to see what's next!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Some of the words used do not fit the character and time that the book is written. However, it kept me interested enough to order another one of her books.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Truly enjoyed this book! And thanks to Amazon for letting me know that this was the sequelPublished 2 months ago by Ree
I enjoyed An elderberry Fall as well as the author 1st novel. I really didn't like the ending so i'm assuming
that maybe there's a sequel out there! Read more
Ah, Ruth Watson did it again! I was pulled into the story and kept reading it well into the night to find out what happened next. What a suspenseful ride of twists and turns! Read morePublished 20 months ago by Karen Ashmore
Ruth Watson has done it for me again! I devoured this book and anxiously turned each page until the very end! Read morePublished 20 months ago by Janice L Lawrence
Ms. Watson did not disappoint. Her sequel to "Blackberry Days of Summer" kept me pinned to my seat. I could not put it down. I can't wait for the next installment. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Amazon Customer
This book was a true page turner! I couldn't put it down. Ruth P. Watson has done it again and I pray she'll write a sequel to continue the story of Carrie, my favorite... Read morePublished 22 months ago by HJT teacher
I totally enjoyed this sequel. My only complaint is the ending - there HAS to be a part three or I just may run amuck! Other than that, this is a great read.Published 23 months ago by Contessa Austin