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Sweetgrass Paperback – April 20, 2010
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"The Book Club skillfully weaves the individual story threads into a warm, unified whole that will appeal to readers . . ." -- Library Journal
"Mary Alice Monroe writes from her heart to the hearts of her readers. It is a quality of emotional honesty . . ." -- Charleston Post & Courier
"With its evocative, often beautiful prose and keen insights into family relationships, Monroe's latest is an exceptional and heartwarming work." -- Publishers Weekly starred review on The Beach House
"With novels like this one and The Book Club, Mary Alice Monroe continues to be one of the leaders . . ." -- Midwest Book Review on The Four Seasons --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
When family patriarch Preston Blakely suffers a crippling stroke, the family begins to divide over the devastating choices to be made for the land's future. Prodigal son, Morgan, returns from a long hiatus from the family to find his aunt and brother-in-law ready to sell Sweetgrass to a development company, for the family's good, of course.
Monroe guides the reader through the Blakely-family's struggle to survive illness, economic dilemmas, and the ever-growing pressure of urban sprawl. Each character faces the challenges of growth, and the story spans numerous facets without overwhelming the reader. This novel only seems lacking in some aspects of Morgan's story, which could have been flushed out with only a little more effort.
With her usual lush writing, Mary Alice Monroe delivers another emotional punch, while opening readers' eyes to very real issues.
Mary June is torn about her feelings about losing Sweetgrass. She has many happy memories about the land but there are also some tragedies that haunt her.
Preston, Mary Junes husband, is ill and is not able to fight for the land that has meant so much to him.
Nan, living in a marriage that has held her back is now beginning to see how much her family and legacy means to her.
Morgan, the long lost son, returned out of obligation to his family to help out but soon figures out that Sweetgrass is in his blood and he must fight to keep it.
Against them all is Hank, Nans husband and Adele, Prestons sister. They both are willing to do just about anything to get Sweetgrass for themselves to develop.
Mary Alice Monroe once again writes an uforgettable story set in the South Carolina Low Country that tells of love, forgiveness, and the strengh of a family.
If you are a fan of southern fiction, there are few authors who evoke the kind of love and effection for this very special land like Mary Alice Monroe does. Treat yourself to this book, or any of her other titles such as - Plantation or The Beach House and you will not be sorry.
The story of Sweetgrass, a typically Low Country estate that has been in the Blakely family for centuries, is rich and lush just like the land. But woven neatly within the chapters is another story: that of the women of the Low Country who have been making baskets from the native sweetgrass from time immemorial. Both their art and the grass that supplies it is threatened, and if the sweetgrass goes, so goes the timeless culture of this unique part of the country.
I admit to being a Low Country wannabe. I have never been there in person, so I read authors like Mary Alice Monroe and countless others who tell its story so well. But nobody is as impassioned as Monroe. Yes, the story of the family, the patriarch felled by a stroke, the prodigal son who comes home to heal both himself and his father, the matriarch hiding a painful secret, the embittered sister-in-law intent on selling the land to developers, all of that is a magnificently interesting tale.
But the story of the sweetgrass in danger is even more compelling, and made me want to take action--whatever I can do--to save it.
Sweetgrass tells the story of the Blakely family and their lives at their plantation aptly named Sweetgrass. Their lives are interwoven with the Bennett family who once worked as slaves on that plantation, then became employees and now are companions to the family they once served. This is also the story of the power of matriarchs, for while the story centers on prodigal son Morgan and his quest to keep the family land from the hands of developers the story really belongs to the women. Mama June, Nona, and Adele drive this story and it belongs to them. I found that the female characters were much more realized than the males. The one thing that bothered me was the constant reference to Mama June and Nona age 66 and 69 respectively as old, matronly or elderly while Adele, aged 66, is not described in such terms. Just me, but I found this bothersome.
The descriptions of sewing Sweetgrass baskets was a nice touch and for those of us fortunate enough to own and value these pieces of art they were like a breath of fresh air. Sweetgrass baskets are very real and every bit as beautiful and unique as described in the novel.
All in all, I heartily recommend this book to one and all.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved this book! Every time I read about CHARLESTON and the Low Country. I want To visit there. ThePublished 7 days ago by DawgGal
Easy reading, light uncomplicated romance. Enjoyable, but not up to Ms. Monroe's usual standards. I would read it again.Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
It was very enjoyable. The story moved well. Good character descriptions. Great plot.Published 21 days ago by Janet Jaffke
I am always amazed at how this author weaves stories together & includes so much of the history of the land she places the story in. I just love her writing!Published 1 month ago by OBX Mamma
Enjoyed this book a lot. Did not expect some of the twists. Every time I thought things were going one way, they turned on me!Published 1 month ago by Brenda B. Estes
Sweetgrass is an enchanting novel written about life in the low country. The characters are fully developed into people you'd like to know (with one exceptionally greedy family... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kindle Customer