ROMANCING THE SOUTH

ALLE WELLS IS HERE TODAY WITH ANOTHER SOUTHERN SUNDAY…and this time she is discussing one of our favorite subjects – books!  I’m honored to be part of her story, but no, I did not put her up to this – Alle writes her column independently – I choose neither the subject matter nor the the content, so with that said, read on and enjoy…

ROMANCING THE SOUTH by Alle Wells

Southern characters have been romancing us for over a hundred years. We fell in love with Scarlet’s wickedness in “Gone With The Wind”.  We admired Atticus’s integrity in “To Kill A Mockingbird”, and Ipsy’s eccentricity in “Fried Green Tomatoes At The Whistle Stop Cafe”. With today’s growing number of talented authors, readers have the opportunity to fall in love with an array of new southern heroes. I’d like to share my newest southern favorites with you.

First, I must tell you about how I found my destiny through a wonderful book written by my friend, Bette Lee Crosby. In “The Twelfth Child”, a lovely young woman named Destiny Fairchild befriends the main character in the book, Abigail Lannigan. Destiny breathes life and joy into Abigail’s lonely existence during the last years of her life. Unlike Abigail’s relatives who want the inheritance from the family farm, Destiny expects for nothing in return for their time together. This sweet story was so inspiring that, after reading it, I struck up a new friendship with my elderly next door neighbor. I cherish this wonderful relationship that may have never developed, had I not read “The Twelfth Child”.

My next newest hero is Gabriella Winter in “The Girl Who Swam To Atlantis” by Elle Thornton.  Set in the 1950s, Gabriella seeks to win her father’s approval, survives a school girl crush, struggles with social injustice, and deals with her mother’s mental illness with bravery and intuitiveness. Vivid imagery takes me back home to the banks of the tea colored river that runs through my hometown in eastern North Carolina. This beautiful story is full of delightful prose and full of heart.

My third favorite is a selection from “Southern Fried Women” by Pam Cable.  As a Southern fiction fan, I love sinking my teeth into characters like “Vernell Paskins, Mobile Home Queen”. Vernell is looking for something that will make a difference in her life. At the end of her rope, Vernell has one last shot. She believes in miracles. The stories from “Southern Fried Women” represent the invisible people who pass through our lives. As an author, Pam bravely captures the heart of southern life rarely observed.

Finally, I must take a moment to present my very own, Mick MacDonald. Railroad Man encapsulates a fifty-year lifespan in a quick and satisfying read. The historical descriptions are so clear that the reader hears the steam engine whistles of the past and walks the early twentieth century streets of Atlanta and hidden trails of Alabama farmlands. This is the story of one man’s life, his love, his success, and his sorrow. His strengths and weaknesses cross the boundaries of time and reach into our hearts, because everyone knows the Railroad Man. Yes, I still love my “Railroad Man”!

I love southern characters that romance their way into my heart and stay there long after the book is read. Southern authors woo me with country charm and embed memories of the Deep South into my head. In the end, there’s nothing better than a good southern story!

Thanks for joining me for another Southern Sunday.

About the author

Bette Lee Crosby

USA Today Bestselling and Award-winning novelist Bette Lee Crosby's books are "Well-crafted storytelling populated by memorable characters caught up in equally memorable circumstances." - Midwest Book Review The Seattle Post Intelligencer says Crosby's writing is, "A quirky mix of Southern flair, serious thoughts about important things in life and madcap adventures." Samantha from Reader's Favorite raves, "Crosby writes the type of book you can't stop thinking about long after you put it down." "Storytelling is in my blood," Crosby laughingly admits, "My mom was not a writer, but she was a captivating storyteller, so I find myself using bits and pieces of her voice in most everything I write." It is the wit and wisdom of that Southern Mama Crosby brings to her works of fiction; the result is a delightful blend of humor, mystery and romance along with a cast of quirky charters who will steal your heart away. Her work was first recognized in 2006 when she received The National League of American Pen Women Award for a then unpublished manuscript. She has since gone on to win nineteen awards for her work; these include: TheRoyal Palm Literary Award, the FPA President's Book Award Gold Medal, Reader's Favorite Award Gold Medal, and the Reviewer's Choice Award.

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