The Peach Keeper – If you loved a book
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather and once the finest home in Walls of Water, North Carolina—has stood for years as a monument to misfortune and scandal. Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite Paxton Osgood—has restored the house to its former glory, with plans to turn it into a top-flight inn. But when a skeleton is found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, long-kept secrets come to light, accompanied by a spate of strange occurrences throughout the town. Thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the passions and betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover the truths that have transcended time to touch the hearts of the living.
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She put a penny on her windowsill and cracked the window, because her grandmother once said that ghosts often forget they’re ghosts and will go after money, but if they get close enough to an open window, the night air will suck them out.
–Chapter Eight, The Peach Keeper
The original title of The Peach Keeper was God Eats Peaches, which I took from the old saying, “When God eats peaches, He saves the pit.” I had a cousin who would never throw away a peach pit based on that saying. She thought it was bad luck. My family is full of strange Southern superstitions. My great-aunt never liked for company to come in through one door and leave through another because she said that meant the preacher would visit.
How many of us grew up seeing our mothers throw a pinch of salt over their shoulders when salt was spilled? How many of us remember when our grandmothers whispered that a bird tapping on a window meant someone was going to die? We took these things on trembling faith as children, believing them to be real because everything was real back then. Everything had possibilities. So how do we explain, with our skeptical grown-up natures, why we still make an X in the air when a black cat passes. Why we still have to eat something in the morning before we will tell someone about our bad dreams. Why we still worry about umbrellas being opened indoors.
What is it about superstitions that stay with us, that encourage us to pass them on? Flights of fancy, maybe. Or nostalgia. Or maybe the power of the unknown is just that strong. We can’t help but think: What if it’s true? What if it just might be true? So we take an ounce of prevention instead of a pound of cure. We knock on wood and avoid ladders and never break mirrors. Just in case.
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