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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Things Left Unspoken...Review

About the book:
Jo-Lynn Hunter is at a crossroads in life when her great-aunt Stella insists that she return home to restore the old family house in sleepy Cottonwood, Georgia. Seeing the project as the perfect excuse for some therapeutic time away from her self-absorbed husband and his snobby Atlanta friends, Jo-Lynn longs to get her teeth into a noteworthy and satisfying project. But things are not what they seem, both in the house and within the complex history of her family. Was her great-grandfather the pillar of the community she thought he was? What is Aunt Stella hiding? And will Jo-Lynn's marriage survive the renovation? Jo-Lynn isn't sure she wants to know the truth--but sometimes the truth has a way of making itself known. The past comes alive in this well-written and thoughtful novel full of secrets, drama, and family with a hint of Southern drawl.

A lovely story about family relationships.

At odds with her husband and needing a break from work and her life, Jo-Lynn Hunter returns to her family's roots in Cottonwood, Georgia. After her great-uncle's death, her great-aunt Stella asks for Jo-Lynn's help in restoring the family home. As Jo-Lynn begins renovating the old house, she uncovers secrets hidden within its walls and within her own family. As she learns more about her family, she learns about herself and what is really important.

The story alternates chapters with a first-person narrative from Jo-Lynn and flashbacks to her great-aunt Stella's past. The plot was a bit implausible to me: the idea of financiers coming in and buying up a town in order to restore it seemed a bit forced, as well as the hoodlums trying to dissuade Jo-Lynn from restoring the house. But, then again, my experience with dying small towns is extremely limited. Still, I found the story compelling and light on the Christian without being preachy.

Eva Marie Everson captures the essence of the small-town south perfectly: the tight-knit communities complete with weekly church suppers, family roots going back for generations, and the hidden prejudices that haven't completely died out.

An easy, interesting read.

Thanks to Donna Hausler at Baker Publishing Group for the opportunity to review this book. You can learn more about Eva Marie Everson here. You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 8/09

* * *
3/5 Stars


  1. I do love books taking place in Gerogia. This one sure has a pretty cover as well.

  2. The cover of the book is really tempting.I think it would be a good read.You know like "Fried Green Tomatoes" the movie?nice sunday afternoon movie but it still had its tense moments? is it like that? I think I am going to put it on my tbr list.

  3. I have a weakness for Southern novels. Thanks for the heads up about this one. :-)


  4. As the author, I'd like to thank you for reading the book and reviewing it. The storyline is based on a true story. The dying town my great-great grandparents helped establish was being "bought" for the purpose of restoration and to draw young people back to "the suburbs." But, something went wrong; while some of the town was restored, work suddenly stopped and the rest of the town continued to decay. The idea for the book -- its germ -- was when I asked the question, "What if they had continued ... what might have been discovered?" My great-grandparents beautiful home had some work done on it and was then that work was abandoned. It breaks my heart because, had we known, we would have kept the ownership of the house within the family. My mother always says, "I wish you could have seen it 'in its day.'" I only remember the way Aunt Della kept it ... which was by dusting and cleaning as little as possible! :) While writing the story, I never dreamed the "thugs" would emerge until I started talking to "old timers" who shared some things about Southern life "back in the day" and how people still don't like those issues brought up. Best keep your mouth shut. Oddly enough, while I was at a book club in the South recently, the mention of some of those secrets brought about bristling, a reminder that I had tread on a very delicate subject ... a hornet's nest best not disturbed. (Ahem ... but I already had! :) )

    Well, that is a little background on the idea and the history of the South I tapped into for this novel. So far, all fan emails have given me "thumbs up," which I loved reading, obviously. I've even received a couple of "I've already read it twice ..."

    Really? :)
    Cool ...

    Eva Marie Everson
    Things Left Unspoken