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Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson

Between, Georgia by Joshilyn Jackson is a beautifully, vividly written novel coming soon to the Matthews Library. The author may sound familiar to you because I reviewed her most recent novel, The Girl Who Stopped Swimming, on this blog a few months ago. [Click on the title to go to that review!] I believe I also mentioned Between, Georgia in that review. That was back in May, and this past Labor day weekend, I did some major reading. I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and then started Between, Georgia Saturday afternoon. I stayed up until 1 a.m. to finish the book, which is something I rarely do, but everything was getting ready to go to hell in a hand basket (in the book) by bedtime that I couldn't put it down until I finished it. I then read a book called A Thousand Bones by P.J. Parrish on Sunday and Monday. That is also a wonderful book, and I am now getting ready to read the series by that author. Some people have picnics on federal holiday weekends; apparently I read straight through a three day weekend since I did the same thing Memorial day weekend.

Back to Between, Georgia. The novel is titled for the town that plays an integral part in the novel and the town is so named because it is half way between Athens and Atlanta, Georgia. Jackson likes strong, eccentric, vibrant female characters. There is usually a strong, overbearing, female character that the female protagonist is required to stand up to before everything can be resolved; the novel also takes place in the rural South. I was halfway through this novel before I picked up on these similarities with The Girl Who Stopped Swimming.

The novel details a modern day, fictional Hatfield and McCoy-like feud between two families in a tiny Georgia town. Though tensions simmered between the Crabtrees and the Fretts for years, the feud sparked to life when the Fretts stole a Crabtree baby and kept it secret for several years from the Crabtrees. This sounds melodramatic and evil, I know, but the story of how a Crabtree became a Frett is detailed in the first wild, thirty pages of the novel. The Crabtree matriarch is outraged when the secret is spilled because the Fretts 'stole her grandbaby out from under her.'

These are two wildly different families. The Crabtrees are your stereotypical 'white trash,' uneducated rednecks and certain members of the family are prone to rage and violence. The Fretts are considered the royalty of the town; they are educated and moneyed and are resented by the Crabtrees because of this and also because they are the products of a white father and a Native American mother and their success upsets 'the natural order of things' in the Crabtrees' view.

One fateful day the feud is ignited into an all out war. Before anyone knows how to stop it or realizes where it's headed, it whips off toward certain destruction, threatening to take down everyone and everything in its path--including everything the Fretts hold dear to them.

I highly recommend you check out this wonderful novel the next time you visit the library! It will be shelved in upstairs in Adult Fiction when it arrives.

-reviewed by Ms. Angie


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