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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Southern Family Secrets Novel Engrossing, Compelling

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When you come from a line of strong women who've been scandalizing your small Mississippi town for the last 45 years, your reputation is pretty much doomed from the start.  It doesn't matter that 15-year-old Mosey earns stellar grades and stays away from boys.  She's a Slocumb, which means she'll end up barefoot and pregnant before she has a chance to graduate high school.  Just like her mother, just like her grandmother.  No one expects anything less.  Except Mosey, who refuses to follow the future-less path fate has laid out before her.

Still, everyone knows big trouble comes calling for the Slocumb women every fifteen years.  This year is no exception.  While digging a swimming pool on their property, a worker unearths a rusted treasure box with a tiny skeleton inside.  Mosey's as shocked by the discovery as her grandmother is, but the revelation causes Mosey's mother to utter the first intelligible word she's said since her recent stroke—mine.  Struggling to make sense of that startling proclamation, Mosey begs her grandmother for answers.  Ginny "Big" Slocumb doesn't have them—at least not all of them—but she'll die before she lets the scandal destroy her family.  Big will do anything, risk everything, to protect Mosey and her stroke-ravaged mother.  Even if it means covering up a shocking secret from the past.  

I love me a lush multi-generational novel brimming with family secrets and Southern charm.  I've recently discovered Joshilyn Jackson, whose novels deliver just that.  Although I didn't enjoy A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty nearly as much as The Almost Sisters, I still found it engrossing.  Centered around three headstrong, intriguing women, the story pulled me in and made me care about what happened to this dysfunctional, yet devoted family.  The mystery at its core kept the novel interesting, even if the Big Reveal didn't feel all that surprising.  While A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty definitely gets sad and depressing—way more so than you'd expect judging by the book's light, frothy cover—it's a compelling read that kept me turning pages.  It's not my favorite Jackson novel, but overall I enjoyed it.  

(Readalikes:  The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson.  Also reminds me of novels by Anne Rivers Siddons and Karen White, although White's books are gentler—more in the PG-13 range—but with less personality than those by Jackson and Siddons.)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, sexual content, violence, and depictions of illegal drug use

To the FTC, with love:  I bought a copy of A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty with a portion of the millions I make from my lucrative career as a book blogger.  Ha ha.


  1. I LOVE a book with family secrets. So much drama to read about, it's wonderful! This sounds like a great book to liven up a weekend. Great review!

  2. Well, I’m definitely judging this book by its beautiful cover! I can almost guess what the big reveal is but I’d still read it. It sounds delightfully engrossing.

  3. There's something kind of magical about Southern Fiction. I'm glad to know about this author; her books sound like ones I'd like, too. :)

  4. I keep meaning to read a book by this author, but just never have. I remember this one. Many loved it. Doesn't she do her own narrative on audio? I think so.

  5. I love Joshilyn Jackson's books, too! I adore anything southern. I picked up The Almost Sisters just a few days ago from the library. :-)

  6. I've read lots of reviews of Jackson's books although I've not read any yet. I think I'll start with The Almost Sisters if I get the urge to read her work.

  7. The premise of this novel sounds good and you're right, a multi-generational story is always a good one.

  8. I really like multi-generational books too. I might have to look into this author. :)


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