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Review: Gone South by Meg Moseley

Gone South by Meg MoseleyMeg Moseley, whose 2011 debut novel When Sparrows Fall I highly recommend (and reviewed here), has recently published her second novel, Gone South (May 17, 2013, WaterBrook Multnomah). In this tale of southern hospitality gone wrong, a Yankee transplant finds that grudges run deep in seemingly idyllic small-town Alabama.

Summary: Tish McComb thought she knew what her life would look like–marriage and a family in her beloved Michigan. But those dreams were dashed in a tragic accident five years ago, and now the chance to buy her great-great-grandparent’s Civil War-era home in Noble, Alabama seems like the fresh start she needs. But her plans go awry when she discovers that she’s inherited the town’s ill will due to some ancient family history she knew nothing about. Only George Zorbas, the owner of the local antiques store, and Melanie Hamilton, the town’s resident young prodigal, seem willing to give her a chance. As Tish tentatively opens her heart to George and tries to prove herself to the town’s residents, she learns that those who decide to love prodigals have to be willing to get their lives a little messy.

My Review: 4 out of 5 stars. While I wasn’t as immediately captured by the subject matter or characters in this book as I was with the author’s first novel, they grew on me as the book went on. As silly as this sounds, the names “Tish” and “George” aren’t my favorite, so I think that was part of why it took me a bit longer to get inside the characters’ heads and root for their understated, slow-build romance, which takes more of a backseat to Tish’s relationship with her rebellious young housemate, Melanie. The flow of the book was also different from your typical inspirational novel, but once I got into the story that became part of what made the book unique. If you don’t connect immediately with this book, I’d say keep on reading.

My favorite part of the novel was the way that the themes of second chances, mercy, and forgiveness–echoed in the physical world as Tish sets up her 150-year-old home and George indulges his passion for restoring classic cars in the old carriage house on her property–came together towards the end of the story. Tish, who has put so much energy into restoring her reputation in the town and building the fragile beginnings of a relationship with George, has to decide whether to put it all on the line by getting entangled with the fallout of her young friend Melanie’s poor choices. By the potluck dinner in the last scene, Tish has come to be comfortable with the messiness of life lived with others: “Stu’s boys were second and third in line, taking their plates with hands that weren’t exactly clean. That was all right. Kids got dirty. So did prodigals. Sometimes, so did the people who loved them.”

A good summer read by a unique and promising author. Especially recommended for fans of southern romances and inspirational fiction.

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I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah for the purposes of this honest review. Love to read? Have a blog? Become a Blogging for Books reviewer.

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Posted by on July 30, 2013 in Fiction

 

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Review: When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley

Freedom. Safety. Love. Miranda vows to reclaim them–for herself, and for her children.
 
From the Publisher:  A widow and mother of six, Miranda Hanford leads a quiet, private life. When the pastor of her close-knit church announces his plans to move the entire congregation to another state, Miranda jumps at the opportunity to dissolve ties with Mason Chandler and his controlling method of ruling his flock. But then Mason threatens to unearth secrets from her past, and Miranda feels trapped, terrified she’ll be unable to protect her children.

College professor Jack Hanford is more than surprised when he gets a call from his estranged sister-in-law’s oldest son, Timothy, informing him that Miranda has taken a serious fall and he has been named legal guardian of her children while she recovers. Quickly charmed by Miranda’s children, Jack brings some much-needed life into the sheltered household. But his constant challenging of the family’s conservative lifestyle makes the recovering mother uneasy and defensive—despite Jack’s unnerving appeal.

As Jack tries to make sense of the mysterious Miranda and the secrets she holds so tightly, Mason’s pressure on her increases. With her emotions stirring and freedom calling, can Miranda find a way to unshackle her family without losing everything?

My Review:  Meg Moseley’s debut novel is a beautiful success!  The characters pull you in from the beginning, especially the children.  As a homeschooling herself mother for over 20 years, Moseley manages to deal with the controversial subject matter of extremely conservative, patriarchal sects without making her characters seem like stereotypes.  Miranda struggles with fear, guilt and how to best protect her children against both a spiritually abusive, overbearing pastor and the truckload of changes her well-intentioned brother-in-law wants to introduce into their  lifestyle.  The story is haunting, the characters beautifully developed and the rolling Georgian mountains so real you can almost feel the mist. The theme is freedom, both from other’s chains and those we put on ourselves. 5 stars!

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Posted by on June 2, 2011 in Fiction

 

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