Saturday, December 11, 2021

Book Review: The Sweet Taste of Muscadines, by Pamela Terry

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

On the long polished dresser sat two framed photographs. One was of a laughing Aunt Jo taken on a snowy day in the mountains when she was young, and the other was of my father. It was a picture I had never seen, and the resemblance to Henry was stunning. Daddy must have been in his thirties. He was sitting on a low stone wall, his hair as black as a crow’s wing in the sunshine, and he was smiling up at the photographer with an unabashed joy. The land behind him was foreign to my eyes, certainly unlike anything in the vicinity of Wesleyan, and it fell away sharply to a faint silver line of sea. Behind him I could make out a corrugation of mountains rising up like the shadows of unimaginable things. I turned the frame over and gently pried my thumbnail under the metal stays that held the photo in place. Carefully I removed the cardboard backing. The underside of the picture bore the handwritten words “Scotland, 1969.”

What if the past you’d built your future on wasn’t really your true past? Lila is on a quest to find out what her true past was, and whether it’s meant to stay in the past.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: The Sweet Taste of Muscadines, by Pamela Terry
Lila Bruce Breedlove never quite felt at home in Wesleyan, Georgia, especially after her father’s untimely demise when she was a child. Both Lila and her brother, Henry, fled north after high school, establishing fulfilling lives of their own. In contrast, their younger sister, Abigail, opted to remain behind to dote on their domineering, larger-than-life mother, Geneva. Yet despite their independence, Lila and Henry know deep down that they’ve never quite reckoned with their upbringing.

When their elderly mother dies suddenly and suspiciously in the muscadine arbor behind the family estate, Lila and Henry return to the town that essentially raised them. But as they uncover the facts about Geneva’s death, shocking truths are revealed that overturn the family’s history as they know it, sending the pair on an extraordinary journey to chase a truth that will dramatically alter the course of their lives. The Sweet Taste of Muscadines reminds us all that true love never dies.

What a beautiful family drama! Every time that the "drama" attempted to overpower the ‘family,’ Lila’s brother Henry was quick to step in and help her find forgiveness for all the slights she’d experienced at the hands of her parents or sister. No member of their family was ever really trying to be hurtful; everyone was just trying to get by.

This book was really all about the characters: stable, predictable Lila; even-keeled, caring Henry; and mama’s favorite, Abby. They’re learning their place in the world all over again. Their father died when they were almost too young to remember, and their overbearing mother has been calling all the shots since then. When their mother dies, they suddenly unearth (literally) pretty serious secrets about what they thought was their past. A visit to charming Uncle Audie helps set them on the path to uncover all the secrets that have been kept for way too long.

My favorite parts of this book are the mystery character, who turns up far from their original home. The idea of escaping and starting a whole new life is tempting to everyone at some point, right? I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for those who enjoy contemporary family dramas. 

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a Gemini who hopes to make more time in the new year for counted cross-stitch and papercrafts. See a few pictures of how she spends her time on Instagram where she posts as PoshBecki.

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