The Sweet Taste of Muscadines
Thank you to Ballantine Books and Random House for the gifted copy of The Sweet Taste of Muscadines!
“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 more 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.”
Pub Date: 3.15.21
Star Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆
I often find it difficult to craft a review of a book where the author wrote with such incredible lyricism, as I know that there is no way I can do their work justice. From page one of Sweet Taste of Muscadines, I was transported into the vivid world that Pamela Terry painted her readers. I hung on every word that she used to describe the most mundane of objects or the way that she drifted between past and present so effortless. I honestly felt like this entire book was a work of art.
Being from the South, I have often felt that I live in a world that is a true paradox and Terry perfectly described my feelings about the matter on more than one occasion. One of my favorite lines of the book appeared early on and it’s one that I know will stick with me.
“Growing up in the South is not for the faint of heart. An enigmatic place at the best of times, it is paradoxical to its core… It is a land where heart-stopping beauty and heartrending ugliness flourish in tandem, a land of kindness and hate, of ignorance and wit, of integrity, blindness, and pride.”
I fell into this story and was completely immersed in the characters as they navigated through a life that they discovered was full of a string of lies leading to one big lie that they never saw coming.
One of the pieces of this book that I loved most was that the main characters weren’t in their 20’s. Lila and Henry had sailed through their 20’s and secured their lives in their 30’s and were happily resting somewhere in the middle. I often get tired of books that feature a young character finding themselves as I am left thinking ‘I guess once you hit 30, that all the fun is over and there’s no more adventure to have’. I cherish the authors who write about characters who are paving new ways in their lives while in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, and so on. No matter our age, it’s never too late to start fresh and create a fulfilling life. Our lives don’t simply end when we hit 3-0. So, I applaud Pamela Terry for being real and writing about characters that I would want to be friends with in real life.
I also found that there were several important lessons on grief nestled within the pages of this story that seemed poignant for my current life.
“It’s just easier, I suppose, to be angry over who got the gooseneck rocker when Aunt Jo died than it is to admit you’re scared because you don’t know why Aunt Jo had to die in the first place.”
But, above all else, I loved the way that the author solidified that love is love. No person, church, or place can change who someone is and who someone loves. The Sweet Taste of Muscadines was a heartrending look at how far we have come but, also, have far we have left to go.
There are some triggers that I would like to bring to your attention: the death of a parent, suicide, and cancer. If you have any questions or concerns regarding these topics. Please, message me so we can chat!