The Sweet Taste of Muscadines by Pamela Terry

One of my first book reviews for 2021 is a doozy! I absolutely loved every part of this debut novel by Pamela Terry. We all seek solace amid disappointment, bad news, and especially death. For the Bruce family, that place of comfort was within the blanketing Muscadine vines.

When Abigail tripped her mother and she fell and hit her head in the pool, her sister Lila took refuge in the Muscadine arbor. Then when their father was killed in the Vietnam War, Lila and her brother Henry sought relief amongst the Muscadines. It was cool there; out of the sun where the growth allowed a small tunnel big enough for children to hide.

But now, decades later, their mother was dead. Abby found her on that hot day with a spoon in her hand, headfirst in the Muscadine arbor. The children are grown now. Lila has married an older widowed professor and moved to Maine. She is a weaver and owns a design studio. Henry lives with his partner in Rhode Island, where he owns an art gallery. Both are successful. However, Abby never left home. She stayed and became her mother’s best friend. Or was she? The family is not close, but the sudden death of Geneva Bruce is a shock to them all.

In the south, a funeral is an event. Especially if your father was a pastor. The church service, the service at the graveyard, and the mountain of food cooked by the ladies of the church that followed at the house of the deceased. So why would a southern woman like Geneva Bruce specifically state she was to be cremated and there was to be no funeral service? What secrets and guilt has she taken to her grave?

I was blown away by the writing in this novel. The words fly off the page to tell a story that has many twists and turns and surprises. But the writing is fabulous. The descriptions and phrases are unique. The storyline is captivating. The human interest story is current. And among the characters, the forgiveness is monumental. I hope you enjoy the novel and I look forward to the next one by Pamela Terry.

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