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March 15, 2021

The Sweet Taste of Muscadines by Pamela Terry ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Growing up in the south is not for the faint of heart.  An enigmatic place at the best of times, it is paradoxical to the core.  Finding your way through the various switchbacks and roundabouts that make up the overgrown maze of its personality can be a bewildering experience and one that often takes a lifetime, at least.  Just when you think you have it solidly in your sights, it slips around a corner, leaving only the faint fragrance of a fading magnolia hanging in the muggy air...It's a land where heart-stopping beauty and heart rendering ugliness flourish in tandem, a land of kindness and hate,  of ignorance and wit, of integrity, blindness and pride." (loc 231)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

The Sweet Taste of Muscadines
March 2021; Ballantine Books;978-0593158456
audio, ebook, print (304 pages); southern fiction
The Sweet Taste of Muscadines
is one of those rare books that you want to read fast to find out how it ends but you also want to read it very slowly so that you don't miss any of the beautiful writing.  Believe me when I say that the writing is exquisite.  Not only are the characters well written and believable but the scenery is so well described that you feel like you are there -- sweating in the sun in the south and cold on the windswept island in Scotland.  This book was my last read of 2020 and will be on my top 12 books of the year (out of the 215 books that I read.)

Lila, her brother Henry and her sister Abigail grew up in Wesleyan, Georgia with their mother.  Their beloved father died when they were very young and they were raised by an often-disapproving mother.  Both Lila and Henry left home as soon as possible while Abigail stayed home and lived a life as a best friend to her mother.  Lila moved to a remote island in Maine and Henry to NYC.  When they receive a call from Abigail that their mother had died, they both reluctantly return home.  When they find out more about her death and that she died in the muscadine arbor with a digging spoon in her hand, they work to find out answers to the questions around her death.  The more they find out, the more confused they become until their search threatens to destroy the foundation that their childhood was built on.  As their search takes them to Scotland, they re-discover the importance of love, family, and forgiveness.

"Maybe home is more something you carry inside you than the ground on which you stand."

I read The Sweet Taste of Muscadines on Kindle but have a hard copy book on order.  I need to read it again and underline all of the beautifully written phrases.  The writing was so beautiful that a lot of the book will end up highlighted.  Southern fiction is one of my favorite genres and this book is Southern fiction at its best. This was a debut for Pamela Terry and I can't wait to see what she writes next.

Note:  In case you don't live in the South, muscadines are a grapevine species native to the southeastern and south-central United States. 

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. Since her travel plans had to be canceled for this year, she is starting to make plans for travel in 2021. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter.

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