I admit, I bought this book for its absolutely gorgeous cover. Little did I know, there was a heartfelt family saga inside, just waiting to be read.
There have only been a few books I've read over the last couple of years that had such great characters with integrity and reality. I loved "meeting" each one of them, and I will carry them with me long after I lend this book to a friend.
The illness that befell Preston was very sad, but it lent such warmth and hope to the story. Morgan was a story within himself, as was Mary June. The novel reveals that although families aren't perfect, family members are the reeds that are lives woven together like one, great, big, wonderful sweetgrass basket. My face got all wet with tears while reading this one, so if you're the least bit tenderhearted, make sure you have something to mop your face with if you read this novel! :)
Mary Alice Monroe has the seetest way of writing about the South - this story takes place in South Carolina.
It is about a family that has made sweet baskets for years. It gives great insite to living in the low country and how important family is.
I think this is on of my favorite my Mary Alice Monroe and is a definate read-again type book.
I so love stories about Low Country life. This story tells about love of a men who worship their wives, a friendship thT has rendered, and folk finding peace in a changing world. Such a wonderful tale.
Just finished this delightful book about Low Country and learned so much about basket-making and family relationships.
Monroe is an excellent story teller,very similar to another of my favorite Southern authors,Dorothea Benton Frank.I am already looking for more books by this author.Love the Charleston area and good books about this beautiful part of our Country.
LOVED this book! Such wonderful characters! They will all live within my heart for a long time! It's the story of a family and all the trials and tribulations that this particular family endured. Very well written, it's a great tale set in the Lowcountry of South Carolina. I admire Mary Alice Monroe's ability to create heartwarming romantic stories. She is an excellent writer. Once I got into this book, I could not put it down. I hated to see it end, but I have another book written by Ms. Monroe just waiting to be read!
As this family struggles to keep their land and face a health crisis, they must pull together. Past secrets are revealed and each person must work through some difficult feelings in order to move forward. Ending was a little different than I expected, but good. A great book.
Sweetgrass is a historical tract of land in South Carolina that has been home to the Blakely faily for eight generations. But Sweetgrass--named for the indigenous grass that grows in the area--is in trouble. Bulldozers are leveling surrounding properties. And the Blakelys could be forced to sell the one thing that continues to hold their disintegrating family together. For some of the Blakelys, the prospect of selling Sweetgrass is bittersweet--for others, it is completly unimaginable. But as they find the strength to stay and fight, they realize that their bond as a family is all they need to stay together.
Sweetgrass is an historical tract of land that the Blakely family has called home for the past eight generations. But Sweetgrass - so named for the indigenous grass that grows in the area - is in trouble. Bulldozers are leveling the surrounding properties, and the Blakelys may be forced to sell the only thing that continues to hold their disintegrating family together. For some of Blakelys, the prospect of selling Sweetgrass is bittersweet - for others, it is completely unimaginable. But as the family finds the strength to stay and fight for their home, they slowly begin to realize that their bond as a family is truly all they need to stay together.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The story captured my attention from the very first page, drew me in and held me until the very end. I give this book a definite A+! and have already placed several of Ms. Monroe's other books on my Wish List.
Sweetgrass is a historical tract of land in South Carolina that has been home to the Blakely family for eight generations. But Sweetgrass---named for the indigenous grass that grows in the area---is in trouble. Bulldozers are leveling surrounding properties. And the Blakelys could be forced to sell the one thing that continues to hold their disintegrating family together. For some of the Blakels, the propect of selling Sweetgrass is bittersweet---for others, it is completely unimaginable. But as they find the strength to stay and fight, they realize that their bond as a family is all they need to stay together.
For eight generations, the Blakely family has owned SWEETWATER plantation on coastal South Carolina, but now the 300 acres that are left of what was once 1300 acres is in jeopardy of being lost. The patriarch Morgan fears he failed with property taxes intended to drive people off the land so developers could buy it cheap. His love of the land drove his oldest son Morgan to Montana. However, during a fight with his wife Mama June, Morgan suffers a stroke.
Montana comes home to help his beloved Mama June. He visits his dad in the hospital to see an elderly ailing man. Though Morgan's wealthy sister and his son-law Hank push to sell the land, Mama June says no that she will wait until her spouse tells her what he wants her to do. Montana promises to help her. So does former housekeeper Nona Bennett, who hopes to pass on the three century tradition of making baskets out of the local sweetgrass.
This is an entertaining family drama centering on the hope for the future when the present looks at its darkest and lies in forgiving the past so that the family can cohesively and caringly come together. The ensemble cast consists of several individuals who enable the audience to observe differing attitudes and motives especially between the two prime generations. Though lacking action, fans of a complex multi character study will appreciate Mary Alice Monroe's powerful look at what drives each member of the SWEETWATER extended crowd.
My mother & I really enjoyed this book. This is the story of a family with an 8-generation history in South Carolina. The basic plot of the story is the fight to keep their land out of developer's hands. There is good character development, nice conflict and, of course, good resolution!
If you are a fan of Southern literature, this is good book for you!
Sweetgrass is a historical tract of land in South Carolina that has been home to the Blakely family for eight generations. But Sweetgrass - named for the indigenous grass that grows in the area - is in trouble. Bulldozers are leveling surrounding properties. And the Blakelys could be forced to sell the one thing that continues to hold their disintegrating family together. For some of the Blakelys, the prospect of selling Sweetgrass is bittersweet - for others, it is completely unimaginable. But as they find the strength to stay and fight, they realize that their bond as a family is all they need to stay together.
Since I am a Southern gal, this book caught me with the first paragraph. "March is a moody time of year in the Lowcountry. On any given day, seemingly by whim, the weather is balmy and sweet-smelling and can lure reluctant smiles from the hopeful who dream of cool, tart drinks on steamy afternoons, creamy white magnolia blossoms and scented offshore breezes." Sweetgrass is the name of the family home in this story but the name came from the reedy grass that grows between the marshes and the ocean. These reeds are used to create baskets that are sold all over the area around Charleston, SC. Even though I've lived in the Carolinas all my life, the book opened my eyes to the frailty of the environment in which these treasures exist. I recommend this book to everyone.
Sweetgrass, owned by the Blakely family for generations, is a former plantation. But progress and urbanization now threatens the Carolina Lowlands, and Sweetgrass is one of the few remaining marshy areas along the Eastern Seaboard.
When family patriarch Preston Blakely suffers a crippling stroke, the family struggles with the devastating choices to be made for the land's future. Prodigal son, Morgan, returns home after being away for years, and finds his aunt and brother-in-law ready to sell Sweetgrass to a development company.
Monroe guides the reader through the Blakely-family's struggle to survive illness, economic dilemmas, and the ever-growing pressure of urban sprawl.
The descriptions in this book are so real one can imagine being there.
A wonderful character study into what makes a strong family stronger. A great summer read!
Read this for a "Sweet" theme in my online book club, The Reading Cove. What a deliciously textured Lowcountry family saga! I really enjoyed this story. It's really Mary June Blakely's story, and character study, only richly layered with the family history, relationships and fight to hold on to their heritage.
I loved her relationship with Nona and her family and the details of their complex history. Loved learning about the preservation of coastal land space, the weaving of the sweetgrass baskets and how important a livelihood it is. Brilliantly told story!
Though I did feel it became just a tad long-winded by the end (could've been about 50 pages shorter), I was swept up by the setting, people, struggles, etc. of the story and truly savored it at times.
I enjoyed this recording very much. Good guys and villains. Set in South Carolina, with a history of the Sweetgrass baskets included, this is a story of how memories can not just hurt, but lead to redemption. Moves right along. The characters are well drawn, and evoke your sympathy or antipathy. Mary Alice Monroe is an excellent writer of the "low-country" scene and culture.