Title: Gone South
Author: Meg Moseley
Publisher: WaterBrook Multnomah
The charm of the South drew her back to her family’s roots. But when the town’s old resentments turn the sweet tea bitter, can Tish find a welcome anywhere?
Leaving frosty Michigan for the Deep South was never a blip in the simple plans Tish McComb imagined for her life, dreams of marriage and family that were dashed five years earlier in a tragic accident. Now an opportunity to buy her great-great-great-grandparents’ Civil War era home beckons Tish to Noble, Alabama, a Southern town in every sense of the word. She wonders if God has given her a new dream— the old house filled with friends, her vintage percolator bubbling on the sideboard.
When Tish discovers that McCombs aren’t welcome in town, she feels like a Yankee behind enemy lines. Only local antiques dealer George Zorbas seems willing to give her a chance. What’s a lonely outcast to do but take in Noble’s resident prodigal, Melanie Hamilton, and hope that the two can find some much needed acceptance in each other.
Problem is, old habits die hard, and Mel is quite set in her destructive ways. With Melanie blocked from going home, Tish must try to manage her incorrigible houseguest as she attempts to prove her own worth in a town that seems to have forgotten that every sinner needs God-given mercy, love and forgiveness.
Tish McComb grew up in Michigan, but her ancestors have ties to Noble, Alabama. Proud of her McComb heritage, she’s thrilled when the house her ancestors built comes up for sale at an affordable price. After all, what could be better than a McComb owning the McComb house once more? It doesn’t take Tish long to realize that not every Yankee is welcome in the south, and that not everyone remembers what happened in the good ol’ days of yesteryear the same way. Add in the town outcast, a local antique dealer, and a tiny dog that can’t seem to remember where home is, and you have a fast-paced story filled with long memories and small town drama.
Gone South is a wonderful blend of Yankee straightforwardness and southern charm, while not shying away from some of the less pleasant parts of small town life. Judgmental attitudes threaten relationships and hurt more than they help. Stories from the bleak days after the end of the Civil War may not be as accurate as everyone believes. Rumors spread like wildfire and taint possible relationships before they even begin.
Yet Ms. Moseley managed to weave a thread of hope throughout even the darkest parts of the book, keeping up the cheerful outlook Tish brings to the story. On the rare occasions Tish’s optimism slips, someone else is right there to pick it up. George, in particular, complements Tish nicely. When one is feeling pessimistic, the other offers a reason to hope. The balance between them is handled beautifully, but there are enough bumps in the road to make the friendship believable. Mel has a humongous chip on her shoulder, but not without good reason. As she tries to find her place in the world, it becomes clear that this young woman has endured a lot in her life. The challenges she faces are realistically portrayed, which adds to the depth and drama of the story.
If you love books with small town settings and plenty of drama to keep you turning the pages, I recommend Gone South.