Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Summer in the South

This is on the top of my reading list the moment I read that the story is based out of my hometown!

And if y'all walk away knowing anything about me I have a deep love for my hometown.

Deep. Love.

Here is a letter from the Author and so worth the read behind how she came to write Summer in the South:

Almost twenty years ago, I went with my good friend Randal to visit her great-aunt Fanny in the sleepy little town of Franklin, Tennessee. Or at least it was sleepy then, before the country stars of Nashville discovered it. Randal, it seemed, was from a very old, prominent Southern family and Great-Aunt Fanny’s home was a suitably impressive mansion standing on a street of equally impressive old homes a few blocks from the town square.

(y'all I spent my teen years hanging out in the back of pick-up trucks after work and school at the Franklin Square- oh the memories! - sGs)

Fanny was a lovely woman, intelligent, lively, and much younger-looking than her seventy-some-years would indicate. There were photographs of her everywhere, dressed in riding clothes for a fox hunt, standing beside a camel in the Egyptian desert, drinking cocktails on the Riviera. Standing at her side in all the photos was her large, florid-faced husband who had died some years back. The sprawling house was filled with antique silver and furniture, oil paintings of long-dead ancestors, and priceless historical artifacts, including a framed letter from Thomas Jefferson written to one of Fanny’s ancestors.
As a lover of history, I was fascinated by the house and the family. I was also fascinated by Fanny’s circle of friends, an equally lively group of women who had been educated at Vanderbilt in the twenties and who still clung to the time-honored tradition of cocktail hour. These women spoke in a deep, cultured accent so often attempted, and yet so rarely achieved, by movie actors trying to portray the Old South. They were gracious and welcoming and within five minutes, by use of a few deft questions, knew everything there was to know about my background and the kind of “people” I came from.
I felt like I had stepped into a Faulkner novel. (One of Fanny’s cousins had known Faulkner in Paris. She had not been impressed.) This feeling increased when, the next day, Randal and I accompanied Fanny to the cemetery to put flowers on the graves of the dead. Noting Fanny’s reverent attention to a grave set apart from the others, I asked, “Who’s buried there?”
Randal hesitated. “Fanny’s husband.”
“The one in all the photos?”
“No. That was her second husband. The one buried over there is her first husband. Charlie.”
“What happened to him?”
“We don’t speak of him,” Randal said.

True to her Southern upbringing, I couldn’t get a word out of her. There were no photos of him in the house. It was as if he had never existed. That evening as I lay in a four- poster bed in a moonlit room waiting for Charlie’s ghost to appear, I remembered Fanny’s tender expression as she bent to tend the grave of a man dead for over sixty years. And I wondered what could have happened to him, what could have happened between him and Fanny, that would keep her family from ever mentioning his name.
Twenty years later, I wrote Summer in the South. Was the love affair between Charlie and Fanny truly as I envisioned it? Did the things that happened to me there in that old house in Franklin really happen, or did I just dream them?
The answers to both questions, I suppose, lie clearly in the realm of fiction.

- Cathy Holton for Amazon.com

So as I type this I am ordering - I cannot wait for it to come in the mail! I can already feel the weight of the book and the paper sliding through my hands as I flip through this story and read about my hometown like I remember it.

1 comment:

  1. I love Southern fiction! I will order this up from the library today, per your rec!