Blood at the Root, by Patrick Phillips

A novel based on true events

Southern trees bear strange fruit, blood on the leaves, blood at the root. ~Lewis Allan, 1937

The author of this gripping story, who grew up in the north Georgia town of Cumming, situated in the foot hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, has written a scathing account of what happened at the turn of the century and beyond in his community. The novel is about the history of this town and the surrounding areas, places that were mostly farming communities, back in the day. Places that still feel the impact of slavery, the Civil War, and Reconstruction.

As a resident of the area, I feel the ghosts of days long past, a history that includes a violent reckoning, a removal of people of color, people who had farmed, peacefully, for generations. It is a story that resonates throughout the area to this day. Forgotten by most of the country, told as a myth, and denied by many who reside here, the author has painstakingly researched the mists of the past and told the story that needed to be told. Now, as in the past, white supremacists continue to keep their foothold. The KKK is deeply entrenched here, hidden within the folds of surrounding communities.

I highly recommend this gripping novel. I started reading and could not put it down.

Summer Beach Reads

Seabreeze Inn: When Ivy’s life comes to a crashing halt after her husbands death only to find out he has spent their life savings on a dilapidated old beach house, she had no choice but to renovate the place with what she has left. With her recently jilted and heartbroken sister, they head to Summer Beach to try to reinvent their lives. What they find is intrigue and new romance.

The Bookstore On the Beach: When Autumn’s Divac’s husband goes missing, she leads an intensive search to no avail. Desperate to keep her family intact for the sake of her two teenage children, she moves to the place she was raised and works in her mother’s bookstore at a charming beachside town. But life keeps throwing her curve balls. Her mother is hiding a terrible secret and her daughter has unresolved problems. Then, to top it all of, she comes into contact with an old high school crush, the boy she never forgot. Should she rekindle that love, or hold out for her husband in case he returns.

The Summer of Lost and Found: In this beautifully written novel, the Rutledge family faces more challenges. Life in the time of Covid 19 has many challenges, and for Linnea this is doubly true. She has just been furloughed from the job she loves, her new love is detained in England, and her old flame is quarantined in the garage apartment on the property. Still, it is summer and the beach cottage on the island has salt laden breezes, sea turtles and sea oats on the dunes. Here, relationships are challenged, love is tested and the Rutledge family learns how life’s challenges brings both heartache and life’s renewal.

Eulie’s Song is a story of Love, and the Longings of the Heart.


Love is a powerful force.

Love will define the choices of two girls born a century apart. Choices that will impact not only themselves, but the lives of those they love.

One act of desperation in a moment of fear.

Eulie, born into slavery, had suffered at the hands of cruel men. She was haunted by the heartbreaking choice she made.

Leela, the child of a marriage based on lies, is haunted by nightmares, and dreams she can’t remember. Bullied because of her stutter, she refuses to speak. More than anything, she wants to be like other teenage girls.

When Leela goes to live in her grandmother’s Ante Bellum mansion in the segregated South, she discovers a story inscribed within the beautiful old mural in her bedroom. Lonely, she becomes obsessed with finding out what happened to the artist. Digging into the past, she uncovers a secret so shocking, it upends everything she has ever believed. But when the past and present collide, the lives of those she loves are threatened. 

Will the cost of revealing the truth about her family’s past be worth the price she will have to pay?

Mexican Gothic

Mexican Gothic began as an intriguing mystery that eventually evolves into more of a horror story. Still, it was well written with interesting characters. The protagonist, Noemi Taboada is a strong willed society princess. Her cousin, Catalina, has married a mysterious and handsome man who lives on a mist filled mountain in a mansion steeped in gloom with a secretive family. Noemi travels there to find her cousin, Catalina, a shadow of the once happy girl. The only kind person, Francis, is the son of the husband, Virgil, a handsome man with extremely dark secrets. He is charming and at times, cruel. The head of the family, Howard, is a twisted man who leers at Noemi. He is pale and smells of a wasting decease. As Noemi searches for answers, she begins to have horrible nightmares. The walls of the mansion seep with mold and a golden glow. There is unspeakable evil in the mansion and the family who inhabits it. Francis tries to help. He’s falling for Noemi, but he is as bound to the mansion and its evils.
This is not a novel for the squeamish, however, if you love twisted horror, this is the book for you.

Home for Christmas

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T’was 3 weeks before Christmas,

And all through the town,

People wore masks,

That covered their frown.

The frown had begun

Way back in the Spring,

When a global pandemic

Changed everything.

They called it corona,

But unlike the beer,

It didn’t bring good times,

It didn’t bring cheer.

Airplanes were grounded,

Travel was banned.

Borders were closed

Across air, sea and land.

As the world entered lockdown

To flatten the curve,

The economy halted,

And folks lost their nerve.

From March to July

We rode the first wave,

People stayed home,

They tried to behave.

When summer emerged

The lockdown was lifted.

But away from caution,

Many folks drifted.

Now it’s December

And cases are spiking,

Wave two has arrived,

Much to our disliking.

It’s true that this year

Has had sadness a plenty,

We’ll never forget

The year 2020.

And just ‘round the corner –

The holiday season,

But why be merry?

Is there even one reason?

To decorate the house

And put up the tree,

Who will see it,

No one but me.

But outside my window

The snow gently falls,

And I think to myself,

Let’s deck the halls!

So, I gather the ribbon,

The garland and bows,

As I play those old carols,

My happiness grows.

Christmas is not cancelled

And neither is hope.

If we lean on each other,

I know we can cope

Keep it going!

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A sweet Romance

This delightful Debut from Author, Claire Huston, hits all the right marks to keep the reader turning the pages. Our protagonist, Becky Watson, is a single mom with a two year old. She is juggling motherhood and a return to her work as a Life Coach. She’s gifted at keeping weddings on track, even though her clients are often the spoiled well-to-do in this upscale New England town. Through the sister of a handsome, reclusive artist who needs a reboot, Becky takes Charlie on as a client. She gets more than she bargained for. Charlie, who was once an acclaimed artist, hasn’t painted in years. He is grumpy and depressed because his wife left him years before. He isn’t over it. He hides out in his studio while his young daughter worries he’ll never be the father he once was. Becky, struggling with finances, needs this job so she promises more than she thinks she can deliver. Yet, dedicated life coach that she is, through trial and error, she manages to get Charlie back on track, even though while doing so she begins to fall for his off beat charm. At the same time, Charlie becomes enamored with the gallery curator, the beautiful Rachel, introduced to him by Becky. During the course of getting Charlie back on track, Becky and Charlie find they have more in common then previously thought. They become close friends. But will Charlie see beyond Rachel’s beauty to realize how important Becky has become to him? This heartwarming, contemporary novel keeps the reader engaged throughout. I loved all of the characters and the author’s deep understanding of what motivates each character. I highly recommend this wonderful novel.