Title: Bound South
Author: Susan Rebecca White
Release Date: February 10, 2009
Challenge: Countdown Challenge, 2009 Pub Challenge, A to Z Challenge
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
From the back cover:
By turns hilarious and poignant, the lives of three vibrant and unique Southern women — a proper Atlanta matron, her rebellious teenage daughter, and their housekeeper’s young daughter — intersect in unexpected and extraordinary ways in this richly compelling debut novel of family, friendship, and folly.
It seems like I have been reading and enjoying more and more Southern fiction lately. I never avoided the genre; I just didn’t realize the warmth and sense of home that these books had to offer. Bound South is no exception; is a warm and funny Southern novel that is best enjoyed with a glass of sweet tea on a hot summer’s day.
The story is told from the different points of view: Louise, a proper Southern matron with some secrets of her own, Caroline, the rebellious daughter who just doesn’t fit in at her private school, and Missy, the teenage daughter of Louise’s maid. Each story is compelling; this novel doesn’t suffer from the all-too-familiar problem of one viewpoint being more interesting than the rest. These characters are well developed and the reader really comes to care about what happens to them.
I have to say that my personal favorite character was Louise. She was definitely the most complicated character (by virtue of the fact that she wasn’t in her teens, most likely) and I so enjoyed peeling her character back layer by layer. Too often in novels, the “rich woman” is portrayed as one dimensional, without any merits of her own. I loved seeing a well-developed and multi-layered woman with secrets and hurts.
I also enjoyed how different the characters were. Writing three different women of different ages is a difficult task, especially in one book. For two of them (Caroline and Missy), this is a coming of age story; it’s about figuring out who you are and getting to know that person. For Louisa, it’s about coming to terms with the past and with what your life has become. It takes real talent to be able to write stories that are this different and make them both enjoyable and believable.
One last thing about the book that I feel I have to mention: the religion. There is a lot of Christianity in this book. It definitely is not a Christian fiction novel by any means, but being that it’s about the South, readers can’t be too surprised that religion gets a mention. A lot of times, things like this can bother me because of the tendency to get preachy – it takes away from my enjoyment of the book. I have to say, I was so surprised by Bound South and the fact that it didn’t bother me at all. Christianity was an accepted part of these characters’ lives. Though characters could be preachy, the book wasn’t. That’s a very fine line to walk, and White does it incredibly well. I was really impressed by it.
Bound South is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that I highly recommend. Give it a try – you won’t be disappointed!
A big thank you to Kelly at Simon & Schuster for sending me this book to review!