I chose this book because it was (1) southern fiction and (2) was the story of a woman starting over, so to speak. I love novels like that. Cassie Simon leaves behind an unfaithful lover and a dead end job at his art studio when she inherits a home from her grandfather in Sweetwater, Tennessee. She packs everything into an old station wagon and heads south to a family she doesn't remember. Having moved north with her yankee jewish father after her mother was killed in a drunk driving accident (the driver was her grandfather) when she was three, Christina knows nothing of Tennessee, the house she has inherited, or the family she has there. What follows is a story of getting to know her family and uncovering dark secrets about a mysterious drowning that took place on the farm shortly before her mother was killed. Each chapter is preceded by the thoughts of her grandmother, known as Clyde, as she thinks about her unhappy marriage.
I really didn't enjoy this novel very much. It was sad, dark and dismal. It portrayed southerners as narrow-minded religious nuts, or unintelligent air-heads. It also has incest between cousins, which, although a joke with some northerners, is not accurate at all. Baker justifies the incest in the characters' eyes by saying one of them was adopted. It is still gross and not. It really does nothing to help an already bland story. (Maybe that's how y'all do things up north, but down here, it is just gross.) None of the characters were likable. All were angry, sad, and/ or one-dimensional. There were just too many cliches and stereotypes to make it believable, in my opinion. It was a great plot, but it just fell flat.