Thank you so much to Picador for providing my free copy – all opinions are my own.
Janie Treeborne lives on an orchard at the edge of Elberta, Alabama, and in time, she has become its keeper. A place where conquistadors once walked, and where the peaches they left behind now grow, Elberta has seen fierce battles, violent storms, and frantic change―and when the town is once again threatened from without, Janie realizes it won’t withstand much more. So she tells the story of its people: of Hugh, her granddaddy, determined to preserve Elberta’s legacy at any cost; of his wife, Maybelle, the postmaster, whose sudden death throws the town into chaos; of her lover, Lee Malone, a black orchardist harvesting from a land where he is less than welcome; of the time when Janie kidnapped her own Hollywood-obsessed aunt and tore the wrong people apart.
The story centers around three generations of the Treeborne family and their relationship with beautiful Elberta, Alabama. The story is rooted in Southern vernacular and is told in a series of flashbacks. The novel starts off in the present day with Janie Treeborne being interviewed about her life and the destruction of the Hernando de Soto Dam which threatens her home and livelihood. This story is like none other, with a quirky cast of characters, and told with a peculiarity that I enjoyed.
Janie provides the central narrative, but the story is mainly told through the viewpoint of the Treeborne family. Through Janie’s flashbacks, we learn of her grandfather Hugh who helped build the dam, her Aunt Tammy, Maybelle, and her father, Ren, just to name a few, all tracing a time period of eighty years starting from 1929. My favorite aspect of the book is the unique writing style, the authenticity of life in the south, and the eccentric and flawed, albeit lovely, characters. Johnson is an extremely talented author and wrote a very intriguing and interesting debut. I cannot wait for what comes out next.
My rating is 4 out of 5 stars!
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