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Sweetgrass
by Mary Alice Monroe

Category: Fiction / General
384 pages; ISBN: 0778321878

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner

Review

Sweetgrass
Mary Alice Monroe
Mira, Jul 2005, $19.95, 384 pp.
ISBN: 0778321878

For eight generations, the Blakely family has owned SWEETWATER plantation on coastal South Carolina, but now the 300 acres that are left of what was once 1300 acres is in jeopardy of being lost. The patriarch Morgan fears he failed with property taxes intended to drive people off the land so developers could buy it cheap. His love of the land drove his oldest son Morgan to Montana. However, during a fight with his wife Mama June, Morgan suffers a stroke.

Montana comes home to help his beloved Mama June. He visits his dad in the hospital to see an elderly ailing man. Though Morgan’s wealthy sister and his son-law Hank push to sell the land, Mama June says no that she will wait until her spouse tells her what he wants her to do. Montana promises to help her. So does former housekeeper Nona Bennett, who hopes to pass on the three century tradition of making baskets out of the local sweetgrass.

This is an entertaining family drama centering on the hope for the future when the present looks at its darkest and lies in forgiving the past so that the family can cohesively and caringly come together. The ensemble cast consists of several individuals who enable the audience to observe differing attitudes and motives especially between the two prime generations. Though lacking action, fans of a complex multi character study will appreciate Mary Alice Monroe’s powerful look at what drives each member of the SWEETWATER extended crowd.

Harriet Klausner

 

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