Southern Secrets

Nelle McFather, Author St. Martin's Press $22.95 (453p) ISBN 978-0-312-05966-8
In her hardcover debut, romance writer McFather presents a love story garnished with adultery, incest, bigamy and sorcery. An often surprising, intricate plot is somewhat hindered by stilted prose and a less than coherent narrative line. Between her uneducated father's demented religious zeal and her formerly wealthy but disinherited mother's chronic illness, Tally Malone seems wedged into a dreary life, but she is destined for transformation. We first meet her as an impoverished teenager on Moss Island (off Georgia) in 1951. Over the course of a decade, during which she toils in the tobacco fields, Tally comes of age through new relationships--two of them romantic--and the revelation of hidden knowledge (usually unpleasant). While this could be quintessential beach reading, the novel is hampered by skeletal characters, who are never fully realized, and abrupt changes in point of view. McFather makes brave attempts at dialogue smoked in Southern cadences, however, and she does succeed in evoking the history, lush climate and Gullah culture of the islands. (July)
Reviewed on: 07/01/1991
Release date: 07/01/1991
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-312-95023-1
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