Sassy Sweetwater struggles to survive the sins of her family while fate plays havoc with her future, and maturity comes with a price.
After thirteen years on the run Violet McLaughlin returns to Carter’s Crossing, South Carolina, in 1962, with her young daughter, Sassy. The Crossing is right outside of Beaufort and the turmoil of the Civil Rights movement will forever leave its scars on the young and impressionable girl. As Sassy stands before the imposing white farmhouse for the first time, with no knowledge of her history but that the McLaughlin's are her kin, Sassy begins a journey that will tear her apart before it heals her. Growing up among secrets that will forever damage her relationship with her mother, she attempts to make sense of her past. But will her passion for art and her love for Thomas Tierney be enough to sustain her future? Will the puzzles she must solve to discover who she is be worth the journey?
Mama said I was born by a stream named Sweetwater. She called me Sassy the moment she realized I was a girl. Mama said girls should be sassy, gives them sex appeal. So I was named Sassy, after an attitude, and Sweetwater, after a stream. The year was 1949 and the place was a dirty back road shack in a dusty little town in South Carolina. Mama never could remember the name of the town but she told me that it might have been Cottageville, or maybe even Ridgeville. Didn't matter much what it was called though. I never saw it again, and as far as I knew, Mama didn't either.
Some people think a grey tumultuous sky is an omen of discontent, especially if one's entry into this world is shadowed by blustery clouds and thunder's emphatic roar. But my mama said that heaven welcomed my birth with great horns blowing and mighty cymbals clashing, and omens sent by mighty seers bring the blessings of miracles, not the doom of devils.
"Gave you its grey," she said. "Passed it right on to you."
I always knew she meant my eyes, grey as the weather on the day I was born, and sometimes showing up hazel when the sun confronts the gloom and demands I show some color.
"Gave you its temperament too, and its mystery, girl. Women need a little mystery. That's what turns a man's head. Beauty has nothing to do with anything more than that."
It always sounded like the great God Poseidon was my father the way my mama tells it. Where else could I have come from? No man ever came forth and claimed me as his own. Not that I didn't wonder who my father was but when I asked I always got the same reply.
" You came from the sky, Sassy Sweetwater, clear as the stream I bathed you in, fierce as the wind that blew away the storm, the one that welcomed you here with great aplomb, and tender as the aftermath of nature's roar."
In other words, I was born an ambiguous bastard by a stream in South Carolina and my seventeen year old mama was not about to tell me whose handsome smile had won her over. He was obviously too young or too old to pay for his mistake. I would find out one day, of course. When you ask as many questions as I did, the answers come at you eventually. My birth was a riddle and I wanted my mama to connect me to some kind of heritage I could claim as my own, but she only gave me new conundrums to chase down. It should have been enough, there's nothing wrong with chasing around after answers you don't have, it's how hard you're hit with them when they fly back and knock you down.
- Word Count: 104,200
- Author: Vera Jane Cook
- Website: Vera Jane Cook
- Heat Level: 3
- ISBN: 978-1-61937-027-2
- Cover Artist: Kelly Shorten
- Editor: Rory Olsen
Review: This book follows Sassy Sweetwater from a young, naive girl to a strong, passionate and adventurous woman. I was drawn in right from the start.…
Great Minds Think Aloud
Reviewer: Arlena Dean
Review: "The Story of Sassy Sweetwater" by Vera Jane Cook was a excellent read. This story was one that was one I couldn't put down until…