A long-standing family feud threatens to destroy a southern town.
In her accomplished second novel, Jackson (Gods in Alabama, 2005) sweeps the reader away to a place where gravel crunches underfoot and the smell of corn bread wafts in the air. Between, a tiny dot on the Georgia state map, is oversized when it comes to personalities. When Ona Crabtree’s vicious Doberman attacks Genny Frett, it shatters the town’s harmony and reignites the embers of a bitter quarrel that began 30 years earlier with the birth of Nonny Jane. A Crabtree by blood, she was adopted by a Frett, forever placing her in limbo between the warring families. They seem to be polar opposites: The Crabtrees perch on the edge of society, taking lawlessness as their guiding principle; the Fretts, whose prosperous business has turned Between into an offbeat tourist destination, are ruled by propriety. At heart, however, the two clans are more similar than they may care to admit. Both have members with fiery tempers and capable of holding on tight to a grudge. During her childhood, Nonny became accustomed to being the prize in their bitter tug of war. Now an adult living an hour’s drive away, she must come to terms with her own culpability in this horrid feud. Upon learning about the Doberman attack, she races back to Between. Her sick Aunt Genny and her aging mother aren’t the only people pulling her home; the town also holds a potential sweetheart (if Nonny can make a final break with her soon-to-be-ex-husband) and a neglected niece. With her short fuse and history of bungled relationships, Nonny won’t be able to broker a peace agreement and spare future generations of Between’s children from this bitter fight until she claims ownership of her life. The plot is precise and sweet, and Jackson includes the perfect ingredients: quirky characters, a picturesque setting and ample surprises.
Evocative and lovingly crafted.