Goodbye, Miss Emily by Martha Sibley George

Goodbye, Miss Emily

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A man struggles to rebuild his life after the untimely death of his young wife in George’s debut historical novel.

Morgan Bigley, an affluent, attractive attorney in 1930s Georgia, seems to have everything.  He runs a thriving law practice, has two devoted daughters, a loyal household staff, and a beautiful spouse. His idyllic life is torn apart, however, when his wife dies in a car crash. Suddenly, he must figure out how to turn his young girls into proper Southern ladies without a woman’s help. Before long, all the local, unattached females (and their mothers) descend. He’s unimpressed by his prospects, though, and won’t settle for a woman he doesn’t love. Instead, he hires a matronly housekeeper, Miss Mattie, to act as a sort of governess, and he tries to accept his fate as a single man. He’s surprised a few months later to meet an intriguing woman—and a Northerner, at that—named Theodosia Boyd, who reawakens emotions he thought had died. However, they both quickly realize that they have more differences than commonalities. She’s a New Yorker with a Jewish heritage who’s uncomfortable around many aspects of Southern life—particularly the bigotry she encounters. Even so, Morgan is besotted by her vibrancy, kindness, and beauty. Their courtship meanders between long periods of separation, and Morgan struggles to keep Theodosia in his family’s life, despite her protestations. George ably portrays Morgan’s complicated life against the backdrop of the impending war with Germany while also providing rich details about the exacting social standards of the “old South.” Along the way, the author deftly explores relationships between different classes in Southern society as well as the complexities between black nannies and the white children they raise. Overall, the story is rife with cultural and emotional drama; at the same time, it’s narrated at a slow Southern pace that’s sure to transport readers.

A close look into a bygone society and one man’s difficult life, well-suited for fans of the forgotten South.

Pub Date: Nov. 16th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1503246959
Page count: 248pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2015


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