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SWEETGRASS
MARY ALICE MONROE
ISBN# 0-7783-2306-4
June 2006
Mira
225 Duncan Mill Road, Don Mills, Ontario, M3B 3K9 Canada
Paperback
Price: $7.99U.S. /$9.50 Canada
431 Pages
Fiction
Rating: 5 Cups

Preston Blakely could be formidable in polite company and bullheaded in familiar company, always sticking to his guns in any case. But when property taxes skyrocket, he wonders will he have to sell out.

Mary June Clark Blakely has endured many trials with husband, Preston, some good some bad. But of late, she feels they are slipping apart and she finds herself despising the land until tragedy strikes.

Morgan washed his hands of the plantation after his older brother’s death. The guilt was overwhelming so he left South Carolina for solitude in Montana. The prodigal son had no plans of returning until his father’s stroke.

Preston cannot believe the property taxes went up four times the cost. Sweetgrass has always been their home and he will never sell. Now that developers insist on coming in to buy out many, even within the family, it seems everything is pricey. Mary June does not have to be told about hard times and rising costs. Together they have seen times of war, gas crisis, the economy going from bad to worse and even Hurricane Hugo and frankly she is too old and worn out to keep worrying over matters. But the real issue she knows does not lie with the taxes; it is more with Preston and the attitude toward their son Morgan who Preston feels abandoned them. He feels Morgan is no good and does not even speak of his dead son, all he dwells on is the land and Mary June has grown tired of the whole situation. Preston reflects on Mary June’s words concerning the land and family ties and places a phone call to Morgan to only get an answering machine. Not long after, he suddenly blacks out. Morgan returns home when his father has a stroke with painful memories to confront. As Mary June cares for Preston and Morgan helps with plantation matters, they begin to see past and present times that carry special memories. Morgan begins to ponder on his life and things he could not change while realizing without family ties and land they have today, none of their rich ancestry would have survived the rich soil they call home.

Sweetgrass is a poignant story filled with richness and extreme beauty. Preston and Mary June’s characters are driven in their actions, their emotions and their lasting marriage with each other. Through thick and thin, they have stuck close to one another never once breaking the tie that binds them as one. Morgan has many conflicts that he needs to find closure and the reader cannot help but feel drawn to him and all the characters in Sweetgrass. Ms. Monroe pens a compelling read that mesmerizes with every sight and sound. It is like going home and being surrounded by loved ones, past and present, wrapped inside a huge blanket feeling of warmth that never turns cold. She places the reader inside an exceptional read that is rare and heart-warming.

Cherokee
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books