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by Susan Wittig Albert
Berkley , January 2003
305 pages
ISBN: 0425188140

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

China receives an agitated phone call from her mother that prompts her to go to Mississippi. The family plantation is housed near the Bloodroot River and was originally a trading post in the 1830's. China has not been to this family plantation for many years. Mother and daughter are continuing to mend a relationship that had been marred with alcoholism and its'consequences. China and her mother are doing a good job at healing that bond .

Arriving at the plantation, China finds her Aunt Tillie to be as cantankerous as ever, maybe even more so than she originally remembers. Something was different though and it does not take long before it is established that Aunt Tillie is ill.

Within these confines, there is so much history. An old journal was located that belonged to China's great grandmother, Pearl. Written in 1918, this journal sheds new light about family secrets and choices. Questions continue to surface. When there is a question about a land deed, Wiley Beauchamp (the property manager) becomes involved and then he disappears.

A childhood acquaintance, Darlene, is reunited with China. She came back to the area when her mother was sick. Darlene currently cooks and cares for Aunt Tillie. Then supernatural events commence to happen. At this time, China longs for her Texan friend, Ruby. If you know Ruby, you know she would be able to put some light on the subject.

Do enjoy this story; if my count is correct - this is Number 12 in the series. I did miss Ruby and McQuaid, who stayed in Texas, but I am a big fan of China Bayles. One of the things that I enjoy about this Susan Wittig Albert's series is her visual writing. You can see the story and smell the fragrances as you read. There is a bonus of a few recipes and I always learn something about the world of herbs and seasonings. Having lived in the Mississippi Delta was a second bonus for me as this brought back personal memories.

Reviewed by Rita Ratacheck, January 2003

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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