[52 in 52]

First of all, happy Valentine's Day everyone!! Whether your single or taken, make sure to take a little time and do something & celebrate love in all its forms today. It doesn't matter if you're treating yourself to a relaxing bath or your favorite meal or if you're spending some time with a special Valentine today. Just make sure to enjoy the day!

Because I was terrible and got caught up in the Super Bowl/foreign service exam craziness I completely forgot to tell y'all about Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns. So I'm doing a little mid-week 52 in 52 to catch y'all up!!

Okay I do actually have a few negatives to share first. Well, really only one negative. It took me a really long time to get into this book. It seemed to drag at first and I struggled to stay interested. But a friend had loaned me the book and sworn that I would just love it, so I pressed on.

At the end of the day, I am so glad I did. It turns out Daniella was right--I do love it!!

Cold Sassy Tree centers on the Blakeslee family, who are longstanding and prominent residents of the small town of Cold Sassy, Georgia. Three weeks after the death of his first wife of many years, E. Rucker Blakeslee elopes with his milliner, Love Simpson. In addition to marrying so close to the death of his wife, Rucker's decision further scandalizes the community: Love is an outsider, originally from Baltimore. It's also rumored that her father was a Yankee, which is even more shocking given that Rucker is a Confederate vet and a staunch defender of the Confederacy even after the war. Oh and lest I forget: Love is the same age as one of Rucker's daughters.

The story is told by an adolescent Will Tweedy, who is Rucker's oldest grandson (Hoyt Tweedy, Will's father, is married to Rucker's oldest daughter, Mary Willis Blakeslee).

Cold Sassy just feels authentic and that's mostly because the author, Olive Ann Burns, was born in Commerce, Georgia. Commerce serves as the model for Cold Sassy. Burns remained in Georgia her whole life, so her writing doesn't read like an outsider commenting on the South but it reads as authentically Southern.

Sometimes it's good to be reminded of your roots and that's exactly what Cold Sassy did for me. I may not be from small town Georgia, but I am from the South. Even in the suburbs of modern Atlanta, many of the aspects of Cold Sassy are still readily apparent. Everyone knows what church everyone belongs to. Everyone knows your parents and word of your behavior reaches home long before you do. Family and honor matter greatly. And though all of that may sound backwards, those are some of the aspects of the South that I love the most. Call me crazy, but as I age I fall more in love with the South and more appreciative for the solid moral foundation it gave me. Of course I'm glad I left but at the same time, I wouldn't trade growing up in the South for anything.

Okay, enough of me being sappy.

Overall, Cold Sassy was a fun read. While it centered on a scandal that rocked a community, unlike Gone Girl it was light and fun. And after how serious my last several choices have been, I needed something to make me laugh. So at the end of the day, I'm glad I read it and I would recommend reading it to anyone looking for something a little more light-hearted (but still well-written).

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