What the Bayou Saw

( 18 )

Overview

The Past Can't Stay Buried Forever

Since leaving Louisiana, Sally Stevens has held her childhood secrets at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband Sam, has heard the truth about what happened when she was almost twelve years old.

Now a teacher in Illinois, Sally has nearly forgotten the past. But when one of her students is violently attacked, Sally's memories of segregation, a chain link...

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Overview

The Past Can't Stay Buried Forever

Since leaving Louisiana, Sally Stevens has held her childhood secrets at bay, smothering them in a sunny disposition and sugar-coated lies. No one, not even her husband Sam, has heard the truth about what happened when she was almost twelve years old.

Now a teacher in Illinois, Sally has nearly forgotten the past. But when one of her students is violently attacked, Sally's memories of segregation, a chain link fence, and a blood oath bubble to the surface like a dead body in a bayou. Lies continue to tumble from Sally's lips as she scrambles to gloss over harsh reality. Finally cornered by her deceit and nudged by the Holy Spirit, she resolves to face the truth, whatever the consequences.

"Like Southern molasses, What the Bayou Saw is a rich, thick read that explores a tale so haunting…so painfully real, it will follow you into your dreams. There is a blazing light on the horizon of women's fiction, and her name is Patti Lacy."—Julie Lessman, author of A Passion Most Pure and A Passion Redeemed

"[A] deftly knit together story of two girls, four decades and one growing nation in a tale as relevant as ever. A winning combination that makes for simply great storytelling."—Tosca Lee, Christy-nominated author of Havah: The Story of Eve

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780825429378
  • Publisher: Kregel Publications
  • Publication date: 3/28/2009
  • Pages: 335
  • Sales rank: 1,412,396
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Patti Lacy, Baylor graduate, taught community college humanities until God called her to span seas and secrets in her novels, An Irishwoman's Tale and What the Bayou Saw. She has two grown children and a dog named Laura. She and her husband can be seen jog-walking the streets of Normal, Illinois, an amazing place to live for a woman born in a car. For more information, visit Patti's website at www.pattilacy.com, her blog at www.pattilacy.com/blog, and her Facebook daily Artbites.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 18 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Secrets Hurt

    This novel qualifies as one that will make an impact in our lives. Reading this historical fiction will cause the reader to reflect on what constitutes friendship and truth.

    Written in the third person viewpoint of Sally Flowers Stevens, a Southern Belle from New Orleans, Louisiana, who lives and teaches in Illinois, the setting takes the reader from the early 60's up to the days of Hurricane Katrina. During the times when black and white races kept to strictly drawn lines, Sally's childhood best friend was Christella Ward, a black sixth grader. It was during this time that Sally became a proficient lier.

    One of the themes is what makes women lie, and what could possibly cause a woman to reveal a well-hidden truth. Sally finds telling the truth more difficult than telling the lies that fall effortlessly from her mouth. Lies affect her marriage, her relationships with her two children and her students, and one day her lies affect her job.

    There are some tough scenes, written with a delicate hand. This is one I heartily recommend.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 22, 2009

    Another great book from Patti Lacy

    Once again, Patti Lacy has managed to capture readers with a memorable story that transcends the limitations of our time and place. This time she brings us on a journey from Normal, Illinois to the 1960's segregated South, to a hurricane-ravaged New Orleans. The impeccable setting descriptions, as well as Lacy's use of song and spirituals create a dynamic, cultural feel that deepens both the story and the characters. Though it is an inspirational story, the faith element is very organic and never feels forced. It is a natural part of the plot and the characters, and therefore reveals a real picture of grace and forgiveness.

    At times the book is raw and real, dealing with sensitive topics such as racism, abuse, deception, and betrayal. Though these are challenging topics, Lacy empathetically handles each of them with grace. In fact, the book subtly encouraged me to look deeper into myself, to think about my own prejudices. Ultimately, What the Bayou Saw is a redemptive narrative about the painful road to healing and wholeness.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Engaging and Powerful

    In her second novel, Patty Lacy has taken on several difficult subjects and delivered a provocative and engaging story involving the reader emotionally with the complex characters she has created. The haunting cover art immediately hints that this will be a story that will stick with you long after the last words are devoured. While I didn't grow up in the South, I did experience the years of racial conflict from a Midwesterner's point of view. Lacy nails the attitudes of the era as she looks back on the complex relationships of the times. In her character, Sally, Lacy continues a haunting theme as she is affected emotionally and spiritually by what happened in the bayou.

    For me this was a much anticipated read. I loved Patti Lacy's first book, An Irishwoman's Tale, and expected What The Bayou Saw to be another delicious foray into wonderful prose. I was not disappointed.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    I'M LEFT SPEECHLESS

    In this haunting tale of racism, deceit, and redemption, teacher, Sally Stevens has buried an incident in her past, and lied about it so much, she's nearly forgotten it. But when one of her students is violently attacked, memories of segregation, a chain-link fence, and a blood oath come flooding back. Sally continues to lie to her family and everyone else, until, cornered by her deceit and a spiritual nudge, she must confront reality, and face the consequences, whatever they may be.

    Patti Lacy has woven a breathtakingly real story that captures the flavor of 1960's Deep South in every aspect. Character development is such that I was made to think of them as personal friends, or enemies. I lived down bayou way with Sally and her family. I tagged along when she and her husband moved to the Midwest. And I was right there in the car when she drove back down to Louisiana to face her past.

    This book is a must-read!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Courageous and Redemptive

    What the Bayou Saw is the most courageous book I have read in years. Patti Lacy's sensitive, but truthful, exploration of race relations is stunning and her examination of the life-long friendship between a Caucasian woman and an African American woman from childhood is lovely. Don't be afraid to delve into this book because of its topic. It is a beautiful portrait of friendship, grace and redemption that will make readers cheer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Fascinating!

    Patti Lacy has poured herself into What the Bayou Saw, and the result is an engrossing and beautifully written novel about secrets, healing, and transformed lives. As her characters struggled to overcome prejudice and lies, I struggled with them, and then I rooted for them as they began to free themselves from their burden of lies. I was captivated by this story!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    a captivating character study

    In 2005, southern transplant Sally Stevens teaches American Music at Midwest Community College in Normal, Illinois. She has received threats from three white supremacist students who want her to delete any references to blacks and particularly detest the fact that a black Shamika Williams attends. As Katrina bears down on New Orleans, Sally worries about her brother and his family and her best friend Ella and her brother getting out. Her sibling left the city, but Ella remained behind as she works at a hospital where sixty three ambulatory patients reside.

    When whites assault Shamika leaving her in the hospital, the school turns to Sally to expedite them from a law suit. Instead she feels an affinity for the injured student, letting the police investigator as well as Shamika and her irate Aunt Ruby know it. Sally explains what happened to her as a child living in segregation in 1959 Waco; an incident that led to her and black Ella becoming sisters; yet in spite of the chain with Ella, she has hidden the full truth of what happened when she was twelve from even her husband Sam all these years.

    WHAT THE BAYOU SAW is a captivating character study that looks deep into the destructive aspects of racism on different individuals, but especially Sally with her façade crumbling under the weight of the current hate incident. The story line is for the most part passive as Katrina, Waco (1959 that is) and Shamika are more reflective rather than active. Fans who relish a profound look at race in America, circa 1959 and 2005, will enjoy this fine tale that emphasizes the importance of reporting of crime to protect others while proclaiming we have come a long way, but have a long way to go.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2011

    Secrets Hurt

    This novel qualifies as one that will make an impact in our lives. Reading this historical fiction will cause the reader to reflect on what constitutes friendship and truth.Written in the third person viewpoint of Sally Flowers Stevens, a Southern Belle from New Orleans, Louisiana, who lives and teaches in Illinois, the setting takes the reader from the early 60's up to the days of Hurricane Katrina. During the times when black and white races kept to strictly drawn lines, Sally's childhood best friend was Christella Ward, a black sixth grader. It was during this time that Sally became a proficient lier.One of the themes is what makes women lie, and what could possibly cause a woman to reveal a well-hidden truth. Sally finds telling the truth more difficult than telling the lies that fall effortlessly from her mouth. Lies affect her marriage, her relationships with her two children and her students, and one day her lies affect her job.There are some tough scenes, written with a delicate hand. This is one I heartily recommend.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 29, 2010

    Haunting, Gritty, POWERFUL!

    From the first page, I was drawn into the very midst of this story. This book is certainly not a gentle read. It covers topics most books would shy away from and doesn't hesitate to delve into some of the most complicated emotions. Having an idea of what was coming from the back cover, I was in suspense and breathing shallow as each page kept increasing to the climax. And even after it reached the pinnacle moment, the conflict did not ease.
    Sally has lived a lie. And from those first moments since meeting Ella and then the bayou, it has snowballed to effect more lives than just her own. Her constant deception can become tiresome, but what kept me reading, more than just a great story, was deep inside you could see she really wanted to change and by sharing her story with a hurting woman, so she wouldn't make the same mistakes, is what makes her extremely likable.
    Not only does this book pack a potent message on so many fronts, too many to name in a short review, but also paints word pictures that will give you chills. I literally felt the cold sweep through me by words on a page when Sally found the scarecrow in her garage. Don't underestimate the power of this book!
    This book digs deep into the human condition. Nothing is left untouched and the most sacred of emotions have their doors blown away. Haunting, gritty and powerful, this story will invade your thoughts and grab hold of your heart. Don't miss it!

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  • Posted November 17, 2009

    Haunting and poignant look at the destructive power of lies

    What the Bayou Saw by Patti Lacy is a poignant story about the damage secrets and lies can wreak as they grow unhindered. Sally Stevens has built a life of secrets and lies she hides behind her smile and Southern drawl. She's learned how to avoid difficult situations by telling a lie that's more easily digested than the truth and seasoning it with wide eyes, smiles, and waving her hands, but it all starts coming to the surface when first she is confronted by three of her students who want her to stop teaching her college class with a Christian tone. Then her favorite student is raped and beaten and accuses those same young men. Her carefully constructed world begins to totter and fall and she is forced to face the secret she has held for over forty years. The lie that destroyed her best friendship, tainted her marriage, and has colored every aspect of her life since. Lacy describes the lies in Sally's life using several metaphors throughout the book; the best is kudzu, at first beautiful but then suffocating and causing death. The beginning of the book setting up the outer frame story is a bit clumsy at first, but Lacy does an awe-inspiring job of talking about the issues of racism that we all want to pretend don't exist anymore. The novel is a gritty, unflinching look at the sins of our nation's past and how they still haunt us today and will continue to do so until we finally face them head-on.

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  • Posted November 15, 2009

    AAMBC Book Reviews

    Patti Lacy has penned an unforgettable literary masterpiece in What the Bayou Saw. Laced with lyrics from African American spirituals, this tale eloquently illustrates the lives of three unlikely women. The story takes the reader on a ride down highway 55 north, from Louisiana to Illinois, to embark on a journey crowded with bigotry, hatred, and prejudice.
    Sally Stevens is a Christian woman who is struggling daily to deal with the demons of her past. Through the years, Sally had done a good job of hiding her pain until one of her students, Shamika Williams, is attacked. Shamika is the only African American student in Sally's American Music class. Afro-centric and regal in her appearance, it was well known that Shamika was poised to take on the world and this didn't set right with several of her peers.
    Because of who she is, Sally felt compelled to lend her support in any way that she could. Upon learning the details of what happened, Sally was forced to remember an event from years ago that forever changed her life. The only person who knew was Ella and Sally had sworn her to secrecy with a blood oath. Sally and Ella became childhood friends during a time when prejudice flowed as freely as running water.
    It was amazing how well Sally had buried the pain and memories as the years elapsed. She found herself bearing it all when she went to visit Shamika at her aunt Ruby's house. Sally had been telling lies so long that hearing the truth, from her own mouth, was somehow foreign to her. She had lied to her husband, her children, and even to herself. Sally soon realized that she would have to deal with the past in order to truly heal.
    What the Bayou Saw is filled with real life injustices which bring about brutal understanding through spiritual reflection and forgiveness. It made me take a step back and reflect on the realities that were shoved to the forefront as the past replayed in front of my very own eyes. I experienced an array of emotions while reading this book. Patti Lacy did an awesome job with the scene descriptions. I could smell the musty fragrance of the Bayou, hear the calls of the creatures of the swamp, and see the moss covered trees. I highly recommend this book to all readers.

    Unika Modlen
    AAMBC Reviewer

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  • Posted September 22, 2009

    A Tale You Won't Soon Forget

    What the Bayou Saw by Patti Lacy is about Sally Stevens, a middle aged likable Christian woman with a past so well buried that even she doesn't know when she's lying to cover it up. As the back cover says, you can't bury the past forever, and this becomes true for Sally when one of her students is raped. Sally begins to tell her story to the girl and her aunt and in the process realizes the truth that she has been hiding from herself has adversely affected the present. As she returns to Louisiana to set things straight she has to once again relive painful, even terrifying, memories. But on the other side is forgiveness and healing.

    The story gets off to a bit of a slow start, but I was soon fond of Sally and rooting for her. Patti's writing is so descriptive that I was easily transported to the Bayou with its murky water, frogs and egrets, and was uncomfortable being there at times, which was the point. Still, there is redemption that can only be explained by God's grace, and Patti does a wonderful job showing this. She dealt fairly, in my opinion, with racial prejudice on both sides, not an easy thing to do.

    What the Bayou Saw is an intense story, but one that you won't stop thinking about for a long time.

    Cindy Thomson
    Author of Brigid of Ireland

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  • Posted August 5, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Secrets can destroy

    Lacy has again crafted a multi-layered story that recounts years of pain but result in moments of healing.

    Sally Stevens has a secret. One even she can't bear to give more than a fleeting thought to for over two decades. Only her childhood best friend, Ella, and the Louisiana bayou are privy to it.

    And, the murdered man.

    Sally lied her way through twenty-five years. Lied to her husband, her children and, mostly, to herself. Until she meets her student, Shamika, and Ruby, Shamika's aunt. Sisters in the flesh, but not in color.

    This is a powerful story about color. Prejudice. Denial. Fear. And God's encouragement - His plan for healing of the soul. It is a story of three women - one who is in denial, one who moved on and one who needs to move on.

    This book is not for anyone, but it is for everyone. Sometimes, it is hard to turn the page, but it is always enticing to do so. Almost impossible not to.

    I highly recommend Beyond the Bayou to anyone who experienced prejudice at any time in his or her life. I also recommend it as a very good read. It's not romantic fiction; it's not "normal" women's fiction. It's special and unique.

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  • Posted July 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    How Are You Living?

    What the Bayou Saw by Patti Lacy is a journey into an often told story, told through a panoramic lens. More than the black and white vision is shown as we become privy to Sally's (the main character) initiation into mindsets about Blacks as a youth, what she experienced first hand at a later age and how she must come to grips with it in the presence.

    Although a work of fiction Author Lacy does a great job of showing the consequence and guilt brought on by living a lie and redemption that can be had when we seek truth.

    Reviewed by Dr. Linda Beed
    On Assignment Reviews

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  • Posted May 24, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Book with Take Away Value

    This is a life changing book. I remember the 60's. I remember having colored classmates and the mixed feeling of friendships with them. The scolding of the older woman in the neighborhood.

    I remember as a young child living in Washington DC and walking toward a drinking fountain, Mom pulling me back. I couldn't use it because it was for the colored folks. Mom said it wasn't fair for me to use the fountain because the colored people couldn't use the one set aside for the white folks.

    Once again my friend Patti has written a gripping story. One that gripped my heart, took my breath away and drew me in. The friendship of the Swamp Sisters takes many twists and turns and this story has real take away value.

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    Posted October 10, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2010

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    Posted May 13, 2009

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