Gone South: A Novel

Gone South: A Novel

by Meg Moseley


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The charm of the South drew her back to her family’s roots. But when the town’s old resentments turn the sweet tea bitter, can Tish find a welcome anywhere?

Tish McComb never imagined that she would leave frosty Michigan for the Deep South, but an opportunity to buy her great-great-great-grandparents’ Civil War era home beckons Tish to Noble, Alabama, a Southern town in every sense of the word. She wonders if God has given her a new dream, since her dreams of marriage and family were dashed five years earlier in a tragic accident: the old house filled with friends, her vintage percolator bubbling on the sideboard.
When Tish discovers that McCombs aren’t welcome in town, she feels like a Yankee behind enemy lines. Only George Zorbas, the local antiques dealer, seems willing to give her a chance. So what’s a lonely outcast to do but take in Noble’s resident prodigal daughter, Melanie Hamilton, and hope that the two can find some much needed acceptance in each other.

Problem is, old habits die hard, and Mel is quite set in her destructive ways. With Melanie blocked from going home, Tish must try to manage her incorrigible houseguest as she attempts to prove her own worth in a town that seems to have forgotten that every sinner needs God-given mercy, love and forgiveness.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780307730800
Publisher: The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/07/2013
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Meg Moseley is a Californian transplanted to the South. For four years, she wrote human interest columns for a suburban section of the Atlanta Journal Constitution, and she home-schooled for over twenty years. Mom to three grown children, she enjoys books, motorcycle rides with her husband, and gardening.

Read an Excerpt

Gone South

A Novel
By Meg Moseley

Multnomah Books

Copyright © 2013 Meg Moseley
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780307730800

No doubt it was the last time they would ever meet at the hole-in-awall Greek place for gyros, but brooding wouldn’t help. She had arrived first, as usual, so she placed their regular orders at the counter and settled into a bright orange booth by a window. Wrapped in the cocoon of clatter from the kitchen and an ancient Motown song on the stereo, Tish McComb rested her chin in her hands and watched headlights zip past on the big hill that descended into the south end of town.

Snow flurries twinkled down from the sky, a reminder that the first serious snow would arrive soon. As much as Tish loved the way a winter storm could swaddle an ordinary little Michigan town in a sparkling blanket of white, she wasn’t fond of driving in it.

A gust of wind blew a flock of faded autumn leaves past the window. Her mother followed at a trot with a gigantic handbag on her arm and a red scarf hugging her neck. No gloves, probably because she loved to show off her new
wedding ring. She pushed the heavy glass door open and stepped inside, smoothing her rumpled gray curls with her left hand.

Spotting Tish, she smiled. “You’re always too punctual. Did you order for me?”

“Yes, I did.”

“Thanks. Did you remember my avgolemono? And extra tzatziki sauce?”

“Of course,” Tish said with a trace of envy. She’d blow up like a blimp if she ate like that. She didn’t have her mother’s petite figure.

Her cheeks flushed, Barb Miller plopped down on the other side of the booth and unwound her scarf. She looked both wired and tired.

“Pretty scarf,” Tish said.

“I knew you would like it. And I see you’ve been thrifting again. Cute jacket.”

“I found it online. It’s from the forties, but it still has all its original hardware, see?” Tish patted the brass buttons that marched down the jacket’s smooth, bright blue wool. “It has some tiny stains that won’t come out, but I couldn’t pass it up.”

“We vintage items always have our flaws. They’re part of our charm.” Tish smiled at her mother, a woman whose gentle wrinkles were like those of a well-ripened persimmon. “Part of your charm is the way you describe how
charming you are,” she teased.

Mom ignored the quip. “That’s a nice blue on you. It goes with your eyes.” Peering at Tish’s hair, she said, “I wish you wouldn’t keep your hair skinned back tight like that. You know it’s gorgeous, so turn it loose. Let it frame your pretty face.”

Tish refrained from rolling her eyes at her mother’s predictable comments. “You know I have to look businesslike for my job, Mom. How’s the packing coming along?”

“Slowly. Charles hasn’t moved a lot, so he hasn’t weeded out a thousand times like we did. It’ll be a miracle if we finish before moving day.”

“I’ll come over a few more times to help,” Tish offered. “And I’ve put in for that week off so I can make the trip with you.”

Her mother frowned. “I wish you wouldn’t waste your vacation days to help a couple of old fogies move their junk. You should round up some of those nice girls from your church and go someplace special. Someplace warm. Puerto Vallarta, maybe. Isn’t Fran a traveler? I bet she’d love to go on a trip.”

“Yes, she would.” Tish loved Fran, but when they’d roomed together at the over-thirty singles retreat, she’d snored like an overweight trucker. “But I want to see your new place and help you unpack. It’ll be fun—and warm.”

“Not as much fun as Puerto Vallarta, but…oh, all right. Thanks, honey.” An impish smile overcame the frown. “You know I’m pretty well organized, but I’m still cleaning out your father’s storage unit. Yesterday I found a blender
in a box he’d labeled ‘garden stuff.’”

Tish laughed. “Typical.”

“This morning I hauled out a box labeled ‘miscellaneous,’ and you’ll never guess what he’d tucked away with his electric car research.” Her mom reached for her bag.

“You’re right. I’ll never guess.”

“A treasure, just for you.” She pulled out a large manila envelope and handed it to Tish. “Ta-da!”

Tish sucked in her breath, recognizing that loose, loopy penmanship. ‘The McComb Letters,’ her father had written, and he’d underlined it twice. She reached for the envelope. “Oh my goodness. Finally, I have my chance to read the letters. He always kept them out of reach, like he thought they’d be stolen or something.”

“I still haven’t run across the other papers—the genealogy and whatnot—but I’ll find them eventually. Will you want them too?”

“Sure. Thanks, Mom.” Tish unfastened the metal clasp and reached into the envelope. She smiled at how meticulously he had wrapped the letters in acid-free paper.

Tish slid the packet back into the envelope. “I won’t look until I get them home. I’d hate to get grease on them. Or lemon soup.”

“Heaven forbid. Your father would roll over in his grave.”

“They’re for me to keep?”

“Of course. You’re the one with McComb blood, not me, and you’re at least a little bit interested in family history.”

“I haven’t given it much thought since Dad passed away, though.” Tish closed the envelope again and tucked it carefully between her purse and the wall.

“Remember the time he drove you down to Alabama to see the McComb house? He was such a sweetie, trying to distract you. He never could stand to see you hurt, so he did the best thing he knew—took you on a trip.” Tish nodded. On that slapdash father-daughter adventure, her father had been her rock. Bob McComb might have been a dreamer, chasing the latest get-rich-quick scheme or business opportunity, but he’d made himself completely
available when she’d needed him most.

The waitress set the bowl of avgolemono on the table. As her mother sipped the lemony broth, Tish listened to her talk, enjoying the excitement in her mother’s eyes.

“Just think, Tish. By the time winter really hits, Charles and I will be in Florida.” Her mom sat up straight. “Are you sure you don’t want to move south too? You’ve got enough money to buy a condo or even a house by now. Don’t
you want to settle down somewhere? All those years in apartments…and it would be a new adventure.”

Tish laughed. “You sound like Dad with all his pep talks about greener pastures.”

“Talk about greener pastures, honey—we’ll have palm trees and orchids. An orange tree in the front yard and mangoes and avocados out back. You could too.”

“Trying to bribe me with guacamole and fruit salad? Nice try, but if there’s one thing I learned from all our moves, it’s that the grass isn’t greener on the other side of the fence. It’s just another pasture. With its own cow pies.”

“At least my pasture’s full of tropical flowers instead of ice and snow.”

Catching a whiff of lemon, Tish could almost imagine being there. “Oh, Mom, Florida just doesn’t appeal to me. Sorry. I like a place that has four seasons.”

“Well, ice and snow don’t appeal to me. Not anymore. I’m ready to get out of here.” Pushing her empty bowl to the side, her mom said, “I’m just glad we don’t live in covered-wagon days. We can hop a plane and be anywhere in a few
hours. That reminds me. I’ll have to buy you a plane ticket so you can fly home from Tampa.”

A new idea fluttered into Tish’s mind, triggered by the road-trip memories she’d made with her dad. Sunrise over a new town. The crazy place names on road signs and water towers. Different accents in different states. Seeing the
landscape change, mile by mile, and coming to a new understanding of what a huge country she lived in.

“You know what I should do, Mom? I should drive myself down. Caravan with you and Charles. Then I can take my time on the way back and see some sights.”

“Oh, Tish. Don’t try to make that long drive all by yourself. In that old car.”

“Mother, I’m thirty-five years old. I can handle it. And the car’s in great shape.”

The waitress set their plates of gyros and curly fries on the table. As their drinks were being refilled, Tish shrugged her way out of her vintage jacket and placed it on the seat beside her, safe from the drippy, spicy lamb and tangy sauce.
After they’d eaten and settled their bill, they headed outside and stood under the awning. The snow flurries had given way to a fine mist sifting down from the dark sky. Tish tucked the McComb letters under her arm while she buttoned her jacket.

Her mom zipped her parka, wound her red scarf around her neck, and reached into her purse for a matching pair of knit gloves. She pulled them on and clapped her hands, the sound muffled by the fabric. “You can adopt my winter gear, Tish. I won’t need parkas and scarves and gloves in Tampa.” Tish smiled, remembering a series of stretchy red gloves tucked into longago Christmas stockings. “Thanks. That would be nice. Thank you for giving me Letitia’s letters too. I’m glad you found them.”

“It’s right for you to have them, especially since you’re named after her.”

“I’ll read them with her and her husband staring down at me from their wedding portrait.”

“Ugh! That old thing always makes me think of haunted houses and bad smells. He’s ghoulish and she looks anemic.”

Tish was quick to defend her namesake. “No, she was just fair skinned. And he had a long, thin face.”

Her mother laughed. “He sure did. I think he’s related to Lurch from The Addams Family.” She reached out for a hug, and Tish welcomed it. “Well, good night, sweetheart. Let me know if you find anything interesting.”

“’Night, Mom. Drive carefully.” Tish watched her mom hurry down the wet sidewalk toward her car, a little kick in her step. Her mom really knew how to roll with life, a trait that had served her well through Dad’s numerous ventures
and so many moves.

While her Volvo warmed up, Tish rubbed her cold hands together and thought about the manila envelope on the passenger seat. Her dad had told her about the letters. About his great-great-grandmother moving from Ohio to Alabama sometime after the Civil War. She’d written home to her mother in Ohio, and her mother had saved the letters. They’d been passed down from one generation to another, treasured but seldom read.

Tish had always wanted to read them, especially since her dad always put Nathan and Letitia McComb on a pedestal. But Dad had been wise to keep them out of the hands of a curious little girl who could damage the fragile old papers. Sometimes, like the lonely child she’d once been, Tish still yearned to disappear into the past. She wasn’t quite sure why.


Excerpted from Gone South by Meg Moseley Copyright © 2013 by Meg Moseley. Excerpted by permission of Multnomah Books, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Gone South: A Novel 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Writer4God More than 1 year ago
Leaving frosty Michigan for the Deep South was never a blip in the simple plans Tish McComb imagined for her life, dreams of marriage and family that were dashed five years earlier in a tragic accident. Now an opportunity to buy her great-great-great-grandparents' Civil War-era home beckons Tish to Noble, Alabama, a Southern town in every sense of the word. She wonders if God has given her a new dream---the old house filled with friends, her vintage percolator bubbling on the sideboard. 1. When Tish discovers that McCombs aren't welcome in town, she feels like a Yankee behind enemy lines. Only local antiques dealer George Zorbas seems willing to give her a chance. What's a lonely outcast to do but take in Noble's resident prodigal, Melanie Hamilton, and hope that the two can find some much needed acceptance in each other. Problem is, old habits die hard, and Mel is quite set in her destructive ways. With Melanie blocked from going home, Tish must try to manage her incorrigible houseguest as she attempts to prove her own worth in a town that seems to have forgotten that every sinner needs God-given mercy, love, and forgiveness. I enjoyed this book quite well. It didn't really have any parts that I found boring and kept me interested throughout the whole story. The characters were likeable and it was very realistic how they talked and did things, unlike how some books can be. It was just kind of a simple story, nothing super in-depth, but still good. The only thing is that the end seemed to come all at once and it seems like it left some loose ends, but overall a worthwhile read. It was the first book I've read by this author and I would read more by her. I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this honest review.
JodyJ More than 1 year ago
Gone South a novel by Meg Moseley was a great read. It is about new beginnings, love and forgiveness. Tish McComb buys her great-great-great-grandparents’ Civil War era home in Noble Alabama. Tish moves south expecting warm southern hospitality, but the southerners do not fulfill her expectations, they make it very clear to Tish that McComb’s are not welcome in their town. I enjoyed Tish's courage in dealing with her resentful neighbors, and her compassion toward Melanie was a lesson to all. George's quiet intelligence shone through quite well in the story. In Gone South, Meg spins a great story of prodigals and prejudices and of a courageous young woman who refuses to take the easy way out. I received a free copy of this book for review from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group, for my honest unbiased opinion.
BethLove More than 1 year ago
Tish Mccomb is enthralled with the quaint Civil War era home that was once owned by her relatives in Alabama. Deciding to take a chance she moves from her comfortable apartment in Michigan and moves to a small town in Jackson Alabama with hopes that old family ties will make fitting in easier. Unbeknownst to her, is a family secret that has ruined any chances of a happy welcome home! It seems the only people willing to give her a chance is the local antique dealer and a homeless girl Melanie that Tish takes into her new home despite her shady and somewhat checkered past. Sometimes she is determined to stay and other times loneliness sets in and she wonders why she ever left her home in Michigan to become an object of scorn for the whole town! I found myself rooting for Melanie through the whole book. Something about a second-chance story that draws me in every time!! This book is fresh, not a different twist on a popular genre or a retelling of a New York Times Bestseller.. totally unique and innocent. I appreciate that in a book! I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are my own.
Wanda_Barefoot More than 1 year ago
Favorite Scene: Afraid she was about to lose it, George reached for her hand, then lost his nerve and petted Daisy’s head. “So Marian claims to have proof from the historical society. That’s the key word. Historical. Whether or not the stories are true, they’re in the past.” “I know. I should focus on the present.” Tish Turned toward him, her face framed softly by long locks of red-brown hair. “No matter what happened here in 1870, this is my home now. Nobody’s going to scare me away.” “You know the difference between a Yankee and a… well, a Yankee who’s bound for eternity in the lake of fire?” “The ones who visit versus the ones who stay? Yeah, I’ve heard that old joke, but I’m staying. I don’t care what people call me. I don’t care what they think of me either.” “No?” “Okay, sometimes I do. Sometimes I care too much. I want very badly to be accepted, but sometimes I forget to mind my manners and I speak my mind instead. Someday, I’m afraid I’ll say things I shouldn’t say. Do things I shouldn‘t do.” She could be direct, all right, and maybe she didn’t always think before she acted, but at least she did something. “If your heart’s right, your actions can’t be too far off. Case in point, the way you reached out to Mel.” “You did too,” Tish said. “It’s very generous to hire her, and I don’t mean just about the wages you’ll pay. It’s… moral generosity.” George squelched a grin. If he’d know hiring Mel would cast him in such a noble light, he might have hired her sooner. “I see moral generosity on your side too,” he said. Even though you’re a Yankee.” She laughed. “Careful there Mr. Zorbas. You’re skating on thin ice.” “I know, but I grew up listening to my grandfather always preaching against the world, the flesh, and the devil. Sometimes he mentioned Yankees in the next breath, so I started to think Yankees and devils were one and the same.” “Gee, thanks.” He leaned closer, enjoying her cynical little smile. “But I’d be first to admit that some of ya’ll aren’t too bad. And some of ya’ll are mighty pretty.” “And some of you southern gentlemen are mighty forward.” She moved Daisy to his knee and got to her feet. “Forward? I only--” “My feet are freezing. Good night, George.” He rose too. “Tish, I--” She’d already escaped inside, shutting the door firmly behind her. He carried the dog home, brooding over his extraordinary talent for ruining good conversations. My Thoughts: Tish McComb is a person that finds herself drawn to the past. She buys antique clothes and costume jewelry and feels a special connection to her great, great, great grandmother whom she was named after. When her mother decides to move to Florida, Tish agrees to drive to Florida to help her unpack. Just before leaving Michigan, she discovers the house her ancestors used to own is up for sale so she decides to stop by on her way back from Florida to see it and get a few pictures. Buying it was the last thing she intended but, once she saw it, she felt drawn to it. Tish finds herself in the middle of becoming a homeowner for the first time and, she has to admit, she's excited. She has heard such good things about Letitia and Norman McComb but once the locals in Noble, Alabama find out who she is and turn a cold shoulder, Tish begins to wonder exactly what is fact and what is fiction. Studying the original letters of Letitia McComb, Tish hopes to prove the townspeople wrong. Suddenly her excitement of living in her ancestor's home starts to dim in light of the treatment of the people of Noble. George Zorbas and his Uncle Calv are the only ones that give her a chance. While fighting to save the good name of the McCombs, Tish find herself falling for George but, after losing her fiancee' 5 years ago in a tragic accident, Trish wants nothing more than to run scared. Can George break the barriers errected around her heart? Can the locals leave the past in the past? When Tish finds Mel in the park, cold and hungry, with nothing but her sleeping bag she knows what she has to do. She brings well home with her and gives her food, clothes and a place to stay. Mel has issues of her own she is trying to work through and with the help of Trish and George she is finally getting on the right track. George Zorbas, the local antique dealer, is drawn the the new girl in town. While others are snubbing her, George gives her a chance and that means the world to Tish. When George buys a classic 1970 Chevelle to restore, he needs a garage big enough to work on it. It just so happens Tish McComb has a nice, big garage that she doesn't use. Not only does the garage work perfectly but it also allows him to see Trish more frequently. George's is also Mel's older brother's friend so when Mel needs a job and no one trusts her enough to hire her, George gives her a job ih his shop. George soon discovers that Mel has a learning disibility and it accounts for the previous accusations of stealing from her employers. While he works with Mel to get her life in order, he's also working to get Trish to open up her heart and let him in. Gone South took me on a journey from the first page to the last. It drew me into the character's lives and made me feel like I was a part of the story. Each character had their own traits that made them special. When I first started reading and found out about the old letters and Trish's special connection to her great, great, great grandmother Letitia I thought the story would eventually take me back in time. It didn't but that's not a bad thing. The story flowed well and Ms. Moseley managed to bring it to life scene by scene. Mel's character was a little baffling to me at first. I kept wondering how old she was and when I found out she was almost twenty-one I couldn't mentally connect her age to her child-like demeanor. After finding out she possibly had a learning disability it all clicked into place. I think Tish, George and Mel all complimented each other well for a perfect balance throughout the story. All-in-all, Gone South was a very sweet story with very charming characters. Kudos to Meg Moseley on a job well done!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
sjziegler More than 1 year ago
booksbysteph says "Entertaining Read but Lacking" I thought this book was fun and interesting. It had twists and turns. My heart went out to Tish, knowing personally what it feels like to be hated with such intensity. As soon as Tish picked up Mel in the park and took her home, I was overwhelmed with anxiety. You want to give Mel the benefit of the doubt because you want to believe people are good. But you never know what you are going to get with her. She is young, barely graduated high school and did not have parents that raised her with love so she can throw a mean temper tantrum. Thank God for people like George, who gives Tish the hospitality she deserves, even is it was for selfish reasons in the beginning. I am really disappointed there was not any further discussion of Tish's ancestors past the McComb letters. Why didn't Tish go to the museum? Investigate the claims made against them. What happened to the box of genealogy stuff her mother was going to give her? More interaction and feuding between Tish and Marian Clark-Graham, the equivalent of Tish but on the other side of the war. If the whole move was based on Latitia McComb, there should have been a lot more information than the few sentences that wrapped her up in the end.  Until next time, live life one page at a time!
sarahsmithstorm2 More than 1 year ago
Gone South" is written by Meg Moseley and is the story of a woman who moves from Michigan to Alabama. I love that the story had some Michigan roots. Tisha, main character finds herself moving into her great- grandparents home. Gone South - Meg Moseley Another character we meet in the story, Melanine who returns home to go live with her parents learns she is no longer wanted in their home because of her choices/ decisions. After Tisha sees Melanie around town wearing the same clothes, she invited Melanie to move into her home. Meanwhile, the community rejects Melanin for her life and they reject Tisha for allowing Melanine to live with her. You just never can anticipate what will happen in this book. I was waiting and wondering what would happen the whole story of this book. It was not a typical book I would pick for myself, but I really enjoyed it.
Griperang72 More than 1 year ago
Let me tell you the first thing that drew me to the book was the title. This is the first book that I have read by this author so I was not sure what to expect. I have to say that Meg did not disappoint me. I felt like I was right there with Tish as she left the cold of Michigan to go South. Another thing I enjoyed was how the author blended history in the modern story. Me being a history fan loved this part. The character development was very good and you felt as if you were reading about real life people in a real life situations. I will be on the look out for more books by this author. 5 stars I was given this book free from Multnomah Waterbrook Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
InSpirit More than 1 year ago
Does anyone else ever get so frustrated with a book character you just have to put the book down and distract yourself elsewhere?  Especially when it's an adult that you thought would have more wisdom than is being displayed...   hoping there will be some upcoming good news to make this frustration pay off! ____  Unfortunately, it only got worse... Great cover and book premise that drew me to select it for reading. I loved the protagonist's sense of adventure, dream of a new beginning, willingness to step into the unknown.  Sadly, it didn't remain true throughout the story...   Once Trish takes in the town's likeable miscreant, Mel, Trish's true colours of control are revealed.  Mel is almost 21, so an adult for several years, yet she is continually disbelieved and treated as a disobedient child to be kept under surveillance, to be reported and worse, to have her will and wishes trampled on by Trish.  All this, supposedly in Mel's best interests.  Why?  Because Trish says so.  This is unconscionable treatment of a young, impressionable, and vulnerable woman.  Any apology for these thoughts and actions? No.  It's all treated as acceptable. I was so frustrated by Trish's disregard for the will and person of Mel, I actually had to put the book down and walk away.  The frustration included the fact that Trish is set as the Christian adult who doesn't show a personal lifestyle that follows the influence of Christ, yet Mel prays constantly, voicing her acknowledgement, dependence and longing for God.   I can't in any way accept the actions Trish takes in opposition to Mel's will; forcing her own will on another and over another's.  Unkind, selfish, lacking in wisdom and not asking God or others for wise counsel, she just barrels on her way without thought for consequences that will inevitably affect them.  Where and how does this example Christ?  It doesn't. It show clear and consistent disregard rather than the honouring of others that Christ calls us to.  To see Christ in another, not looking down from some lofty self-made perch.  At the very least, discussion with a lawyer would have cleared up Mel's claims and satisfied any concerns Trish had.  Most likely it would have brought wise and proper resolution to the entire situation.  It wasn't even an option in any character's thoughts or conversation throughout the novel.  In other aspects, the book presented seemingly important inclusions to the story's outcome which are later swept aside as of nominal value without any further reference to the plot.  What!?  All that information on boxes of wills and deeds is just fill?  Then why include it at all?  What about the truth of Letitia and Nathaniel?  I'm still left in the dark after completing the book.   To wrap up- Final analysis? Not at all what I'd expected. The book didn't live up to its promo.  And the ending is nothing short of disappointing. *Thank you to Waterbrook Multnomah for providing a copy to read and review without obligation.
sunshineJB More than 1 year ago
An Enjoyable Read! This is the first book that I have read by author Meg Moseley and it won't be the last.   I really enjoyed the two main characters in this book, Letitia (Tish) McComb and Melanie Hamilton.   Even though several years separate the two in age they are alike in so many ways.   Both want acceptance and to be loved for who they are.   One is being accused of being a thief and the other is treated as an outcast because of her name and heritage.   Will both find  acceptance and happiness that they are seeking?
PianoLady831 More than 1 year ago
Meg Moseley's Gone South is a beautifully crafted, stand-alone novel that brings the reader to the small southern town of Noble, Alabama - into a setting where classic cars, antiques, handwritten letters from generations past, and a grandfather's gold watch add much interest. Anyone who has made mistakes and longed for or received a second chance can easily relate to this story. Summary An opportunity to buy her great-great-great-grandparents’ Civil War era home beckons Tish to Noble, Alabama, a Southern town in every sense of the word. She wonders if God has given her a new dream—the old house filled with friends, her vintage percolator bubbling on the sideboard. When Tish discovers that McCombs aren’t welcome in town, she feels like a Yankee behind enemy lines. Only local antiques dealer George Zorbas seems willing to give her a chance. What’s a lonely outcast to do but take in Noble’s resident prodigal, Melanie Hamilton, and hope that the two can find some much needed acceptance in each other. Problem is, old habits die hard, and Mel is quite set in her destructive ways. With Melanie blocked from going home by her influential father, Tish must try to manage her incorrigible houseguest as she attempts to prove her own worth in a town that seems to have forgotten that every sinner needs God-given mercy, love and forgiveness. My thoughts I loved this story even though I'm not a fan of classic cars or antiques, which goes to show that quality writing and character depth trump all else for me. Tish and George are well drawn, likeable characters, but it was Mel that captured me the most. Tish buys a house previously owned by her great-great-great grandparents and moves to Noble, only to quickly discover that the older residents still harbor hurt and anger over the way her family treated people during Reconstruction days. Tish once told her Mom: "If there's one thing I learned from all our moves, it's that the grass isn't greener on the other side of the fence. It's just another pasture. With its own cow pies." George, an antiques dealer, had a love-hate relationship with his dog that was so funny! A sweet romance slowly develops between Tish and George, but it's a secondary focus. And classic car fans will love the '70 Chevelle SS 454 that he bought and worked on. It is Mel around which this story revolves - a prodigal who tries unsuccessfully to return home - and my heart went out to her from the beginning. Mel refers to a poem by Robert Frost: "There's this line that goes, 'Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in,' but for me it's more like 'Home is the place where, if they won't take you in, you know it's not home anymore.'" Met with a wall of rejection instead of open arms from her father - "My dad wants perfection or nothing" - Tish takes Mel in and nurtures her when no one else would. The interaction between Mel, Tish, George, and Mel's brother Stu is one of this novel's strengths. The spiritual themes of friendship, mercy, second chances, and love are all there, but rather than speaking out about their faith all the time, the characters modeled their faith, and I liked that very much. Gone South exemplifies the "I was a stranger and you invited me in . . ." teaching of Matthew 25. As part of the uplifting ending, Tish's character makes a beautiful connection between antiques and life. Antiques were "visible reminders of overlapping lives and events. The continuum of generations. No generation would ever stand alone." Gone South is quality character-driven fiction, and I highly recommend it to all readers. This book was provided by Meg Moseley and Multnomah Books in exchange for my honest review.
Theophilusfamily More than 1 year ago
  This book pretty much had me from the first glance. How could I not read Gone South when the cover has a woman in a graceful Southern gown running up a red dirt path...and under the gown hem you can see blue jean cuffs? And the little peek of the house she is running toward... an old Southern house... doesn't that intrigue you? Well, it intrigued me! I am so glad that I had the chance to request this book to review from Waterbrook's Blogging for Book's program. And I am so glad that that gown and jeans combo came from a scene in this book. I am not tellin' which scene, but suffice it to say it involved Tish, a Michiganer who has Gone South; George, an antiques dealer, and Mel, a young girl who needs a friend or two. Meg Moseley writes with a really neat style, one that let me read her character's thoughts. I enjoyed that, as each characters viewpoint adds much depth to the story. Her descriptions are fresh and make you look again at the "ordinary" and see it in a new light. Isn't that a hallmark of good writing? I mean, I fell in love with Tish's house the first time it was described: "She stopped in the doorway, taking it in. Straight ahead, a hardwood floor and an elegant staircase, its dark bannister wrapped with Christmas greens. To the left, the corner of a graceful sideboard and dining room table. To the right, a room with hight ceilings and and tall narrow windows. A rich red Oriental carpet lay before a fireplace with a mahogany mantel and a marble hearth. Why, it was the parlor where her great-great-great-grandparents might have hung their wedding portrait. If the walls of the room could speak, their stories would weave connections between two Letitias, born generations apart." Oh yes... Tish and I would be friends... we are both drawn to that beautiful house! :-) Tish is a character we could all be friends with: she is brave and kind, resilient and hopeful. I loved getting to meet her, and run up the path to that old house with her. I am glad I was able to be Gone South. And now I must say: I tend to get attached to secondary characters in a book, especially when they are well drawn. Any chance we can have a sequel to tell Darren and Mel's story? Please?  Please? :-) Ok. Then I'll be eager to read your next novel, A Stillness of Chimes.