My Sweet Vidalia

My Sweet Vidalia

by Deborah Mantella


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On July 4, 1955, in rural Georgia, an act of violence threatens the life of Vidalia Lee Kandal Jackson’s pre-born daughter. Despite the direst of circumstances, the spirit of the lost child refuses to leave her ill-equipped young mother's side.

For as long as she is needed—through troubled pregnancies, through poverty, through spousal abuse and agonizing betrayals—Cieli Mae, the determined spirit child, narrates their journey. Serving as a safe place and sounding board for Vidalia's innermost thoughts and confusions, lending a strength to her momma's emerging voice, Cieli Mae provides her own special brand of comfort and encouragement, all the while honoring the restrictions imposed by her otherworldly status.

Vidalia finds further support in such unlikely townsfolk and relations as Doc Feldman, Gamma Gert and her Wild Women of God, and, most particularly, in Ruby Pearl Banks, the kind, courageous church lady, who has suffered her own share of heartache in their small Southern town of yesteryear's prejudices and presumptions.

My Sweet Vidalia is wise and witty, outstanding for its use of vibrant, poetic language and understated Southern dialect, as well as Mantella's clear-eyed observations of race relations as human relations, a cast of unforgettable characters, an in-depth exploration of the ties that bind, and its creative perspective. My Sweet Vidalia is a rare, wonderful, and complex look at hope, strength, the unparalleled power of unconditional love, and a young mother's refusal to give up.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781630269593
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Publication date: 10/06/2015
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 314,209
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

A transplant to the South, Deborah Mantella has lived and taught in various cities in the Northeast and the Midwest. Now a resident of Georgia she lives outside Atlanta with her husband. Mantella is a member of the Atlanta Writers Club, the Authors Guild, and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. This is her first novel.

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My Sweet Vidalia 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
gmparkes More than 1 year ago
From the very first page, I loved this novel, set in rural Georgia, 1955. The writing was wonderful, there are characters we can all relate to, both good and bad, you know the adage, we all know someone like that. The premise is interesting in that the narrator is a still-born child, yet it is not maudlin. This book is about love, resilience, vengeance, family secrets, innocence lost, the cycle of domestic abuse, hope, a touch of race relations in the South and more. I highly recommend this outstanding debut novel, for both its beautiful storytelling, wonderful sentences to reflect upon and character development!
teachlz More than 1 year ago
Kudos to Deborah Mantella on her amazing and descriptive storytelling in "My Sweet Vidalia" by Deborah Mantella. I received a copy of this book for an honest review. This is a most unusual and intriguing novel. The genres for this book are Fiction, Women's Fiction and also has a Magical and Paranormal feel to it. The story takes place in rural Georgia around 1955. In this book, the story is narrated by Cieli Mae, a baby that was still born to Vidalia Lee Kandal Jackson. Vidalia's husband caused her to lose the baby through violent means. Cieli Mae survives in spirit and serves as a guide, conscience,support system, and storytelling of Vidalia . These were hard times and there was poverty and discrimination. The descriptions of the trailer park, and the lack of conveniences were heartbreaking. I find that the author describes the characters as complex and complicated. There seems to be a contrast in good and evil. Some of the characters have deep secrets. There is betrayal and loyalty. I appreciate the way the author describes family, friends, love and hope. To quote the author, the spirit always has a choice.". I would highly recommend this amazing novel told in a different perspective. I look forward to reading more from Deborah Mantella.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings An interesting book that is very different from what I normally read as a stillborn baby that is still "haunting" her mother is narrating this story from a different perspective. Cieli Mae unfortunately didn't make it during birth, but she stays with her mother to help her and provides the reader with a perspective into this family. I can honestly say I have never read a book with this type of a character providing the story and I went back and forth enjoying her point of view and being off put by it. At the same time the cause of her death was hard to read and as it continued through the story, I was definitely talking out loud to Vidalia hoping she could make some major decisions for her and her family. Sorry being vague - don't want to reveal too much!
page-turner123 More than 1 year ago
Excellent book! A beautiful story of love between a mother and daughter as the spirit of Vidalia's child guides her through a labyrinth of poverty, abuse and dysfunction. A dark topic dealt with in an uplifting way - poetic writing and a solid plot make Mantella's first novel a winner
Pearlique More than 1 year ago
My Sweet Vidalia opens with short, powerful jabs of character and never lets up. From the moment father-of-the-bride Clyde Royce Kandal notices his new son-in-law pouring two quarts of white lightning into the Kool Aid wedding punch and responds by quietly slipping a short-barreled pistol into the bride’s hand, I knew more about those characters than so few words warranted. When the teenaged Vidalia just as quietly slides the pistol, “her only dowry of sorts, into the side pocket of her borrowed wedding smock” I knew I had to follow these people through whatever dark doings were simmering. Mid-Twentieth Century rural Georgia is fertile ground for villains steeped in ignorance and prone to violence, but in Deborah Mantella’s hands it also raises up heroines like the Wild Women of God at the River of Hope Springs Eternal Church and Pool Hall. Unexpected friends, from ex-Suffragette Pickett Dandy to strong and ever-so-wise Ruby Pearl Banks who was widowed by a lynching, join forces to help Vidalia stand up to the most evil literary character I’ve run across since Blue Duck in Lonesome Dove. The staunchest help springs from the most ethereal of characters, Cieli Mae, Vidalia’s spirit child who also narrates the events with unexpected wit, even hilarity. Don’t miss this one!