Summer in the South

Summer in the South

by Cathy Holton
3.5 15


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Summer in the South by Cathy Holton

Cathy Holton, author of the popular Beach Trip, returns with an intriguing and mysterious tale of dark deeds and family secrets in a small Southern town.

After a personal tragedy, Chicago writer Ava Dabrowski quits her job to spend the summer in Woodburn, Tennessee, at the invitation of her old college friend Will Fraser and his two great-aunts, Josephine and Fanny Woodburn. Her charming hosts offer Ava a chance to relax at their idyllic ancestral estate, Woodburn Hall, while working on her first novel. 

But Woodburn is anything but quiet: Ancient feuds lurk just beneath its placid surface, and modern-day rivalries emerge as Ava finds herself caught between the competing attentions of Will and his black-sheep cousin Jake. Fascinated by the family’s impressive history—their imposing house filled with treasures, and their mingling with literary lions Fitzgerald, Hemingway, and Faulkner—Ava stumbles onto rumors about the darker side of the Woodburns’ legacy. Putting aside her planned novel, she turns her creative attentions to the eccentric and tragic clan, a family with more skeletons (and ghosts) in their closets than anyone could possibly imagine. As Ava struggles to write the true story of the Woodburns, she finds herself tangled in the tragic history of a mysterious Southern family whose secrets mirror her own. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345506016
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/24/2011
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Cathy Holton is the author of Beach Trip, Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes and The Secret Lives of the Kudzu Debutantes. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Summer in the South 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
kherbrand More than 1 year ago
Ava and Will have been friends for many years. He has been inviting her to visit his home since they got out of college. One day he catches her during a crisis and she accepts his invitation to come South and stay with his aunts to work on her novel. She arrives in Woodburn and it is like entering another world. People are friendly and unhurried. Everybody knows everybody's history, and you have to read between the lines of what they say to get to what they really mean. Ava is definitely different. She doesn't dress like the women in the South. She is very direct with what she says. But the biggest difference is that she really doesn't know anything about her family outside of her mother. They traveled a lot when Ava was a child and never really settled down. Her mother told her that her father died when she was ten. I think this is the reason that she becomes so enthralled with the Woodburn family. Their history goes back for generations and the aunts, Josephine and Fanny have kept a lot of it right in the house where she is staying. There are journals and photographs, and they just ignite the writer in her. Somewhere along the way she meets Jake. He is from the "bad" side of the Woodburn family. He looks a lot like Will, but with dark hair and dark eyes. Where she has never really felt an attraction to Will, she feels an attraction to Jake. Jake is also more willing to talk about some of the tragedies in the family's past than Will and his aunts. All of the talk about the family and the mysteries gave this book a very Gothic feel to me. I kept expecting some dark magic to surface to make Ava become posessed with one of the spirits/souls of the older generation. I know, nothing like this happens! There are just times when the spirits seem to come alive in the story. You learn about what really happened in the past through flashbacks. Meanwhile, as Ava is trying to discover what really happened in the past, she finds herself in between Will and Jake and the bad history that they share - which neither is very forthcoming about. I enjoyed this book except for one thing. Ava had sleep paralysis throughout - something she had had as a child. I am not quite sure what to make of those scenes or what we were supposed to take away from them. I do see the possibility for completely new books based on some of the characters from this one though.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't particularly care for books that flip and and forth in time I did manage to keep up with the story. I like stories that take place in TN. I also like the whole who done it thing happening. I did not figure it out and I like that in a book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was an okay read. I thought for sure it was going to be "outstanding" but it wasn't. It wasn't horrible but certainly not what I expected. Disappointed I spent my money for my birthday on it.
the-PageTurner More than 1 year ago
I kept waiting for this book to get as good as the reviews said it was- but it never happened- I never "got" it.
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Rena Wood More than 1 year ago
Grab a tall glass of sweet tea, find a shaded porch swing, as Ava becomes lost in the family secrets of the Woodburn lives both past and prresent. If you enjoyed 'THE HELP' you will not be able to close this book! A must read for fans of Southern writers!
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1931 at the Purdy Funeral Home in Tennessee, Josephine Woodburn identifies the corpse of her brother-in-law Charles Woodburn. Sherriff Gillespie declares it an accidental drowning due to alcohol though the body was excessively battered, but no one challenges the powerful Woodburn clan. In 1998, Ava Dabrwoski mourns the death of her mother though they were estranged. Former college classmate Will Fraser invites Ava to spend time with his great aunts at Woodburn estate where she can write her novel. She accepts as Ava met Aunts Josephine and Fanny at the college graduation where she learned Will had broken off his engagement. Josephine, Fanny, the latter's spouse Maitland and their neighbors Clara and Alice welcome Ava as they enjoy toddy time. Will kisses her, but she says to slow down as she has just come out of a bad relationship. Later she meets his cousin Fraser Baron. Over the next few weeks, Ava feels welcomed but has written nothing. Will remains patient but obviously wants Ava. They join Fanny and Mait at the cemetery where Ava leans that Fanny's first husband was Charles Woodbridge who died during the Depression. Ava begins to learn her hosts' family led a regional caste system and starts to novelize it. The upper class world of the south during the Depression and in 1998 is fully described as seen through the eyes and ears of the outsider Ava the narrator. The vividness of the two different eras at times slows down the tale though that sets the mood of a leisure Summer in the South. Although some elements seem to vanish; for instance a paranormal incident, readers will enjoy this engaging look at the south circa 1930s and over six decades later.