Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Spirit of Sweetgrass

The Spirit of Sweetgrass is on blog tour this week. I really enjoyed this novel. Great main character. Wonderful, fresh writing. The story has plenty of humor. There may be some issues that make you start wondering about the author's theology of heaven. Stick with the story and let it all play out before you make your judgments.

One note: this novel has gay supporting characters and makes no moral judgment about the lifestyle. That issue is not what this book chooses to focus on. I think this is true to life. Most of us have friends and/or relatives who are gay, and we simply love them. They may not agree with our belief on the subject; we may not agree with theirs. But we can still love each other, and our lives can still be happily intertwined.

Endorsement by Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides and other bestselling novels: "Nicole Seitz joins a long line of distinguished novelists who celebrate the rich culture of the Lowcountry of South Carolina. Like most of us from around here, she grew up watching the sweetgrass basket weavers who ply their ancient craft from Beaufort all the way up to Georgetown. She joins Josephine Humphries, Anne Rivers Siddons, Sue Monk Kidd, and Dorothea Benton Frank in her fascination with the Gullah culture. Her character, Essie Mae Laveau Jenkins, is worth the price of admission to The Spirit of Sweetgrass."

About the book:

Essie Mae Laveau Jenkins is a 78-year-old sweetgrass basket weaver who sits on the side of Hwy. 17 in the company of her dead husband, Daddy Jim.

Inspired by her Auntie Leona, Essie Mae finally discovers her calling in life and weaves powerful "love baskets," praying fervently over them to affect the lives of those who visit her roadside stand.

Relations are strained with her daughter Henrietta, who thinks Essie belongs in a retirement center. If Essie can't pay $10,000 in back taxes to save her home, she may have no choice. More tensions: her grandson EJ wants to marry a white girl, Essie discovers that a handsome man she's trying to find a girl for is gay, and her daughter carries a hidden secret.

When she's faced with losing her home and her stand and being put in a nursing home, Daddy Jim talks her into coming on up to Heaven to meet sweet Jesus--something she's always wanted to do.

The Spirit of Sweetgrass is published by Integrity, a division of Thomas Nelson.


Eileen Key said...

I reviewed Spirit. Interesting plot and twists! And yes, I'm intertwined with many I don't agree with, but I love 'em.

Nicole Seitz said...

Dear Brandilyn,

What a refreshing review...and from such a respected author. Thank you. It's clear that you actually "got" The Spirit of Sweetgrass. I appreciate your open mind.

Blessings on your writing!

T. Forkner said...

Looking forward to reading The Spirit of Sweetgrass.

Anonymous said...

It will be interesting to see how this sells. It's a surprising novel to come from a CBA publisher. I'm glad they're willing to experiment, but I'm skeptical of the results--unless they can reach a larger market of ABA readers.

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

I don't think a larger mass media of ABA readers is necessary. I loved the book, thought the premise was creative, and the you said Brandilyn...we have people like that in our lives. So do we sweep them under the rug and pretend that they don't exist.

I've already had to challenge several well-held beliefs about the Bible that simple are not true. so I've got big shoulders! *snort*...the book is great!

Rachelle said...

So glad you reviewed this book by one of "my" writers! (She says possessively.) I found this book refreshing and delightful on many levels. And let me tell you... Nicole's 2nd book is wonderful, too!