In High Cotton
Southern women may look as delicate as flowers, but there's iron in their veins.
While the rest of the world has been roaring through the 1920s, times are hardscrabble in rural Georgia, where folks are still climbing out from the War of Northern Aggression. The small farm hamlet of Rivers End doesn’t have much to recommend it. A grocery, the dry goods, a bar-slash-gas station, movie theater, train depot and two churches— a Catholic and Methodist. The Baptists use the Methodist church and a traveling minister. But to those who live there, dilapidated as it may be, it’s home.
Widow Maggie Parker is barely surviving while raising her young son alone. Then as banks begin to fail, her father-in-law threatens to take her son and sell off her livelihood - the grocery store her husband left her. Can five Southern women band together, using their wisdom and wiles to outsmart him and survive the Great Depression?
Meet the ladies of Rivers End:
At fifty-two, Sadie Moreland is half Cherokee and knows the horrors of discrimination. When Maggie saved her life during the Spanish flu epidemic, she vowed to protect and mentor her.
Maggie's pampered sister, Duchess Alden, found herself in a precarious position when her Yankee husband lost everything in the stock market crash. Nowhere else to turn, she comes home to Rivers End and Maggie.
Maggie's sweet mother-in-law, Faylene Parker, married for duty, knowing her husband never loved her. A victim of the 1916 polio pandemic, she's confined to a wheelchair. Her only spark of sunshine is Maggie and her grandson.
Then there's Pinkie Yates, who got herself in the family way, trying to escape her drunken, abusive father. When Maggie's nine-year-old son finds Pinkie beaten and battered in a field near the railroad tracks, he plays Good Samaritan and brings her home.
On Goose Island
Goose Island simmers with secrets, from pirates to haunts.
When the jobs dry up in Atlanta in 1930, Dorie Cartwright is forced to move home … to the place she swore saw the last of her when she left. She moves in with her mute Auntie Flo and her mama, Anna, who can't admit they're destitute. Granddaughters of a plantation owner-turned sharecropper, Anna lives in a fantasy world of wealth while Flo lives in a world of silence. This backwater, low country village holds no interest for a modern girl like Dorie. Then, she runs into the island's young preacher, Everett Bascomb … literally. She reluctantly takes a job typing his sermons and the village newsletter he publishes to pay for the damage she did to his car. When her childhood best friend, Millie Anderson, also returns to town, they decide to start a fishing camp for tourists to bring some much-needed money to Goose Island. But Dorie needs the help of crusty old Gladys Horton, the daughter of a legendary Gullah fisherman. Dorie, Millie, and Gladys gather a ragtag group of friends to bring a semblance of normalcy back onto Goose Island. It's during the refurbishing of an old, dilapidated cottage near the beach, that Dorie finds the secret of her aunt's muteness, the value of friendship, and the strength of her faith.
By the Sweet Gum
Ginny is one of the few girls who didn't leave town for the lure of the big city. She loves her parents and their small mill town of Sweetgum, Georgia. Most of all, she loves baseball and one player in particular. When the Great Depression sends her friends back to Sweetgum in droves, the mill can't hire them all, and only the men retain their jobs. One night, a fire breaks out and half the town burns. Ginny's parents' boarding house doesn't fare unscathed. The kitchen is destroyed along with two other rooms. The biggest loss is Ginny's parents, who die trying to help put out the fire. Setting her own grief aside for now, Ginny must help provide housing for the displaced families. Her closest friends, each with their own problems to overcome, rally around to help her rebuild, since the men are busy repairing the mill. As they help Ginny rebuild the kitchen and reopen the boarding house, they find strength in their friendship and faith in God.