The books Southern indie booksellers are recommending to readers everywhere!

Southern Fiction

Groundskeeping by Lee Cole

Every character in this book felt so much like someone I’ve known. I have lived most of my life in southern college towns, where professors and liberal arts types live in tense bubbles amidst a sea of religious conservatism and working class anti-intellectualism. This familiar setting forms the backdrop of Lee Cole’s debut novel Groundskeeping, which is at its heart a love story between Owen and Alma, from two very different backgrounds. But more than a simple love story it is also a pitch perfect exploration of the nuanced ways race and class form the boundaries of relationships in these communities. I laughed, I cheered, I cringed with recognition, I shared the characters’ pains and sorrows, and I absolutely could not put this book down.

Groundskeeping by Lee Cole, (List Price: $28, Knopf, 9780593320501,  March 2022)

Reviewed by  Josh Niesse from Underground Books in Carrollton, GA

Black Cloud Rising by David Wright Falade

I’ve never before encountered a novel to plunge me into the heart of the Civil War like this. As the War still rages, a Black Union Brigade is formed of recently freed slaves. Dick, semi-acknowledged son of a slave and her master, is an honest and eloquent observer of slave-master relations. Now he fights for Gen. Edward Wild, leading the hunt for rebel fighters as he steels himself to clash with his former master. I felt all of Dick’s emotional journey as he progressed from slave to wartime leader and beyond. The Outer Banks setting for much of the action is beautifully portrayed.

Black Cloud Rising by David Wright Falade, (List Price: $27.00, Grove Press, 9780802159199, February 2022)

Reviewed by Rosemary Pugliese, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Cafe, Asheville, North Carolina

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