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Name: Jenny
Fishersville, VA
Favorite genre:
southern fiction, chick lit, mystery
Favorite authors:
Sarah Addison Allen, Jodi Picoult, Lee Smith, Tess Gerritsen
Favorite books:
Plain Truth, The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Violets of March, Garden Spells, Body Double, The Sinner, Fair and Tender Ladies

Who doesn't love a good Southern story? The region of the country BookPage calls home is ripe for wacky personalities, gorgeous settings and good-old-fashioned storytelling. There are so many books we could recommend for people who love this genre.

Up first? Try Mudbound by Hillary Jordan (Jordan's October release, When She Woke, is one of our 25 most anticipated books for fall). Mudbound was the recipient of the 2006 Bellwether Prize, the award founded and funded by Barbara Kingsolver. Mudbound is about a woman trying to raise her family on a farm in the Mississippi Delta in the 1940s. Her story is intertwined with that of her bigoted father-in-law, her husband's younger brother and the son of black sharecroppers. This is a beautifully written book, the "unforgettable tale of family loyalties, the spiraling after-effects of war and the unfathomable human behavior generated by racism" (quote from the March 2008 issue of BookPage).

For a Southern story that might also appeal to your love of mystery, read Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin—one of BookPage's Top 40 Books of 2010. The story takes place in a run-down town in rural Mississippi, where a couple of men cross paths again after a brief childhood friendship 20 years in the past. One, Silas Jones, is a black cop. The other, Larry Ott, is white and a creepy loner who loves horror novels. He’s also suspected of playing a part in the disappearance of a young woman. This thriller is written with the finesse of the best literary fiction.

On the zanier side, we recommend Eating the Cheshire Cat by Helen Ellis, a debut that tracks the lives of three Southern girls all the way to the homecoming queen throne at the University of Alabama. Think wicked personalities, back-stabbing, social climbing . . . and a lot of dark fun.

What books do you think Jenny should read, based on her list of favorites?

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