★ Book Review ★ MY SWEET VIDALIA by Deborah Mantella!

About the Book:

by Deborah Mantella

• Paperback: 272 pages
• Publisher: Turner
• Publication Date: October 6, 2015


On July 4, 1955, in rural Georgia, an act of violence threatens the life of Vidalia Lee Kandal Jackson’s pre-born daughter. Despite the direst of circumstances, the spirit of the lost child refuses to leave her ill-equipped young mother’s side.

For as long as she is needed–through troubled pregnancies, through poverty, through spousal abuse and agonizing betrayals–Cieli Mae, the determined spirit child, narrates their journey. Serving as a safe place and sounding board for Vidalia’s innermost thoughts and confusions, lending a strength to her momma’s emerging voice, Cieli Mae provides her own special brand of comfort and encouragement, all the while honoring the restrictions imposed by her otherworldly status.

My Sweet Vidalia is a rare, wonderful, and complex look at hope, strength, the unparalleled power of unconditional love, and a young mother’s refusal to give up.


“My Sweet Vidalia is a unique, enchanting read. Exquisite language, a cast of robust characters, and a solid and compelling plot keeps readers captivated as Mantella straddles the thin line between poetry and prose, reality and ether, fragility and strength. With a deft and gentle hand, she navigates us through the travails of an impoverished young mother guided by her intrepid spirit child.”– Susan Crawford,  Author of The Pocket Wife

Cove Member Cheryl Reviews—

This book was interesting taking place in the late 50s, early 60s in the Deep South. A woman, Vidalia, has a shotgun wedding to JB and her life becomes a mess. JB doesn't want children and he's very abusive. After he beat her, she has a still born child, a baby girl. Vidalia continues to become pregnant and loses her children because of JB's abuse, but eventually she does have two sets of twins, both boys. 
She still has to tolerate JB's drinking problems, his inability to hold a job and his abuse. What makes this story different is it's told by her first still born baby girl, who is with Vidalia in spirit form. 
There are a few turns in the book, which were not foreseen. The book is told through the Old South dialect; it makes the story more folksy and original.  
In the end, the book has a hopeful ending for Vidalia, and her still born daughter eventually goes forward to her rightful place in heaven.


About the Author:

A transplant to the South, Deborah Mantella has lived and taught in various cities in the Northeast and the Midwest. Now a resident of Georgia she lives outside Atlanta with her husband. Mantella is a member of the Atlanta Writers Club, the Authors Guild, and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. This is her first novel.

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