Life in the James family is a struggle–and it’s about to get worse.
Proud generations of Jameses sat atop the Lamoyne economic and social ladder, but now they are left with only a failing pecan orchard, the subjects of quiet whispers and veiled ridicule. As they enter the tumultuous 1960s, eleven-year-old Tallulah strives to shield the James name and hold her family together. But her parent’s volatile relationship, erratic behavior, and hands-off approach to rearing their four children is never-ending fuel to the fire.
When betrayal and death arrive hand in hand, Tallulah takes to the road, headed to what turns out to be the not-so-promised land of California. She reinvents herself, but her scars run deep; she settles for security when complete happiness remains out of reach. And then, the secret that set her family on the path to destruction comes back to roost and Tallulah must risk her hard won security to save a beloved brother.
Booklist Starred Review:
In the late 1960s, Tallulah James left her tiny Mississippi hometown for California, hoping that she would never have to return. But when her younger brother is arrested for murder in 1972, she leaves her new life behind and returns home, where she is forced to confront decades’ worth of family secrets. A series of flashbacks reveals Tallulah’s volatile childhood: her mother’s flippant neglect of her children in favor of a series of political causes, her father’s untreated mental illness, and the small-town gossip that ostracizes the entire James family. Tallulah’s only ally, both during her teen years and upon her return, is Ross Saenger. Now a respected (and well-connected) psychiatrist in New Orleans, Ross steps in to help exonerate Tallulah’s brother—and helps Tallulah come to terms with her family’s legacy. The dual narrative works, allowing Tallulah’s backstory to unfurl in unexpected ways and drawing out the tension of her current life. Crandall (The Flying Circus, 2015) explores both the long-lasting effects of family dysfunction and the strength it takes to move beyond childhood trauma in this compelling, atmospheric coming-of-age story ideal for fans of southern women’s fiction by Sue Monk Kidd and Karen White. — Nanette Donohue
What people are saying:
“The Myth of Perpetual Summer is as fully satisfying a read as sweet tea on a hot summer day, and as deeply uncomfortable as a mosquito on a mission. Its characters drag the reader deep into the heart of a Southern summer and a family desperate to perpetuate a myth of sunshine and laughter from behind a dark, dark cloud of storm.” (read full review) –Cresta McGowan, Goodreads reader
“In The Myth of Perpetual Summer, Susan Crandall introduces us to Tallulah James, a woman who fled her the tragedies of her Southern childhood only to be drawn back to save the brother she left behind. Crandall, long known as a master for her works such as Whistling Past the Graveyard, blends with virtuoso skill the themes of loss and redemption, love and hope, while answering the question we all ask ourselves: Can we indeed go home again? Fans of Joshilyn Jackson should run for this stunner of a book.” – Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan’s Tale
“Beautifully written and deeply satisfying. A heartfelt story of love, loss, and the twists and turns a life can take. Susan Crandall once again delivers a character you’ll root for on a journey you won’t soon forget.” – Wendy Wax, USA Today bestselling author of Best Beach Ever
“The Myth of Perpetual Summer is a fully imagined coming-of-age novel both heartbreaking and inspiring. Tallulah James is as endearing as she is indelible, a worthy heroine to anchor this story of family dysfunction, social unrest, and a girl’s journey to womanhood. Susan Crandall has done it again, and this stunning book is sure to attract fans of The Glass Castle as well as readers everywhere looking for a remarkable story of hope, perseverance, and the enduring power of family.” – Karen White, New York Times bestselling author of Dreams of Falling
“The Myth of Perpetual Summer is a wonderfully crafted, poignant, and absorbing novel.” – Mary Ellen Taylor, author of The Union Street Bakery
“A gorgeously-crafted story of a young women caught between the old South and new, her bohemian upbringing and the old guard, and finally between the lies that destroyed a family and the truth that will stitch them back together. The Perpetual Myth of Summer is the kind of luminous, immersive book that will haunt you days after you’ve finished reading.” – Emily Carpenter, author of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls
“Family secrets, town gossip, and a glass of sweet tea make for the most delicious of Southern tales! Susan Crandall takes us on another spell-binding ride to small-town Mississippi and straight into the heart of Tallulah James who loves her family no matter how flawed or broken.” – Susan Gregg Gilmore, author of Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen
Listen to the music of Tallulah’s journey on Spotify!
It's the stormy sixties and eleven-year-old Tallulah James is in the eye of the hurricane.
Her parents’ volatile relationship, erratic behavior, and hands-off approach to child rearing set tongues to wagging in their staid Mississippi town, complicating her already uncertain life. She takes the responsibility of shielding her family’s reputation and raising her younger twin siblings onto her youthful shoulders.
If not for the emotional constants of the family pecan orchard, her older brother Griff, and her old guard Southern grandmother, she would be lost. When betrayal and death arrive hand in hand, she takes to the road to reinvent herself, headed to what turns out to be the not-so-promised land of Southern California. Seven years later, her world is again shattered and she’s forced to return home to be the family rescuer once again. Finally, she learns the truth of the terrible tragedy that set her family on the path to ruin, and discovers that no matter how far you go, you can't outrun yourself.
Publisher: Gallery Books / Simon & Schuster
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Format: , Paperback, eBook
Pages: 320ISBN: 9781501172014
Copyright © 2018 Susan Crandall