Delighted to review the short story collection by Mandy Haynes – Sharp as a Serpent’s Tooth: Eva and Other Stories.
About the collection
You’ll meet Eva, the young daughter of traveling Pentecostal preachers, who catches snakes while her parents hide behind the bible and a large wooden crate. Eva’s life changes when she makes her first friend and realizes there is more to life than fear.
In Plans for Sweet Lorraine, you’ll meet Lorraine’s mama, Cordelia – a fiery red-head with a temper to match, and a mind as sharp as the sting from a leather strap. She’ll do anything to keep her daughter safe. Even if she has to beat the devil himself.
Laurel, the young girl in The Day I Threw the Rock has no idea that she saved someone’s life, or that she may have killed someone to do it. She just knows that she should be allowed to wear overalls and play ball like the boys. Well, ain’t it true that she can throw a baseball harder and faster than Luke or John Randall? Just ask Sarah Rose’s Uncle…
Junebug Fischer is ready to set the record straight and let you know what really happened the summer she turned fifteen. It’s true, she killed someone, but she never killed nobody on purpose. That was purely accidental.
When Charlotte’s world is turned upside down, her aunt is there to put it back on its axis. Charlotte learns that everything she’s been told about her long lost aunt has been a lie, and her aunt teaches her many important lessons. The most important lesson is forgiveness. Cussing Snakes and Candy Cigarettes is proof that there’s magic all around us, all we have to do is open our hearts and minds.
My review for the book. 17th April 2021
These stories are written with the voice of the deep south of America of another age, where revival tents popped up on the edge of town, and folks filled the space with their passion and zeal. Nothing seems to be taboo as the congregation is inflamed by the words and the actions of the self-acclaimed saviour, whose power over snakes is used to demonstrate the righteousness of their words.
But what lies beneath the rousing and theatrical performances is not for the faint-hearted, and in particular the young girls whose stories we discover through the pages of this collection.
The scene is set with the first story, Eva, and it is a powerful reminder that the term preacher does not always bring with it benevolence and being a child of fanatics comes with a heavy price.
We follow other young women as they challenge the stereotyping of the time and culture to make their own way and to protect themselves from the intent of others. Particularly those who are held up as being moral guardians of the community or whose charm is irresistible. Sometimes loving support is at hand, but more often there is only their own inner strength to rely on.
The stories are absorbing and sometimes shocking but they are also inspirational and celebrate the triumph of friendship, motherhood, courage and love.
I recommend the stories to not only lovers of authentic Southern fiction but also readers who champion those who stand their ground and overcome adversity.
Also by Mandy Haynes.
About Mandy Haynes
Mandy Haynes has spent hours on barstools, at backstage venues, and riding in vans listening to some of the best songwriters and storytellers in Nashville, Tennessee. She now lives in Fernandina Beach, Florida with her three dogs, one turtle, and a grateful liver. Her first collection, Walking the Wrong Way Home was a finalist for the Tartt Fiction Award, and selected as a bonus pick for The Pulpwood Queens’ 2020 Reading List
Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed the review and will head over to check Mandy’s books out for yourselves.. thanks Sally.