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Vera Jane Cook

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The Story of Sassy Sweetwater
by Vera Jane Cook   

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Books by Vera Jane Cook
· Dancing Backward in Paradise
· Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem
· Lies a River Deep
                >> View all



Publisher:  Musa Publishing ISBN-10:  9781619370272 Type: 


Copyright:  Jan. 20, 2012

Sassy Sweetwater struggles to survive the sins of her family while fate plays havoc with her future, and maturity comes with a price.

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After thirteen years on the run Violet McLaughlin returns to Carter’s Crossing, South Carolina, in 1962, with her young daughter, Sassy. The Crossing is right outside of Beaufort and the turmoil of the Civil Rights movement will forever leave its scars on the young and impressionable girl. As Sassy stands before the imposing white farmhouse for the first time, with no knowledge of her history but that the McLaughlin’s are her kin, Sassy begins a journey that will tear her apart before it heals her. Growing up among secrets that will forever damage her relationship with her mother, she attempts to make sense of her past. But will her passion for art and her love for Thomas Tierney be enough to sustain her future? Will the puzzles she must solve to discover who she is be worth the journey?


Mama said I was born by a stream named Sweetwater. She called me Sassy the moment she realized I was a girl. Mama said girls should be sassy, gives them sex appeal. So I was named Sassy, after an attitude, and Sweetwater, after a stream. The year was 1949 and the place was a dirty back road shack in a dusty little town in South Carolina. Mama never could remember the name of the town but she told me that it might have been Cottageville, or maybe even Ridgeville. Didn’t matter much what it was called though. I never saw it again, and as far as I knew, Mama didn’t either.

Some people think a grey tumultuous sky is an omen of discontent, especially if one’s entry into this world is shadowed by blustery clouds and thunder’s emphatic roar. But my mama said that heaven welcomed my birth with great horns blowing and mighty cymbals clashing, and omens sent by mighty seers bring the blessings of miracles, not the doom of devils.

“Gave you its grey,” she said. “Passed it right on to you.”

I always knew she meant my eyes, grey as the weather on the day I was born, and sometimes showing up hazel when the sun confronts the gloom and demands I show some color.

“Gave you its temperament too, and its mystery, girl. Women need a little mystery. That’s what turns a man’s head. Beauty has nothing to do with anything more than that.”

It always sounded like the great God Poseidon was my father the way my mama tells it. Where else could I have come from? No man ever came forth and claimed me as his own. Not that I didn’t wonder who my father was but when I asked I always got the same reply.

"You came from the sky, Sassy Sweetwater, clear as the stream I bathed you in, fierce as the wind that blew away the storm, the one that welcomed you here with great aplomb, and tender as the aftermath of nature’s roar."

In other words, I was born an ambiguous bastard by a stream in South Carolina and my seventeen year old mama was not about to tell me whose handsome smile had won her over. He was obviously too young or too old to pay for his mistake. I would find out one day, of course. When you ask as many questions as I did, the answers come at you eventually. My birth was a riddle and I wanted my mama to connect me to some kind of heritage I could claim as my own, but she only gave me new conundrums to chase down. It should have been enough, there’s nothing wrong with chasing around after answers you don’t have, it’s how hard you’re hit with them when they fly back and knock you down.

Professional Reviews

Raven Rating: 5

"The Story of Sassy Sweetwater" by Vera Jane Cook was a excellent read. This story was one that was one I couldn't put down until I had finished I read all nite long ... (smile).

Sassy (meaning....attitude and Sweetwater..a stream.... was a very strong, desirous,and daring person. How this author was able to present such a well written novel was simply amazing....dealing with a young Sassy trying to understand the grown ups in her life....mainly her mother...going from one relationship to another...then returning home... to Carter's Crossing, South Carolina.....where Sassy remained there until the end... then it was France.

The story shows Sassy trying to understand these people around her...her mom(Violet) and the dignified relatives that were now in her life. Going from adolescence to adult we are able to see the paths that were taken .... many times being sad to happiness back to sad again....but what Sassy Sweetwater wanted more than life was to just be Happy. Was that possible for her? What about her paintings? There were so many things that were hidden and not talked about... to find out just what they were you will have to pick up this great read to find out what all was involved with secrets...involving Sassys' mom and grandfather..... you will also finds other secrets too!

Ms. Cook worked her magic in bringing out Sassy emotions to the audience. The writing was very well written and each of the characters were brought to life in this great read....Dudley, Earline, Patrick, Thomas Tierney, Kyle, Aunt Peg, Charlotte, grandma Edna, Aunt El (Elvira), Connie, Guy Grissom, Uncle Seth, Aaron, Richard Sweetwater, Earline, Uncle Austin, Erin, Carolyn (maid), Franklin, Pike, James Leroy, Liam, Seamus McLaughlin, Jeremy, Clint, Marjean, Betsy Lou, Wm.( Dixie) Craft.......let's not forget the dogs, June-bug, Foxy, and Abelle...and I am sure I left some out... that I know you will find in the great read. These characters really made this a well understood novel.

"The Story of Sassy Sweetwater" is on a real journey that while you are on it you willfind out just what Sassy needed most in her life. Will Sassy be able to get this in the end? I found this novel a excellent novel and I would recommend this as a good read for the Adult audience.

Loved this story
Vera Jane Cook has quickly become one my favorite writers. Her stories are always interesting and lively and The Story of Sassy Sweetwater is no exception.

In this book we follow the journey of Sassy Sweetwater as she grows and matures from a child to a woman. What a ride it is! Sassy's life is fully of ups and downs but through it all she stays sweet and endearing. She is a strong and passionate character and she always seems to find a way to prevail.

If you love strong, character-driven stories you'll love The Story of Sassysweetwater.

Great story March 18, 2012 By kmusings
This book follows Sassy Sweetwater from a young, naive girl to a strong, passionate and adventurous woman. I was drawn in right from the start. The book is written in Sassy's own words as she struggles to understand her mother who moved from relationship to relationship looking for something. After years of living this way, Sassy's mother finally returns to her roots in Carter's Crossing, South Carolina. What seemed so foreign to Sassy when she arrived, quickly becomes a home she can never leave.

We see her struggle to understand her mother and the relationship she has with her estranged family. Sassy takes on her mother's pain as her own. We watch her struggle through adolescence to maturity finding her own path, which is littered with strife and sadness and glimmers of great happiness. She desires nothing more than to find someone to love and to love her back just as passionately.

I really enjoyed how the author brought Sassy Sweetwater to life. You can almost hear her southern drawl as you read her words. The characters are richly created and bring the story even more to life. Other than Sassy, my favorite character was Grandma Edna. This woman starts out as someone who seems untouchable, and turns out to be Sassy's greatest champion. She has so many facets, like a true southern lady who married young and to a very volatile man, she finds her own way of taking control of things and people around her and still keep her charm.

Anyone looking for a solid story of life, its ups and downs with great female characters would really enjoy this book.

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