Mount Holly Plantation, 1856-2015

Outside of my hometown, the antebellum mansion at the old Mount Holly Plantation burned last night.  Only the bricks remain.  It was a truly beautiful place by all accounts, lovely in its decay.  I regret that I never got around to paying a visit.

It was, of course, built by enslaved people, using bricks made by the enslaved.  None of the mourning posts on the local Facebook feeds are saying much about that today.  I wonder: what would the workmen have thought?  Would they have been sorrowful, full of loss for their creation?  Would they be quietly satisfied, pleased that Miss Anne could for once not have things all her way?  Or would they be indifferent, only calculating on the work and suffering they would be put to for this?

My review of A Curse Upon the Saints by J. Rutger Madison for KBR

NOTE: The Kindle Book Review received a free copy of this book for an independent, fair, and honest review. We are not associated with the author or Amazon.

As a Mississippi sf/f author, I am perhaps biased by my delight at finding another one. This was only the first thing to delight me about Madison’s book. A Curse Upon the Saints is a dark, rugged fantasy, the first block of book laid down for an edifice of epic. This is a world shattered by religious war and interspecies rivalries. The vicious goat-men who appear in the first pages of the novel, the Sarbarah, are demonically cruel, but not entirely without honor or tenderness. The most appealing of the protagonists – a lawyer, of all people, who is enslaved by an invading army of Sarbarah – is allowed to survive because he happens to play the flute. Through his patience and cunning, he manages to purvey this tiny influence into a perilous position of power.

The author cheerfully acknowledges the influence of George R.R. Martin in this sprawling work. The depth of intrigue and worldbuilding make this the same kind of addictive setting as Westeros. The dialogue could have used some polishing, and the various sniping factions are often confusing, but this is not enough to keep one from turning the pages. I would give this 4 1/2 stars if I could, and I look forward to seeing more.

Henbit deadnettle

Henbit (Lamium amplexicaule) is not much of a flower.

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It grows wild most everywhere it can in the Southeast. It does not have a floral scent, although it smells pleasant in a green sort of way if you push a bunch up to your nose. It is edible in a pinch, and it supplies bees for honey-gathering, but its main use is to turn untended greenspace a purplish color in the early spring.

This past week, I visited my home in Mississippi again, where, for two glorious days, I did not need a jacket. I became obsessed with gathering henbit in the great, wet, squelchy fields, a new bouquet each day. For a mild form of therapy, I recommend it. No one is going to run out of henbit.

Henbit is an unwatched hope. Nobody waits for the henbit, as they do for the crocus or daffodil. Yet each year it arrives without fail or fanfare. I never knew I missed it dearly, and aspired to be surrounded by as much.

This is a cat photo on the internet

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My mother sent it along.
I miss the cat, I do.  What I didn’t realize I missed so much is the sight of the spines of those books.  Those books have been in and about my parents’ house since I was a girl.  
Eyelids of Morning: The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men, by Alistair Graham.
Fevers, Floods and Faith: A History of Sunflower County, Mississippi 1844-1976, by Marie Hemphill.
Lost Delta Found: Rediscovering the Fisk University-Library of Congress Coahoma County Study, 1941-1942, by John W. Work et al.
The Northern World: The History and Heritage of Northern Europe, by Fell and Wilson (eds.)

It is a privilege to have such a home somewhere to miss.