- Paperback: 248 pages
- Publisher: Koehler Books (April 1, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1938467272
- ISBN-13: 978-1938467271
This book is also available as an e-book.
From a Reconstruction-era turpentine and logging industry to the decaying ruins of a doomed plantation with its dying social system, THE BEQUEST OF BIG DADDY (Koehler Books; April 2013) is evocative of all that was wrong in the post-Civil War South. A generational saga that spans pre-Civil War days through the 20th century, THE BEQUEST OF BIG DADDY is a grand tale of betrayal, separations and reunions. The Big Daddy of the title—and the main character in this novel—is an archetype of the infamous Southern patriarch.
At its heart, this is a story of a man born to Southern Aristocracy then reduced to peasantry, who spawns an empire of outcasts, heroes and heroines—among them a great grand-daughter who is determined to learn the truth about her kin’s hushed, painful past.
The story is set in motion at the deathbed of Ratio Jansen, a crusty patriarch with an infamous background, a hair-trigger temper and a feisty great grand-daughter named Jo-Dee. From the shocking gossip she overhears at his funeral, Jo-Dee is determined to plumb the murky past as the protective skin of Ratio’s story falls away.
Will she betray her great-grandfather and disgrace the family name, or will she preserve his shameful secret? Will Ratio’s spirit claim her even from the grave? Sometimes a bit of violence in the family is a good thing.
My take on this book:
In the "Bequest Of Big Daddy" a story that opens in the summer of 1953. We meet Jo-Dee and her father as they are what turns out to be the final visit to Horatio "Ratio" Gage Janson also known as Big Daddy, who is essentially on his deathbed. A few weeks later he dies and we meet several of the extend family at the funeral, and when inquisitive Jo-Dee overhears something at the funeral it sets her on a journey of finding answers, and knocking a few proverbial skeletons out of Big Daddy's closet, but will she share what she or allow family secrets to remain just that a secret?
It isn't often that I read a book where the author's writing has me laughing within the first few pages but "The Bequest Of Big Daddy" did just that. Now let me say, that this isn't a comedy by any stretch of the word, but it was the way the author allowed me to see and hear things thru the eyes and ears of Jo-Dee that was funny. Some of the comments that she repeated that her mother Kate made about "Big Daddy' was just over the top funny. I would have to say southern fiction is one of my favorite genres to read, and when the story takes us back in time, especially around the time period of the civil war it's even better. I really felt like Jo-Ann Costa did an amazing job of pulling us back to the mid 1800's , her descriptive writing brought the historical aspects as well as the contemporary portions of the story to life.As "Big Daddy's" story unfolded he became a larger than life figure for me, I could easily envision him.Overall, interesting characters, a southern flavor, along with an intriguing story made this a top notch read for me, and I think anyone who enjoys historical southern fiction with a bit of mystery, that also deals with family issues will enjoy "The Bequest of Big Daddy " as well. On a scale of one to five I would easily give this one a six, because it's just that good!
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About Jo-Ann Costa
Jo-Ann Costa studied her craft at the knees of her clannish Alabama kin, who are among the most accomplished at fabricating outlandish tales. Thus trained as a storyteller, Ms. Costa honed her compelling voice while serving in executive roles for a mega-corporation founded by the late Howard Hughes. While there, and with higher stakes, she invented tales of a different sort. Since then, Ms. Costa has once again deployed her trademark spin with her debut novel, THE BEQUEST OF BIG DADDY.
Visit the author’s website at www.jo-anncosta.com.