Book Of The Week, 13th September 2021

Nathan Harris, The Sweetness of Water Tinderpress, 2021
HB, £16.99

After the Civil War, brothers Prentiss and Landry seek refuge on the homestead of George Walker and his wife, Isabelle. The Walkers, suffering from the loss of their only son to the war, hire the brothers to work their farm. This new unexpected arrival sparks some hope that they might develop a friendship that would help with their grief.

Meanwhile, the brothers plan to save money for the journey north and a chance to reunite with their mother, who was sold away when they were boys.

Parallel to their story runs a forbidden romance between two Confederate soldiers. The young men, recently returned from the war to the town of Old Ox, hold their trysts in the woods. But when their secret is discovered, the resulting chaos, including a murder, unleashes convulsive repercussions on the entire community.

The author created an unforgettable cast of characters, depicting Georgia in the violent crucible of Reconstruction. Equal parts beauty and terror, it is as gripping as it is moving, showing us humanity and love amid the most harrowing circumstances.