Published: April 8, 2014
Genre: Short Stories
Source: Goodreads First Reads Program
Recommended for fans of Southern Fiction
Set in the mythic, South Carolina and Georgia Lowcountry, each story in this unforgettable collection captures the moments in women's lives when they must confront some aspect of their authentic selves. Whether they're seventeen or seventy-nine, the characters bring to life the 'grit, wit, and it' of the southern female psyche as they search for home, family, and love - often finding that rock bottom may be the best foundation from which to move forward. For those readers seeking strong, southern, female voices, Ladies in Low Places delivers.
Short story collections are things that I love, but somewhat hard for me to review. Obviously, reviewing something with several distinct stories can be tricky but the bigger problem for me is that I usually read short story collections over a long period of time. For example, it took me 53 days to read this 263-page book.
The fact that it took me so long to read this book is not a commentary on the quality. I just like to go slowly through short story collections, reading no more than one story a day. I like to have a little "space" between each story so that I can enjoy each one on their individual merits. Unfortunately, the fact that it takes so long for me to read books like this means it can be harder for me to keep the earlier stories fresh in my mind.
So, I'm going to address this book with an overall eye. For this book, this works well because Henry's style is fairly uniform throughout the book. This isn't to say that this book is monotone. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Henry does an admirable job of including stories of women from all walks and stages in life. You can, however, tell that every story was written by the same author, which isn't a bad thing at all. I actually loved Henry's voice and it even sounded Southern in my head as I read it.
Henry is an expert at creating the world of the Lowcountry here. I've never been there (the closest I've been was when I went to college in the Tidewater region of Virginia) but I could clearly see it in my mind's eye and, yes, I would really love to visit now. The fact that she was able to pull this off is what really holds this collection together.
This is a very readable collection and I would recommend it to readers new to short story collections, as well as to fans of Southern fiction from a female viewpoint.
I won a copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program. I was encouraged, but not required, to write an honest review. I received no compensation for this post.