American Ghost; Janis Owens
Scribner - October 23rd
An engrossing novel inspired by a true event about unresolved family history and racial tensions that threaten a Florida community.
With American Ghost, Janis Owens offers an evocative southern novel continuing in the tradition originally established by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and brought into the new millennium by writers like Karen Russell and Kathryn Stockett. Inspired by Owens’s extensive research on a real lynching that occurred in the 1930s, American Ghost is a richly woven exploration of how the events of our past can haunt our present.
Jolie Hoyt is the daughter of a Pentecostal preacher living in small-town Florida. Disregarding her family’s closet full of secrets and distrust of outsiders, she throws caution to the wind when she falls in love with Sam Lense, a Jewish anthropology student from Miami in town to study the region. But their affair ends abruptly when Sam is discovered to have pried too deeply into the town’s dark racial past and he becomes the latest victim of violence. Years later, Sam and Jolie are brought together again, and as they resolve the mistakes of their early love, they finally shed light on the ugly history of Jolie’s hometown.
A page-turning blend of romance and historical Gothic, American Ghost is a triumph—the novel that this outstanding Southern author was born to write.