MY STORY BEFORE THE STORY
My good friend Sadie always says Southern women may look as delicate as flowers, but there’s iron in our veins. And we need it. While the rest of the world has been roaring through the 1920s, times are hardscrabble here in rural South Georgia. You see, I’m a widow. I guess I should tell you I’m Maggie Parker, and I’m barely surviving while raising my little boy, Barry, alone. Now, the banks are failing, and my father-in-law threatens to take my boy and sell off our livelihood—the grocery store my late husband left me.
I haven’t always lived here in Rivers End. My sister, Duchess, and I were born on a farm in South Georgia, but we are as different as chalk and cheese. Duchess was the princess Mama and Meemaw wanted. She drank in their stories of the old family plantation and the parties, before the war of Northern Aggression. Our great-grandparents owned a flourishing cotton plantation before that terrible time. But when the Yankees came through, they turned the family out and those carpetbaggers took over. Great-granddaddy was forced to become a sharecropper.
The work and humility unhinged our great-grandmother and grandmother, who was nine years old at the time—old enough to remember life before. She raised our mama on stories of those times. When Mama married Daddy, Meemaw moved in with them. And then they raised Duchess on the stories. Meemaw was so sure those times would return, and they’d get their plantation back. Like I said, her mind was unhinged. But she and Mama told Duchess she was a Southern princess. I never paid heed to the stories. I was more practical than Sister. I preferred to help Daddy with the farm animals. I even helped with the crops at least at harvest time.
When my sister was sixteen, a train wrecked near our farm. The passengers needed housing, and a nice man named Mr. Alden stayed with us. He was a rich businessman from Atlanta. Wouldn’t you know, he fell in love with our Duchess. He courted her and married her, then took her off to Atlanta. Their marriage eased life for us with the money they sent.
A few years later, I met Jimmy Parker at a farmers’ market. He was buying for his grocery store. I was smitten from the first moment I saw him. When we married, he brought me to Rivers End, where he and his daddy owned Parker’s Grocery. When his daddy decided to retire, he turned full ownership over to my Jimmy. I was so proud of him. But my Jimmy died almost eight years ago, not knowing I was pregnant with our first child. My son, Barry, is what keeps me going.
In High Cotton can be purchased in print or as an eBook.
For the e-book: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B087V636BH
To read the first chapter free, go to https://anemulligan.com/georgia-magnolias-series and scroll to the DOWNLOADS.
Ane Mulligan has been a voracious reader ever since her mom instilled within her a love of reading at age three, escaping into worlds otherwise unknown. But when Ane saw PETER PAN on stage, she was struck with a fever from which she never recovered—stage fever. She submerged herself in drama through high school and college. One day, her two loves collided, and a bestselling, award-winning novelist emerged. She lives in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a rascally Rottweiler.