Growing up, Caren Gray couldn't wait to escape the grounds of Belle Vie, the plantation her family worked on for generations. Now she's back in Ascension Parish dealing with the Clancy clan, a cantankerous cook, distrustful staff and a murder. And she's raising a child in the midst of all that.
Raised on Belle Vie with the Clancy boys, Caren knows them well. But the murder of a migrant worker has her shook and, suddenly, she's not sure that she can trust either. Childhood alliances don't mean much when you're dealing with property, money and the family name.
There are rumors of the plantation being sold. If that were to happen, her staff, already wary of the woman that's one of them, but not really one of them, would think she had something to do with it. As it is, they're already keeping secrets from her regarding the relationship between the deceased women and the student worker that's being held for the murder. With time running out, and threats being made against her family's life, it's up to Caren to figure out how to save the place she's finally come to love.
When I first started reading The Cutting Season, I wondered what would bring the descendant of slaves back to the very plantation upon which her family was enslaved. As if the history of the plantation isn't haunting enough, Caren is confronted daily with the cabins in which her ancestors lived, the fields in which they worked and a re-enactment of their lives. But as I continued to read, it became clear that her family ties to the place were just as deep, if not deeper, than the Clancy's.
The present day story focusing on the murder is interesting, but the more interesting story is found in the history of the plantation and the history of Caren's family, as it relates to the Clancys. This is a brilliant sophomore effort from Attica Locke. When I read her first book, Black Water Rising, I complained that it dragged in spots and took entirely too long to get really good. You won't hear those complaints this time around. The Cutting Season will pull you in from page one.
Published: September 2012
Disclaimer: Copy of book received from publisher, opinions are my own.
Theme: The Pressure (Part I) by Sounds of Blackness