Review: American Ghost by Janis Owens

American Ghost by Janis Owens
Expected Publication: October 9, 2012
Format: ARC from publisher
Publisher: Scribner

Rating: 5/5


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.

My Thoughts:
This book had me from the very beginning. Inspired by true events and family history while tackling race in the South, Janis Owens told a rich and complex story with such easy it's amazing. With all the twist and turns and layers for upon layers this book simply can't be denied.

Janis Owens is an amazing storyteller that you can't help but to be drawn into this remarkable story. Just when you think you have something figured out she suprises you with something totally different.

While this novel has a handful of colorful characters, the main one, Jolie Hoyt is the star. A very true Southern character without being overdone or a joke. I LOVE how Janis Owens has given us one of the most bold, real, and strongest character in books this year. All in all this book is one of my favorite reads this year. Truly brilliant. I cannot wait for what Janis Owens has in store for us next.

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