“Harris’ lucid prose and vivid characterization illustrate a community at war with itself, poisoned by pride and mired in racial and sexual bigotry. . . Harris’ first novel is an aching chronicle of loss, cruelty, and love in the wake of community devastation.”


Just finished The Sweetness of Water by Nathan Harris. Audio version. Debut novel.
This book takes place at the end of the civil war. George Walker and his wife Isabelle own a farm. Their son Cabel had gone off to fight the war but they have just received notice that he died in battle.

Two recently freed brothers, Prentiss and Landry have been camping out in the woods when George discovers their presence. After a few days of talking to them, George, needing help on the farm as his son will not be returning, asks the brothers for their help with the farm. In turn he will pay them a fair wage and they can live on the farm. They finally agree, deciding to stay long enough to earn the money they will need to travel North.

Then one day Cabel shows up at the farm, alive and mostly well, showing the signs of some violence done upon him during the fighting.
Cabel accepts the presence of the freed slaves, but he carries secrets with him, the kind that if known would cause many problems for him and possibly his family.

The story then centers around those secrets, and those secrets will create issues that will disrupt this family and the slave brothers forever.
An excellent look at the beginnngs of the era or reconstruction in the South, and how issues of decency and understanding many times came in direct conflict with the beliefs and attitudes of your neighbors, and how the darkest secrets, the longer they are kept, can cause the greatest destruction of all.
Highly recommended.


Reviewed by:

Richard Franco

Added 9th September 2021

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Richard Franco