Published by Harper Collins on 10/1/2013
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As the Great Flood of 1927 threatens the Mississippi Delta, Prohibition agents Ted Ingersoll and Ham Johnson arrive in the town of Hobnob, Mississippi searching for a pair of agents who have gone missing. What they find instead are the remains of a robbery gone bad and an abandoned baby. Determined to find a home for the child, Ingersoll is told to take him to Dixie Clay Holliver, a local woman still grieving the loss of her own son. Though Dixie Clay and the agent feel an immediate connection, Ingersoll will soon discover he’s stumbled upon the best bootlegger in the county and her increasingly dangerous husband.
“Dixie Clay knew now that the world was full of secret sorrowing women, each with her own doors closed to rooms she wouldn’t be coming back to, walking and talking and cutting lard into flour and slicing fish from their spines and acting as if it were an acceptable thing, this living.”
Co-written novels can easily become peppered with disjointed phrases and jarring plot holes, making the venture a risky one. But husband and wife team Franklin and Fennelly combine both their storytelling and their vastly different styles to make The Titled World a gorgeous blend of grit and tenderness.
Much of the novel’s balance seems to come from the fact that, while the story centers on one male and one female character, neither is held down by the gender stereotypes of their time. Much of Ingersoll’s story focuses on his paternal instinct toward the child he finds as Dixie Clay takes on the typically male role of moonshining while she begins questioning her early marriage.
From two treasures of writing, The Tilted World is a gripping snapshot of American history sure to please long time fans and new readers alike.