Saturday, December 22, 2012

Historical Fiction: Leaving Cold Sassy by Olive Ann Burns

Series: sequel to Cold Sassy Tree
Publisher: Ticknor and Fields
Date: 1992
Format: hardback
Source: purchased used
Read: because I loved Cold Sassy Tree
Pages: 160
Reading time: two days
*spoiler alert*

Leaving Cold Sassy, originally titled Time, Dirt, and Money, is Olive Ann Burns's unfinished sequel to her historical fiction bestseller Cold Sassy Tree. The book picks up Will Tweedy's story in 1917, ten years after the ending of the first novel. Will, rejected by the U.S. Army, continues to live in Georgia and is struggling with his job, falling in love, and adjusting to the changes in his hometown.

I absolutely loved Cold Sassy Tree when I read it years ago around the age of twelve. The small-town Southern atmosphere and coming-of-age tale were fantastically written and appealed to my own heritage and upbringing. I expected the same from Leaving Cold Sassy but found the sequel to be darker and much less fun to read. I couldn't connect to the romance between Will and Sanna at all, not least because, on Will's part, it fell into the trope of insta-love. I didn't like Sanna's personality and character, which didn't seem very well-suited for Will's. Plus, everything seemed to go downhill towards the end of the actual novel and then in Burns's notes about what was to come in the rest of the book. Will and Sanna have marriage issues, Will cheats on her multiple times, they lose their farm in the Depression, Sanna's not accepted by Will's family and community, etc. It's a pretty depressing and bland sequel for a book I recall as being fairly cheery and entertaining.


  1. I've never read Cold Sassy Tree. I've always wanted to. It's frustrating, isn't it, when a sequel doesn't quite live up to its predecessor.

    1. I highly recommend Cold Sassy Tree! Hopefully you'll get the chance to read it soon.