Indian Summer, 1929. O.T. Lawrence is about as content as a cotton farmer can be in Five Forks, Georgia—nothing, not poverty, drought, or even the boll weevil can spoil the idyllic family life he shares with his doting wife and children, and his beloved twin brother Walt.
Until illness and Black Tuesday take everything O.T. ever held dear from him in one fell swoop. Grieving, drinking, and careening towards homelessness, O.T. is in the pits of despair when he receives an odd letter. The mysterious Sivvy Hargrove, whom he briefly knew as a teenager, is locked away in Milledgeville Asylum for the insane. O.T. travels through the Appalachian foothills of Rock Creek, through desperate antebellum towns, and down to Milledgeville to find out what really happened to young Sivvy Hargrove. His journey brings him face to face with the sad, strange girl who once haunted his dreams, and O.T. discovers that she’s haunted by her own ghosts—those of a past even more painful than his own.
Set against the backdrop of the Great Depression, Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree is a love story to Georgia and the spirit of its people—a story of family, unconditional love, poverty, injustice and finding the strength inside to keep on going when all is lost.
Advance Praise for Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree
“Lillah Lawson spins a yarn that’s wonderful in its knottiness. Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree is a historical Southern fable about butterflies, biscuits and the healing power of family, both biological and chosen. The images are evocative, the dialogue rough and realistic, the emotions achingly real. A must-read.”
– Lauren Emily Whalen, author of Satellite
“A hauntingly beautiful story, full of twists and tragedy, rich in detail and told with gorgeous lyrical flair… A deeply moving, unforgettable read.”
– Alice Hayes, author of The Thread that Binds
“An exquisite read, with the tender yet gritty undertones of Steinback, Monarchs Under the Sassafras Tree is a solemn walk through the deep south during one of the most difficult eras in American history: the early twentieth century. Lawson captures the southern gothic through the often fragile, yet always hopeful hearts of her characters as they try to cope with the hard knocks of life. This book will touch your heart in the beautifully tragic way that only southern gothic can, slowly at first, and then all at once.”
-Melanie Cossey Author of A Peculiar Curiosity