Summary: Ro Grandee is the perfect Texas housewife. She's determined to be nothing like her long-missing mother, the one who left her with only a heap of old novels and her father's fists for company, so Ro keeps quiet and takes her husband's punches like a lady. But Ro wasn't always this way. Underneath her pastel skirts and hidden bruises lies Rose Mae Lolley, teenaged spitfire, Alabama heartbreaker, and a crack shot with a pistol. Rose Mae is resurrected when a gypsy's tarot cards foretell doom for dutiful Ro: her handsome husband is going to kill her. Unless she kills him first.
Armed with only her wit, her pawpy's ancient .45, and her dog Fat Gretel, Rose Mae hightails it out of Texas. In a journey that is by turns harrowing and exhilarating, she uncovers long buried truths about her family and herself, running from the man who will never let her go, on a mission to find the mother who did.
My first Joshilyn Jackson was Gods in Alabama and I think that was a good place to start. This book took a minor character from that book and told her story. Between the two of these books Joshilyn Jackson has quickly become one of my favorite writers.
This book deals with the very serious issue of spousal abuse and it pulls no punches. It's dark and violent, but wonderfully crafted and told in such a way that you can help but want to know what's going to happen next. Ro is a wonderful character and I loved learning her story, even though it was terrible and tragic.
I got a big kick out of the book mentioning how nutty Southern Catholics are. As a Southern Catholic, I could identify with it and laugh along. The way the humor was deftly inserted in even the darkest places is a Southern characteristic that is wonderful and Jackson is a master!
**Edit to add** I got the audiobook for this at the library. This was read by Joshilyn Jackson herself and she did a fabulous job! Not all author read audiobooks turn out so well (I'm looking at YOU Stephen King).
If you're fan of Southern Lit, check out the 2010 Okra Picks. Looks like they have some good choices on there!