Author Cade Bentley Knows “Where Wild Peaches Grow”
A family shattered by betrayal and reunited by the death of a patriarch is the stuff of many Southern novels, and so it is with “Where Wild Peaches Grow,” a generational story by South author Euclid Cade Bentley.
Sisters Julia and Nona Davenport have been separated for 20 years, since Nona disappeared as a teenager. Mother Cat had left the family long before that. The reasons for these estrangements are revealed in the course of the book.
When Julia calls Nona to tell her that their father has died, Nona goes home to Natchez. She intends to stay at a hotel and return to Chicago after the funeral, but instead finds herself in the tangled drama that caused her to leave. She learns shocking news about Julia’s life in the years that follow and meets several men from her past.
Nona is a tenured professor of African American Studies and has lived in Chicago long enough to be surprised when her sister calls her “Peaches,” her childhood nickname. Her boyfriend is used to manipulating her and she’s gotten used to letting him make all her decisions.
Julia’s sixth-grade teacher, Sanganette, is her lifelong best friend, but they have a troubled dynamic, with Sanganette purposely forgetting about “legacy” and “Southern pride,” which Julia sees as a “romanticized view of Southern history. It’s hard to defend Julia’s friendship with this infuriating character.
Julia also sells real estate and expects to inherit all of her father’s many properties. In addition to his mourning, it seems that every minute there is “another man in his way”.
Throughout the story, there are veiled references to a local site called Devil’s Punchbowl, where something big may have happened. It will take Nona’s academic skills to uncover the truth, which is only revealed at the end, after a cathartic face-to-face and the reading of the will. Each member of this messy family harbors secrets from every other family member, and most harbor bitter, decades-old grudges; some of them on things they misinterpreted or were misled about.
Cade Bentley writes the mystery series Romaine Wilder under her real name, Abby Vandiver, and the mystery series Chagrin Falls Ice Cream Parlor under the name Abby Collette.
“Where Wild Peaches Grow” (301 pages, softcover) is $14.95 from Lake Union Publishing.
Abby Vandiver is the new writer-in-residence at the William N. Skirball Writers Center. She will appear at a reception and author fair from 2-4 p.m. Sunday at the South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch of the Cuyahoga County Public Library, 1876 South Green Road, South Euclid. Other authors include Deanna Adams (“Cleveland’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Venues”), Zachary Fenell (“Slow and Cerebral”), LaBena Fleming (“I Love You Always: One Family’s Alzheimer’s/Dementia Journey and the Lessons Learned Along the Way”), Erin Hosier (“Don’t Let Me Down”), N. Lichells (“Santa Claus: Comes to Town”), Molly Perry (“The Letter from Sweet Abundance”), Susan Petrone (“The Heebie- Jeebie Girl”) and DM Pulley (“The Dead Key”.) Check in at cuyahogalibrary.org.
Cleveland Book Week continues with events featuring 2022 Anisfield-Wolf Book Prize winners in most categories appearing in various locations, starting with Donika Kelly (“The Waivers”) and Percival Everett (“ Trees”), Wednesday and Ishmael Reed (Lifetime Director), and George Makari (“Of Fear and Strangers: A Story of Xenophobia”). The awards will be presented Thursday at the Maltz Performing Arts Center. Mandatory masks at all events. All are free, but registration is required; go to anisfield-wolf.org.
Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights): Wildlife rehabilitator and veterinarian Timm Otterson signs “All Weird and Dangerous Creatures,” 1 p.m. Saturday. At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Kristin Ohlson speaks to Caroline Tait of Holden Forests & Gardens about “Sweet in Tooth and Claw: Stories of Generosity and Cooperation in Nature,” 7 p.m. Wednesday. Gloria Pope signs “Hero: Memoirs of Infertility,” 5:30 p.m. Thursday.
Medina County District Library (210 S. Broadway St.): Terry Pluto talks about “Vintage Browns: A Warm Look Back at the Cleveland Browns of the 1970s, ’80s, ’90s and More” and his many other sportsbooks, 6:30 p.m. at 8 p.m. Tuesday.
Hudson Library and Historical Society: Paco Underhill talks about “How We Eat: The Brave New World of What We Eat” in a Zoom event at 7 p.m. Tuesday. At 7 p.m. Thursday, Newsweek International editor Andrew Nagorski talks about “Saving Freud: The Rescuers Who Brought Him Free”; at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nigella Lawson discusses “Cook, Eat, Repeat: Ingredients, Recipes and Stories.” Register at hudsonlibrary.org.
Geauga County Public Library (Bainbridge Branch, 17222 Snyder Road, Chagrin Falls): Cleveland lawyer and activist Terry Gilbert, with co-author Carlo Wolff, discuss Gilbert’s memoir ‘Trying Times: A Lawyer’s 50-Year Struggle Fighting for Rights in a World of Wrongs,” 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Register at geaugalibrary.net.
Greater Cleveland LGBT Center (6705 Detroit Ave.): 2022 Anisfield-Wolf Poetry Prize winner Donika Kelly reads “The Revelations” as part of Cleveland Book Week, 4-6 p.m. Wednesday. Mandatory masks. Free, but registration required; go to anisfield-wolf.org.
Saint Ignatius of Antioch (10205 Lorain Ave., Cleveland): Percival Everett, author of “The Trees” and winner of the 2022 Anisfield-Wolf Prize for Fiction, presents “A Reckoning with Shared History” at the site of Cleveland’s only documented lynching, from 6 to 8 Wednesday noon. Free, but registration required; go to anisfield-wolf.org.
Western Reserve Land Conservation: Jonathan C. Slaght appears in a virtual presentation of “Eastern Ice Owls: The Quest to Find and Save the World’s Tallest Owl,” 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. Register at wrlandconservancy.org.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Brecksville Branch, 9089 Brecksville Road): Dave Schwensen, author of “The Beatles in Cleveland,” presents “The Beatles at Shea Stadium: The Beginning of Stadium Rock,” 7-8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Sign up at cuyahogalibrary.org.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (South Euclid-Lyndhurst Branch, 1876 South Green Road, South Euclid): Jill Bialosky talks to Paula McLain about Bialosky’s new novel “The Deceptions,” 7-8 p.m. Thursday. Sign up at cuyahogalibrary.org.
Supper Club Music Box: Vince Tornero, host of “The Wrath of the Buzzard” podcast, joins the Cleveland Stories Dinner Parties series, with guests John Gorman, author of “The Buzzard: Inside the Glory Days of WMMS and Cleveland Rock Radio”, former personalities from the WMMS radio Ed “Flash” Ferenc and Denny Sanders, and David Spero, author (with K. Adrian Zonneville) of “A Life in the Wings: My Sixty Year Love Affair with Rock and Roll: A Memoir,” 7 p.m. Thursday. Dinner is $20; the conference is free. Go to musicboxcle.com.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Strongsville Branch, 18700 Westwood Drive): Marty Gitlin, author of “Cleveland Browns,” gives “A Dawg Pound Presentation – The History of the Cleveland Browns,” 7-8 p.m. Thursday. Sign up at cuyahogalibrary.org.
Mac’s back (1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights): Joe Meno, author of “Book of Extraordinary Tragedies,” and Liz Breazeale (Extinction Event: Stories” read their work from 7-8:30 p.m. Thursday.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Beachwood Branch, 25501 Shaker Blvd.): Kwame Christian discusses “How to Have Tough Conversations About Race,” 7-8 p.m. Thursday. Subscribe to cuyahogalibrary.
Stark County Public Library (715 Market Avenue N., Canton): Joseph Sepesy explains how ballroom dancing was therapeutic for his post-traumatic stress disorder and signs “Word Dances: A Collection of Verses and Thoughts about Ballroom Dancing,” 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. Register at starklibrary.org.
Cleveland Public Library (325 Superior Ave.): The Great Lakes African American Writers’ Conference offers workshops and speakers, including Walter Mosley, winner of the Alice Dunbar-Nelson Lifetime Achievement Award, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, with a virtual option. Free, but registration is required; visit glaawc.us.
snowball bookstore (564 W. Tuscarawas Ave., Barberton): Roy Ault signs “Jeep,” about his Ohio State classmate Glenn “Jeep” Davis, the Barberton hurdler and sprinter who won three gold medals at the 1956 and 1960 Olympics, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.