Ratio Janson, the crusty patriarch with an infamous background and a hair-trigger temper, is reverently referred to as Big Daddy by his family clan. His feisty great-granddaughter Jo-Dee overhears shocking gossip at Big Daddy’s funeral and is determined to plumb his murky past, from Reconstruction to the present day.
From a vast turpentine industry to the ruins of a decaying plantation with its feudal order a memory, Jo-Dee explores the complex nature of family and self, only to make a startling discovery. Will she betray her great-grandfather and disgrace the family name, or will she preserve his shameful secret?
And on the ancient grounds of the family mansion destroyed in the Civil War, will Big Daddy’s spirit claim her even from the grave?
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Big Daddy aka Horatio “Ratio” Janson story begins before he was born. We meet his Grandmother and grandfather. A Mother who wanted the very best for her son Clay Man Janson, she let him go live on a plantation to grown up. The Southern Aristocracy before the War.
The story does open with Jo-Dee and the Summer of 1953. She is with her Dad to say goodbye to her Great Grandfather Ratio, he was dying at the age of 91. Thus begins Jo-Dee's search for answers about her families history, mainly Big Daddy.
The book is about the colorful life of Ratio...and boy was it. He looked at a lot of adversity, but eventually he seemed to come out on top. His father died in the Civil War, before he was born. His Mother Mina, is one spoiled woman, she barely looks out for her son.
When the Yankee's come to burn their plantation, Mina, Ratio, and two former slaves go to Alabama to live. He is brought up there, mainly by Janie. As he grows, he becomes a handful, and the things that happened to him follow him, he was assaulted at the circus. His Mother takes a lover, a Senator, who then takes Ratio to teach him the life of a worker. Thus begins the Big Daddy, with his driven personality.
After he is almost murdered by the Senator, his life takes up turns and down turns. He does seem to come out on top. He marries a sweet delicate woman, and has eight children, but enough is never enough for him.
We travel with him through the South, that isn't seen in the movies, or heard of in the papers. Where just being black is reason to be arrested for a made up crime, and put in a chain gang!
Follow Big Daddy as he goes through his life, unfortunately there is a lot of sex in the book, and a lot of woman, and illegitimate children. It is one of his big undoings..he does not mind killing, he goes to prison.
Follow Jo-Dee as she unravels the puzzle of her Great Grandfather, the ending is so heartwarming!
I received this book through TLC Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Jo-Ann Costa has offered a copy of this book to one lucky reader of my blog. All you need to do is leave a comment and a contact.