Book Club Ideas for The Saints of Swallow Hill

by Donna Everhart

Are you a member of a book club? I am, and I really enjoy my group which is called The Thursday Afternoon Book Club. I joined in 1998, but the club was originally founded in 1910. In 2010 we held a Centennial celebration. There was a write-up in our local paper, and the club members dressed in period clothes, and it was a lot of fun.

When your book club reads The Saints of Swallow Hill, I have a couple of great ideas for you! These ideas, of course, depend on your club, and how you approach meetings. One thing I have found is that members tend to really enjoy sampling the foods included in books. The hostess or hostesses could select a couple of items to cook/bake, and serve to the club.

In The Saints of Swallow Hill, one of my characters, Cornelia, makes a water pie. The name itself made me a skeptic, so I had to try it – of course! Officially it is considered a Depression era recipe, and the good news is, it’s simple to make, and even better, it tasted GREAT! Here is the recipe I used so you know it’s guaranteed to come out.

Serving suggestion tip – whip cream or ice cream on top!

Your members could also do like we did in my book club, and dress in the clothes of the period, or even dress as their favorite character.

My book club loves to talk about what we read. To get the dialogue going for The Saints of Swallow Hill, there is a Reading Group Guide provided at the back of the book. Of course, these questions are only suggestions.

Another idea would be to have each member come with a question they thought of while reading the book. Or, each member could choose one of the Reading Group Guide questions and help lead the conversation for that particular question.

Most of all, a book club is about the companionship and enjoyment that comes with reading good books!

Where the Crawdads Sing meets The Four Winds as award-winning author Donna Everhart immerses readers in a unique settinga turpentine camp buried deep in the vast pine forests of Georgia during the Great Depression—for a captivating story of friendship, survival, and three vagabonds’ intersecting lives…

It takes courage to save yourself…

In the dense pine forests of North Carolina, turpentiners labor, hacking into tree trunks to draw out the sticky sap that gives the Tar Heel State its nickname, and hauling the resin to stills to be refined. Among them is Rae Lynn Cobb and her husband, Warren, who run a small turpentine farm together.

Though the work is hard and often dangerous, Rae Lynn, who spent her childhood in an orphanage, is thankful for it–and for her kind if careless husband. When Warren falls victim to his own negligence, Rae Lynn undertakes a desperate act of mercy. To keep herself from jail, she disguises herself as a man named “Ray” and heads to the only place she can think of that might offer anonymity–a turpentine camp in Georgia named Swallow Hill.

Swallow Hill is no easy haven. The camp is isolated and squalid, and commissary owner Otis Riddle takes out his frustrations on his browbeaten wife, Cornelia. Although Rae Lynn works tirelessly, she becomes a target for Crow, the ever-watchful woods rider who checks each laborer’s tally. Delwood Reese, who’s come to Swallow Hill hoping for his own redemption, offers “Ray” a small measure of protection, and is determined to improve their conditions. As Rae Lynn forges a deeper friendship with both Del and Cornelia, she begins to envision a path out of the camp. But she will have to come to terms with her past, with all its pain and beauty, before she can open herself to a new life and seize the chance to begin again.