In 1986 a novice businessman, KIP DRUMMOND, rescued a sentimental landmark – the Lady’s Island Osyter Factor – in Beautfort, South Carolina. But six years later, he finds himself pressured by corporate greed and paralyzed by Lowcountry desperation.
On the one side, spurred by plans to replace the run-down factory with a megamillion dollar waterfront development, a trio of predators from Philadelphia enlist the aide of a local mole and an Italian connection to deliver a no-holds-barred squeeze for the sale.
On the opposite side, fueled by rumors of the undisclosed sale, the restless Gullah workers prod their ex-Marine foreman, “GUNNY” BREWER, to go head-to-head with Kip in an effort to squelch the deal, knowing his failure would cost them the livelihood that had sustained them for decades.
Caught in the maelstrom, Kip fumbles the waning support of his bombshell wife, SANDI, who longs to return to her socialite life in Charleston and becomes a willing prey.
When Kip turns to friends, he finds himself at a table in a former slave’s shack with MADAM AYANDA, a tarot reader who channels Kip’s energy through cards that unveil a secret which Kip had fought desperately to conceal, but which he would need to reveal to beat a deadly hex on him.
Filled with century old strife, passion, grisly violence, LIARS tales, and local legends, HAINT BLUE lures the reader into the pluff mud and out of the South Carolina marshes in a compelling story of guilt, forgiveness and hope.
Read this piece about the novel and the author over at the Beaufort Tribune.
Of course this is an intriguing title for folks that live in the lowcountry and all along the Gullah/Geechee Corridor – where vibrant shades of blue are found on window frames, doorways, on porch roofs – and sometimes on an entire house.
From Curious Expeditions:
Haints, or haunts, are spirits trapped between the world of the living and the world of the dead. These are not your quiet, floaty, sorrowful ghosts, they are the kind you don’t want to mess with, and the kind you certainly don’t want invading into your humble abode looking for revenge. Luckily, the Gullah people remembered an important footnote to the haint legend. These angry spirits have a kryptonite; they cannot cross water. The safest place would be in an underwater bubble, or perhaps to surround your house with a moat. But the Gullah people had a much more elegant solution. They would dig a pit in the ground, fill it with lime, milk, and whatever pigments they could find, stir it all together, and paint the mixture around every opening into their homes. The haints, confused by these watery pigments, are tricked into thinking they can’t enter.
Check out the Flickr ‘Haint Blue’ page to get an even better perspective on all of the wonderfully protective shades of blue.
NPR, April 14, 2006: Why So Blue? Color Graces Many a Porch Ceiling
Check out Gullah Blue.