Sixteen-year old Cissy Pickering is the oldest of three daughters. Her father, a well-respected attorney, is a pillar of a small Mississippi community. From an outsider’s perspective this is an ideal family, privileged. Then one hot July day, Cissy finds her father’s loaded gun in a drawer, follows him out to his car, and shoots him. Her family is shattered, scandalized as the questions arise. She feels that she has saved her younger sisters from the abuse that her daddy imposed upon her, believing that he would break his promise to leave her sisters alone. Cissy’s mother, Caroline will not believe what Cissy has to say, or even consider forgiving what she considers to be unforgiveable. Eventually Cissy is remanded to the Greater Mississippi State Hospital, a mental institution. The saving grace in Cissy’s new life is her grandmother, Janelle Clayton who becomes her rescuer and advocate. As the family secrets surface, the unresolved hurts demand attention, the distant relationships seek closeness and knowing. I found myself glued to the story of Cissy and her family. It fit my criteria for a good read.— Nancy Nelson
In this powerful and ultimately uplifting new novel set in 1970s Mississippi, the acclaimed author of The Last Suppers tells of three generations of women whose lives are thrown into upheaval when a dark secret is brutally exposed . . .
On a hot, humid July morning, sixteen-year-old Cissy Pickering calmly and deliberately shoots her father in the back.
To their Mississippi community, the death of well-regarded attorney Richard Pickering is a fascinating scandal. To Cissy’s distraught mother, Caroline, it’s an unforgivable crime. But in Cissy’s troubled mind, killing her father was the only way she knew to save the two people she loves most in the world. For years, Cissy has endured a devil’s bargain with her father, hoping that he would leave her younger sisters alone if she kept his abuse to herself. When that thin trust shattered, she saw no other choice.
Janelle Clayton, the family’s matriarch, has kept her distance from her daughter, Caroline—a fact she now regrets—yet she hopes to do right by her granddaughter. Cissy has always been an unusual girl, given to compulsive counting and list-making, but Janelle believes her implicitly. When Cissy is remanded to the Greater Mississippi State Hospital, a caring psychiatrist tries to help, yet new revelations drive Cissy to retreat even further from reality. It will fall to Janelle, despite her own failing health, to become Cissy’s advocate and rescuer. And over the course of an unlikely road trip, Janelle and Cissy will confront the truths they’ve hidden from the world and themselves, finding courage, deep-rooted resilience, and a bond tender and tough enough to transform them both.
About the Author
Mandy Mikulencak has been a writer her entire working life. First, as a journalist then as an editor and PR specialist for two national nonprofits and a United Nations agency. Today she lives in the mountains of Southwest Colorado with her husband. Readers can visit her website at www.mandymikulencak.com.
Praise for The Last Suppers
“In this novel of compassion, readers will find a humanizing light in a normally dark place.”
“The Last Suppers held me riveted from the first page to the last, a gorgeous novel that finds beauty in the most unlikely of places. This story has the social conscience of The Help, the unflinching honesty of The Shawshank Redemption, and a wholly original heroine whose humanity will touch your heart as she cooks her way to redemption.”
—Susan Wiggs, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“A haunting study of race relations, compassion, and mystery. A must read.”
—Library Journal (Starred Review)
“A taut page-turner . . . had me in its grips to the shocking end of a well-crafted,
—Anna Jean Mayhew, author of The Dry Grass of August
“A serious book, beautifully written . . . compelling and very very real.”
—The New York Journal of Books
“Filled with heart and reverent solemnity, despair and hope, Mandy Mikulencak’s writing is a sensitive, thoughtful narrative about finding freedom beyond the boundaries of what we believe of ourselves and of our past. With captivating characters, a unique premise, and set in sultry Louisiana, this story is as rich and enticing as the last suppers prepared, one you will want to linger over until the very last page.”
—Donna Everhart, author of The Education of Dixie Dupree
“Unrestrained in its honesty, this is one novel that will keep you thinking long after the last page is read.”
—Historical Novels Society