7 Crows a Secret - Decatur Clary

7 Crows a Secret

By Decatur Clary

  • Release Date - Published: 2015-07-01
  • Book Genre: Fiction & Literature
  • Author: Decatur Clary
Our rating: 5/5 stars

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7 Crows a Secret Decatur Clary read online review & book description:

“‘Seven crows, a secret, never to be told’. I guess I’m the secret no one ever told.”
The condemned prisoner’s last words haunted David Corbeau Fowler for over 20 years after witnessing the hanging in 1910 at the age of 10.
In 1933, while David is helping move his widowed mother off the family farm, he rediscovers the mystery of the condemned prisoner’s last words. He realizes this might be his last chance to discover the significance of the words, if there is any.
Working with some scraps of family mythology, a few pictures, and a genealogy from the family Bible, David, his wife Amanda, sister Vauda, and mother, Pearlie Anne, piece together the basic events of the story. But the strongest memory is still only a shadow of the actual events and when facts have been obscured by gossip over the years, it is difficult to discern the truth.
Fortunately, Decatur Clary has filled in the gaps with barrowloads of assumption, speculations and imagination.
While David and his family track down stories through the backroads of northwest Florida in 1933, the reader is transported back to 1847 for the birth of a girl child, born to a runaway slave mother who dies giving birth. Taken in by the Corbeau family, she is given to 10-year old Julie to raise. Julie names the baby Genevieve and they grow up together, as family, isolated in a log cabin deep in the country.
As Genevieve’s story moves forward through time, David’s research takes him further back. By piecing together parts of separate stories, David and his sister are led to an abandoned trunk in the attic. Buried among the petticoats and parasols they find yellowed letters and old photographs. The letters still contain the emotions the writers penciled into them, but they raise more questions than they answer. The pictures personalized the letters by providing faces to match with some of the names, but the picture of a young girl could not be identified from anyone’s memory or in the family Bible.
David and his family dedicate a day to drive through country roads along the Florida and Alabama border, following the thinnest thread of a clue. Along the way, they meet people with their own stories to tell, some of which contribute to an understanding of the hanged man’s last words while others are strictly for amusement.
Meandering aimlessly and populated by colorful characters, Decatur Clary’s stories of pioneer times in Florida capture the harsh reality of life on the frontier, the brutality as well as the common decency humanity is capable of. Through them all runs the central theme of family; of what a family is and how family should treat each other, as well as what happens when they don’t.
The girl child grows up happy within the family until she is exposed to the outside world and forced into changing her behavior to avoid trouble. As the nation slowly drifts to civil war, tension builds between the deliberation of maturity and the impatience of youth, until youth rebels against authority by rejecting all constraints. The result is catastrophic, shaking the family to its roots and resonating still in David’s time.
Whatever conclusion there is comes at the bedside of an 86-year old woman, the last witness to the events of the past and David’s best hope for an explanation of the hanged man’s words, if she knows and if she will tell. But keeping secrets can become a habit so deeply ingrained it is impossible to speak when you finally want to. Failing to break the bonds of her silence, she does the next best thing and passes the secret along. But, will anyone have the wit to recognize it?

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