The Oleander Sisters

Chapter One

The Oleander Sisters

The Oleander Sisters

The day Neil Armstrong walked on the moon marked a summer where anything at all could happen. The brother you’d given up for dead in a war everybody hated could suddenly turn up alive, and the sister you’d protected all her life could finally be getting married. Any other woman would have been happy with the sudden turn of good fortune, but not Sis Blake. She was scared of happiness. Let too much joy seep into your life and you’d soon find yourself hunkered beside twisted wreckage wondering what you did to make everything turn out so wrong.

As if Sis needed any more evidence than her own history to tell her something awful was heading her way, the Amen cobbler cooling in the kitchen at Sweet Mama’s Café gave off the scent of secrets, a spicy smell so sharp it could cut away everything you held dear.

Still, Sis kept her troubled thoughts to herself. There was no sense spoiling things for her sister. Emily was humming as she sliced into the cobbler, serving up hope by the spoonful.

“Eat up, Sis.” Emily’s face was radiant with happiness and heat from the ovens. “It’s the best I’ve ever made.”

Sis forced herself to eat so she wouldn’t be the one who wiped the smile off her sister’s face, and Emily went back to her baking and humming, every now and then glancing out the back café window.

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Praise for The Oleander Sisters

“Hussey breathes life into the summer of 1969 when one woman in Biloxi, Misssissippi, discovers secrets that threaten to tear apart her family…Lyrically written and emotionally affecting, Hussey’s latest explores the bonds of family and friendship that endure through adversity.”
Publisher’s Weekly

The Oleander Sisters, set on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in l969 as a storm named Camille courses closer, is Hussey at her finest…Anyone who has…loved a sister will understand the complex – and very real – relationship between Sis and Emily Blake…The Oleander Sisters offers up sweet slices of acceptance, forgiveness and redemption, and fierce family loyalties that have the power to save lives…Hussey has another winner under her belt…You won’t want to put it down.”

Leslie Criss, The Daily Journal

“Hussey’s The Oleander Sisters is a heartfelt story – a book of hope and courage of women, and the strong bonds of sisterhood, set in the Deep South – one of triumph over tragedy.”

Judith D. Collins Must Read Books

“A wonderful book filled with Southern charm…Hussey has a wonderful way with words that not only allows you to know the heart of the character, but to be aware of the emotional impact of the environment on that character…I loved it.”

Leigh Neely

The Oleander Sisters is truly an amazing novel that is heartwarming, poignant and ultimately uplifting…Elaine Hussey brings the Mississippi coast and the characters vibrantly to life.  It is a realistic and gritty portrayal of strong Southern women who will do anything to protect their family. An absolutely riveting novel that I highly recommend.”

K. Branfield, “Book Reviews & More by Kathy”

“Hussey at her best.”

Elna Barber


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