Meet Avery Andrews

Attorney Avery Andrews is forced to leave her dream job as a trial attorney and return to her small Upstate South Carolina hometown after spectacularly losing her temper with a lying expert witness in a trial. Moving back to little Dacus to regroup means she’s surrounded by her opinionated great-aunts, her precocious niece, and a cast of neighbors and friends who are completely themselves. What does “coming home” mean? Is she really here to stay?

I can’t find Dacus, South Carolina on a map; where is it?

In Cathy’s imagination, Dacus, South Carolina sits in Upstate South Carolina very near her real hometown. In creating the fictional world in which Avery lives, Cathy has borrowed names that echo strongly of South Carolina: Dacusville is a real town; Dacus is not. Camden is real (a town in the South Carolina sandhills); Camden County is not. Calhoun is a fine old South Carolina name; the Calhoun Firm isn’t.

South Carolina is a state of legend, some of it carefully crafted and burnished with time. Most surprising—even to those who call it home—is its diversity, in geography, language, food, customs. The Upstate, where Avery lives, includes foothills and parts of the Southern Appalachian Mountain chain. The folks who settled that part of the country went there for the same reason settlers went into those mountains as far up the chain as Maine: they wanted to be left alone.

South Carolina runs from the mountains to the sea. After the hills come the Piedmont, gently rolling, lots of industry and growing cities like Greenville and the I-85 corridor. Downstate, the Midlands are sandy, with the state capitol of Columbia, complete with cannon pockmarks left when General Sherman visited.

Then comes the Low Country, first sandy, then swampy, more like the traditional picture of the deep South. And through it all, the elements of family, faith, love of land, good food, and quirkiness abound.

What the heck is a Moon Pie?

One of nature’s most perfect foods, Moon Pies are created by the Chattanooga Bakery in Tennessee and known to Southerners everywhere. The traditional beverage to accompany a Moon Pie snack is RC Cola, still available in glass bottles for those who know where to shop. Moon Pies are marshmallow-and-graham-cake treats, with chocolate as the traditional flavor. Avery prefers banana, vanilla in a pinch.