Sweet Vidalia


By Lisa Sandlin

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$36.00 CAD

This life-affirming novel explores marriage, community, and the power of dignity for a fifty-seven-year-old woman forced to rebuild her life, unexpectedly and alone, in 1960s Texas—perfect for readers of Elizabeth Strout, Paulette Jiles, and Anne Tyler.
It’s 1964 and Eliza Kratke is mostly content. Married thirty years, she is long settled in Bayard, Texas with two grown children, a nice house, a little dog, and a routine. But her husband has a secret, and Eliza has not been brave enough to demand to know what it is.
So when her husband dies suddenly, the ground doesn’t just shift under Eliza’s feet—it falls away entirely, revealing that she has known nothing true about her life. How should she come to terms with all that has been a lie?
What emerges from this wreckage is a profoundly compelling portrait of a wonderfully nuanced woman, worn down like a gemstone to a core of durability and self-reliance as she fights for her own path forward. By taking business classes and moving into a hotel filled with aspiring young people, The Sweet Vidalia, Eliza gathers new friends and new possibilities. But with each of these, she finds that it isn't so simple to leave the past behind. Sweet Vidalia not only explores what it means to be honest with ourselves and with one another, but asks: what will we do with the truth when we find it?


  • “Lisa Sandlin’s Sweet Vidalia does what the very best books do.  Eliza Kratke shows us with her courageous, steady enterprise how to brave life’s blows and start again, and again, every day. She is a heroine of the first order and I wish she lived next door.”
    Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author of The Summer We Started Over
  • “With her keen understanding of the human heart and a gift for laying it bare on the page, Lisa Sandlin has given us a beautiful story of what it takes to re-build a ruined life from the ground up. Readers will grieve with Eliza Kratke at the shocking upheaval in her marriage. They’ll rejoice at her spirit. When they finish the book, they’ll miss her. I certainly did.”  
    Elizabeth Crook, author of The Madstone
  • “Poignant and uplifting, Sweet Vidalia is a beautifully written tribute to the courage of a woman wounded by life who, through steadfast determination, reclaims her self-esteem, and the joy of living.” 
    Kathleen Kent, bestselling author of Black Wolf and The Heretic’s Daughter
  • Sweet Vidalia the odyssey of a woman forced to rebuild her entire world. . . . Eliza's warmhearted matter-of-factness is her salvation, and her decision to care less about trust and more about humane survival and keeping her spirit uncorroded is doubly refreshing. Sandlin has written a page-turner of an unapologetically female adventure.”
    Katherine Vaz, author of Above the Salt
  • Praise for the novels of Lisa Sandlin:
  • "[Lisa] Sandlin blends pathos, humor, and poetic prose in a strong debut."
    Kirkus Reviews
  • "[W]hat makes this crime novel soar is the humanity and humility of its main characters. It is by turns exciting, tender, suspenseful, observant, and gently funny."
    Publishers Weekly
  • "Sandlin knows the craft, no question. Her writing is finely cultivated; we can feel we intimately know her characters." 
    The Durango Telegraph

On Sale
Dec 3, 2024
Page Count
320 pages

Lisa Sandlin

About the Author

Lisa Sandlin graduated from Rice University in Houston, and earned a M.F.A. in Writing at Vermont College. She taught at CMU, SMU, Wayne State College, University of Texas, Kadir Has University in Istanbul, Turkey, and she finished her career as professor emerita at University of Nebraska Omaha. Sandlin has written four story collections and four novels, and her work has received an NEA Fellowship, a Dobie Paisano Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, the Violet Crown Award, and the Jesse Jones Award. Sandlin’s noir mystery The Do-Right  won both the Shamus Award and the Hammett Prize. Marilyn Stasio of The New York Times chose its sequel, the Edgar-nominated The Bird Boys, as one of the 10 best crime books of 2019. Lisa lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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