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"By all these lovely tokens
September days are here
With summer's best of weather
And autumn's best of cheer."

-- Author unknown

By Sandra Cline, $15.00
Original trade paperback 288 pages
ISBN 0-9754554-4-3 / LCCN 2004105905
Publication Date: December 2004

ALBUQUERQUE, NEW MEXICO—As an Alabama native, Sandra Cline witnessed the pervasive injustice of racial prejudice at first hand. A defining childhood moment occurred in the early 1960’s when she first laid eyes on her beloved black nanny’s home, located in the midst of poverty-stricken Birmingham—and wept. A watershed event, it marked the beginning of a lifelong search for answers to hard-hitting questions.

The publication of Cline’s debut novel promises to be a significant literary event, for she has created a work that is splendidly entertaining and profoundly serious with its engagement of both universal and American themes. While researching the novel, Cline interviewed more than fifty elderly residents in the area where the novel is set. At the same time, she sought out the roots of our country’s shameful history of discrimination. Her novel is an affirmative, inclusive statement, but one that by no means eschews the darker side of life; ultimately, its message is about choosing love over fear.

Pug Sheridan is the story of a young woman’s arduous quest for identity and redemption in the rural South of a century past. The author plots the novel largely through exploration of relationships. The book is uplifting, filled with cosmic ironies and mysterious synchronies, often highlighted with supernatural overtones. Emphasis is laid on the premise that life is a mystical journey; it’s all about choices—individual and cultural.

Pug Sheridan is a coming-of-age story that reflects a modern-day sensibility. Narrated in Pug’s own lively voice, it traces the protagonist’s friendships with six young women who come together to form “The Secret Society of the Seven Sisters.” Aligned against this multi-ethnic sorority is a resurgent Ku Klux Klan, a foe that tests all of Pug’s inner resources and forces her hand in a way that threatens to tarnish her own soul. The fluid, episodic narrative threads together various subjects of considerable interest, from relations between the sexes and among same-sex friends, to the rediscovery of ancient wisdom and teachings, to the way that racism poisons communities. The Seven Sisters are women ahead of their time as they witness, then resist, the bloody re-birth of the KKK. Pug Sheridan is a story seen through the eyes of another generation, while hinting at an uncanny relevance to our own.

With a fascinating cast of secondary characters, many surprising plot twists, and a magical realist style that may remind the reader of Garcia Marquez or Toni Morrison, Pug Sheridan is a rewarding page-turner. Both entertaining and profound, it’s the kind of book that will appeal to an audience of all ages and will likely convey to each reader something essential about the wonder of the world in which we live.

Pug Sheridan can be purchased at local and online bookstores or BookMasters. Wholesale distributors include Ingram and Baker & Taylor.