The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt

Some bury their secrets close to home. Others scatter them to the wind and hope they land somewhere far away.Judith Kratt inherited all the Kratt family had to offer—the pie safe, the copper clock, the murder no one talks about. She knows it's high time to make an inventory of her household and its valuables, but she finds that cataloging the family belongings—as well as t...

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Title:The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt
Author:Andrea Bobotis
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt Reviews

  • Peter

    To take a journey through a story enraptured by the characters and setting, to enjoy the slowly maturing and revealing threads of secrets which friends and family have held close, to witness the community dynamics across a spectrum of personalities, and to truly appreciate the slow transition towards equality between whites and blacks in society - that is the amazing experience awaiting the reader of this wonderful book.

    is a totally absorbing novel w

    To take a journey through a story enraptured by the characters and setting, to enjoy the slowly maturing and revealing threads of secrets which friends and family have held close, to witness the community dynamics across a spectrum of personalities, and to truly appreciate the slow transition towards equality between whites and blacks in society - that is the amazing experience awaiting the reader of this wonderful book.

    is a totally absorbing novel with such beautiful writing reminding us of the classics. The book is written from the first person perspective, with Miss Judith Kratt narrating over 2 time periods; when she was a young girl of 15 in 1929, and as an elderly lady of 75 in 1989.

    Daddy Kratt is a stern man, ruthless in business and ambitious to the point where he effectively controls the town of Bound in South Carolina. He owns the cotton gins and several plantations, he built the department store that sold everything needed by the community and is a landlord with 500 acres of land. He is also that feared father and husband, as he rules his family with unquestioned authority.

    As a young girl, Judith is the eldest of 3 children and works for Daddy Kratt in the Department store keeping inventory and running tours of the 4-floor department store. Judith’s brother Quincy, is the son striving to impress the domineering and powerful father. He skulks around, eavesdropping to uncover secrets or misdemeanours that can be leveraged against anyone, which he furnishes his father with. Rosemarie is two years younger than Judith, still flighty and is excused from working in the store. All three children grow up with Olva, a black girl of the same age, whom their Mama had a special fondness for.

    As the older introspective woman, Judith has aged with various biased beliefs and a recognition that the family house and standing, are synonymous with her. She shares her life in the Kratt family mansion with Olva, who has remained with Judith her whole life. Judith decides to undertake an inventory of all the possessions within the house. Many of the items have deep meaning or sentimental value, and each with their own story which is told during the earlier time period and listed in the latter. This is a brilliant way to draw the two eras together and those threads that run across time bring an appealing aspect to the novel. Judith receives a postcard from Rosemarie indicating she’s coming home after 60 years away, and the old memories come flooding back.

    Secrets permeate every relationship, and different versions of the truth weave a complicated story that illustrates how the ambiguity of perception can underpin false incrimination and the stances people take. Even after 60 years, secrets can be exposed.

    This book is an immersive literary delight. The writing is beautifully descriptive with a wonderful array of characters including, family, friends, servants, employees, business partners and town folk, all adding amazing dimensions to the characterisations and interactions. The secrets and consequences are worth waiting for, even though you may guess them -that’s not the point – the journey is the reward.

    This is another Buddy Read with Beata and she used some wonderful terms describing Judith that I wish I'd thought of. You'll have to read her review to find out. I would highly recommend this book and I'd like to thank Sourcebooks Landmark and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC version in return for an honest review.

    Cover Design: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Title: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Proofreading Success: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Quality of Book Formatting: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

    Book Format/Status: Kindle/ARC

    Illustrations: N/A

    Number of Pages: 320

    Number of Chapters: 14 (approx 23 pages per chapter)

  • Mackey

    Being born and raised in the southern part of the US, I came to love southern literature. It has a flow and charm to it, a rhythm that is unlike any other. When it is done well you can smell the gardenias and magnolias on every page and feel the grit from the dusty Delta roads. The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt is such a novel, one that envelops you and transports you to the hot, humid backroads of the deep south complete with its oppressive heat and family turmoil.

    Miss Judith wants to make a

    Being born and raised in the southern part of the US, I came to love southern literature. It has a flow and charm to it, a rhythm that is unlike any other. When it is done well you can smell the gardenias and magnolias on every page and feel the grit from the dusty Delta roads. The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt is such a novel, one that envelops you and transports you to the hot, humid backroads of the deep south complete with its oppressive heat and family turmoil.

    Miss Judith wants to make a list of all that she owns before it is her "time to go." She doesn't have much; in fact, she doesn't have anything of value really except memories and stories and secrets. She would like to keep the worst of those secrets all the way to her grave but she knows that will be impossible when her sister returns home hell-bent on exposing all that she knows regardless of the cost to anyone around her.

    The actual story itself is, for many of us, as old as the hills: a family that has grown apart due to a tragedy that had to be kept quiet, in this case a murder that was covered up decades before the story takes place. As Miss Judith tells her story, catalogues her belongings and her life, however, we realize that this is more than an ordinary tale, but rather one that is told beautifully, with eloquence and in a manner not unlike the great story-tellers of the past: Faulkner and Harper Lee, even a touch of Flannery O'Connor's biting wit comes through in the tapestry that Bobotis has woven together.

    Don't be fooled, however. This is not just a piece of fiction, an historical account of Miss Judith's life. There is a mystery here, deep and dark, that must be resolved for all those concerned. Regardless of your genre of choice, this is a book for everyone, a classic in the making.

    Thank you to #Eidleweiss, @Sourcebooks and #AndreaBobotis for my copy of this

    amazing book on sale today at your favorite bookseller and Amazon

  • Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: I examined the postcard. Perhaps I thought slipping it in the draw would forestall its news. Or prevent Olva from seeing the connection between it and my new need for an inventory. More than anyone, she should understand the necessity of chronicling our family's history. It is prudent, after all, to keep a record of how one sees things, especially when others perceive matters so differently. On the desk is a letter opener made of cut glass that we played with as children; we marveled at

    EXCERPT: I examined the postcard. Perhaps I thought slipping it in the draw would forestall its news. Or prevent Olva from seeing the connection between it and my new need for an inventory. More than anyone, she should understand the necessity of chronicling our family's history. It is prudent, after all, to keep a record of how one sees things, especially when others perceive matters so differently. On the desk is a letter opener made of cut glass that we played with as children; we marveled at how, held to the window, it produced a different color for each of us. And isn't that how memory works too?

    I studied the postcard again. Addressed to me, it pictured a majestic building. The architecture looked Greek revival. The caption across the top of the postcard read 'Montgomery, Alabama' and across the bottom 'The First Capital of the Confederate of the United States 1861.' The whole bottom line had been crossed through with a red ballpoint, as though history could be changed with the stroke of a pen.

    'Olva -'

    But she was gone. I flipped over the postcard, which was unsigned. But I had known from the moment I saw it. It was unmistakably my sister's hand, a muddle of agitated letters. The message had been scrawled off, with the last word sitting a bit apart from the others, as if she had been in the process of getting up from her chair when she wrote it. 'Sister, I am coming home.'

    I stood with the postcard held aloft in my hand, as if aiming it at something. Or someone. It is important to know that Rosemarie has never been bound by any sense of responsibility to our family. You see, Quincy gathered secrets, but Rosemarie's impulse was to scatter them to the wind. And m sister believes I killed Quincy.

    ABOUT THIS BOOK: Some bury their secrets close to home. Others scatter them to the wind and hope they land somewhere far away.

    Judith Kratt inherited all the Kratt family had to offer—the pie safe, the copper clock, the murder no one talks about. She knows it's high time to make an inventory of her household and its valuables, but she finds that cataloging the family belongings—as well as their misfortunes—won't contain her family's secrets, not when her wayward sister suddenly returns, determined to expose skeletons the Kratts had hoped to take to their graves.

    Interweaving the present with chilling flashbacks from one fateful evening in 1929, Judith pieces together the influence of her family on their small South Carolina cotton town, learning that the devastating effects of dark family secrets can last a lifetime and beyond.

    MY THOUGHTS: This is a wonderful book, filled with an air of mystery, chronicling the days of an era we can only image, and the beginning of the move towards racial equality. It is the sort of book you should read reclined on a lounger under a tree in the heat of summer with an iced tea at hand. It is deliciously and darkly southern to its last full stop.

    The characters are richly portrayed, and equally as richly described. 'He was a boorish man whose two storied face had extra square footage on his forehead - square footage that, based on his ruthlessness in all business matters, he would probably be willing to sell off in hard times.'

    While I found the main character, Judith, hard to relate to (she is very 'buttoned-up'), I could sympathise with her. She has tried to hang on to her way of life in a changing world, and succeeded up to a point, aided and abetted by her faithful companion Olva. That point is the reappearance of her younger sister Rosemarie, who Judith believes to have spent her life fleeing from things, and whom she has not seen since the death of their brother Quincy.

    The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt is an absorbing read. It is a cinematic read. It is atmospheric, and as delicious as a tub of your favorite ice-cream. 4.5*

    THE AUTHOR: A native of South Carolina, Andrea holds a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of Virginia. She lives with her family in Denver, Colorado, where she teaches creative writing to youth at Lighthouse Writers Workshop. She also teaches yoga and is a national parks geek.

    DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Source Books, Landmark, via Netgalley, for providing a digital ARC of The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own opinions.

    Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the 'about' page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system.

    This review and others are also published on my webpage sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

  • Liz

    Told from the perspective of Miss Judith, this book has the stilted tone of a proper southern lady from the first half of the 20th century. Miss Judith, age 75 years, begins an inventory of her family possessions, which brings on a flight of memories, especially back to a fateful time in 1929. The return of her sister Rosemary after 60 years also threatens to expose a number of family secrets.

    It’s a beautifully written book. “She became a long, solitary coil of smoke escaping a snuffed candle.”

    Told from the perspective of Miss Judith, this book has the stilted tone of a proper southern lady from the first half of the 20th century. Miss Judith, age 75 years, begins an inventory of her family possessions, which brings on a flight of memories, especially back to a fateful time in 1929. The return of her sister Rosemary after 60 years also threatens to expose a number of family secrets.

    It’s a beautifully written book. “She became a long, solitary coil of smoke escaping a snuffed candle.”

    While I struggled to connect with Judith, I was entranced by her comments on sibling relations. The book tackles loyalty, prejudice, the struggle to survive and how what we hold dear defines us.

    The book moves as slowly as the air on a languid summer day. The author does a good job of capturing the time and place. I could see what the big reveals were going to be from soon after the beginning. But that didn’t make me upset. This book wasn’t so much about the conclusion as about the journey. I truly enjoyed it. I will say it took me a while to get drawn into the book. But once it drew me in, it truly gripped me. So, if you’re waffling at the beginning, stick with it.

    I recommend this to anyone who likes dark southern fiction. I was pleased to see the book is meant to include a list of discussion questions as I think this would make an excellent choice for book clubs.

    My thanks to netgalley and Sourcebooks Landmark for an advance copy of this book.

  • Beata

    Recently I have been lucky to read debut novels that turn out to be intriguing. The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt is definitely the novel that surprised me and kept me interested not merely for the mystery unravelled by Miss Kratt as she approaches the end of her long life.

    For one thing, I liked the narration which is classic-like, with reminiscences, and I liked Judith being an unreliable narrator. Besides, she knows a lot but keeps cards close to chest until the very end of the novel.

    Moreov

    Recently I have been lucky to read debut novels that turn out to be intriguing. The Last List of Miss Judith Kratt is definitely the novel that surprised me and kept me interested not merely for the mystery unravelled by Miss Kratt as she approaches the end of her long life.

    For one thing, I liked the narration which is classic-like, with reminiscences, and I liked Judith being an unreliable narrator. Besides, she knows a lot but keeps cards close to chest until the very end of the novel.

    Moreover, the place itself, a small cotton town of Bound in the Deep South is a location where everybody knows each other, where everybody knows each other's secrets but doesn't reveal them until the right time comes. Bound is described wonderfully and I could actually visualize the place and learn what life what like in such places in the second decade of the 20th century and earlier. And the characters. Some of them are more likeable than others, they are well-portrayed and believable in their actions.

    *Many thanks to Andrea Bobotis, Sourcebooks and Netgalley for providing me with arc in exchange for my honest review.*

    This was my third Buddy Read with my GR Friend Peter. So far, we have been extremely fortunate with the books we read, and I hope it stays this way 😊 Peter is extremely patient and understanding, and asks questions that add to the pleasure of reading. Thanks, Peter! His review gives an excellent insight into this book I highly recommend:

  • Krista

    Rating: 4 dark, Southern stars

    Andra Bobotis’ debut novel firmly caught me in its web early on, and held me there despite my struggle to leave more than once. I found this piece of Southern Fiction told in dual timelines, set in 1929 and 1989, to be dark as Southern Fiction is often wont to be. Daddy Kratt, the patriarch of the Kratt family, was a pure villain who ruled the 1929 town of Bound, SC in his cruel tight fist. Judith Kratt was Daddy Kratt’s eldest child. She tended to stay in the shado

    Rating: 4 dark, Southern stars

    Andra Bobotis’ debut novel firmly caught me in its web early on, and held me there despite my struggle to leave more than once. I found this piece of Southern Fiction told in dual timelines, set in 1929 and 1989, to be dark as Southern Fiction is often wont to be. Daddy Kratt, the patriarch of the Kratt family, was a pure villain who ruled the 1929 town of Bound, SC in his cruel tight fist. Judith Kratt was Daddy Kratt’s eldest child. She tended to stay in the shadows, watching the goings-on, as a means to keep out of the way of Daddy Kratt. The middle child, and only son, Quincy perfected the art of spying. He used his gleaned information to get in Daddy Kratt’s good graces. The youngest child, Rosemarie simply flees as often as she can. The last time she fled, she left for 60 years.

    I say that this is hard book read, and that I wanted to abandon the book several times because of the commonplace prejudices and class system found in both 1929, and sadly still in 1989. There were very few glimmers of hope or relief as we watch the aftermath Quincy’s killing in 1929, and see how it’s ramifications still echoed down to 1989. Judith is the narrator of the story. She has remained in the family home as the town of Bound fell further and further into almost a ghost-town status. In 1989 at the age of 75, she starts writing an inventory of the items remaining in the house. As each item is added to her list, we discover the generations of stories that are attached to it.

    Judith and Olva, her African American companion, have lived on together their own in the Kratt house for many decades. Olva is a year older than Judith. They seem to have a somewhat distant relationship, but they just kept rubbing along together through the years. The groove of their lives have been firmly set. Judith relies on Olva for the day-to-day tasks that keep the household running. They have had a shared history since well before 1929.

    This is a mystery about who killed Quincy. It’s a story about aging, and how family ties affect us. It also touches on the generational effects the South’s inability to come to terms with the horrendous way African Americans have been, and continue to be, sidelined, belittled, and held back economically ever since they were enslaved and brought to the United States. This is an intractable problem, and the author, with a very deft hand, did not get preachy about it. She showed, rather than told how this legacy still continues. That legacy and the cruelty of Daddy Kratt were the disturbing and moving parts of this story for me. While I wanted to look away, I just couldn’t.

    While I don’t think that I actually learned any new history, the history that I was already aware of was brought to vivid life. I was touched by the empathy that I felt for many of the main characters. This book made me feel something. I didn’t always like the feelings, but the writing was outstanding and the story ensnared me. As far as I’m concerned, that is a sign of an expertly written book.

    ‘Thank-You’ to NetGalley; the publisher, Sourcebooks Landmark; and the author, Andrea Bobotis for providing a free e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Selena

    I received a free e-copy of The Last of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea Bobotis from NetGalley for my honest review.

    Miss Judith Kratt, the narrator, is an elderly woman who knows her life is coming to an end. She decides she needs to inventory the many heirlooms in her home. As she does, each item triggers a memory of her past.

    The story's timeline is from the late 1920's to the late 1980's. Her family controlled the town of Bound, South Carolina. Many of the heirlooms are memories of the business h

    I received a free e-copy of The Last of Miss Judith Kratt by Andrea Bobotis from NetGalley for my honest review.

    Miss Judith Kratt, the narrator, is an elderly woman who knows her life is coming to an end. She decides she needs to inventory the many heirlooms in her home. As she does, each item triggers a memory of her past.

    The story's timeline is from the late 1920's to the late 1980's. Her family controlled the town of Bound, South Carolina. Many of the heirlooms are memories of the business her father had owned (the cotton gins, several plantations, the department store, and 500 acres of land around town). Judith speaks of her father, Daddy Kratt as a domineering man. Each item also has clues and secrets as to the past and the truth of her father's death.

    Judith is the oldest of three children. Her brother, Quincy, is the town snoop. He makes sure he knows everyone's business and their secrets. Rosemary, sister, is flighty and never never let anything in their family life concern her.

    One night, there is a shooting and everything changes for the Kratt family after that night. A wonderful and engaging read that will keep you reading through the night.

  • Carolyn

    Miss Judith Kratt is 75 and has decided the time has come to take an inventory of her family's possessions. She lives alone with Olva, an old family maid, rattling around in the grand mansion built by her father Daddy Kratt and his money made from cotton in the South Carolina of the 1920s. In a time of segregation, lynchings, greed and corruption, Daddy Kratt ruled with an iron fist over most of the small town through his cotton empire and grand department store. Miss Judith once kept the invent

    Miss Judith Kratt is 75 and has decided the time has come to take an inventory of her family's possessions. She lives alone with Olva, an old family maid, rattling around in the grand mansion built by her father Daddy Kratt and his money made from cotton in the South Carolina of the 1920s. In a time of segregation, lynchings, greed and corruption, Daddy Kratt ruled with an iron fist over most of the small town through his cotton empire and grand department store. Miss Judith once kept the inventory for her father's store and now with her parents and brother dead, her sister not seen since she fled her home some 60 years ago, she reflects on past events and family secrets as she lists the various items in her home.

    The novel has a very authentic Southern feel and the characters feel just right. Daddy Kratt almost leaps out of the page, striding through his department store, striking fear into the hearts of all as he passes, including his children. Although Miss Judith is difficult to like at first, remote and somewhat selfish, it's easier to feel some understanding of her as she retells events from the past, particularly her friendship with Charlie, the colored mechanic at the store and as her newspaper deliveryman Marcus and his little daughter enter her current life. This is an excellent debut novel and I loved the structure of the chapters with Miss Judith's list reflecting her past life. It takes a little while to hook you in but once it does it's an engrossing tale. 4.5★

  • Cheri

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!

    3.5 Stars

    Judith is in her mid-seventies as this begins, this story goes back and forth through time, alternating between the present year – 1989, and the past – 1929, in the small town of Bound, South Carolina, where her father once reigned, livi

    !! NOW AVAILABLE !!

    3.5 Stars

    Judith is in her mid-seventies as this begins, this story goes back and forth through time, alternating between the present year – 1989, and the past – 1929, in the small town of Bound, South Carolina, where her father once reigned, living in the once grand home that has seen better days.

    In her earlier years, Judith worked in her father’s store, keeping the records of their inventory, and she begins to do the same with items in the family home, which has been home to only Judith and Olva, a woman who serves as Judith’s companion, and friend, who also helps to take care of her. Judith’s brother, Quincy, died sixty years ago, and her sister, Rosemarie ran off after his death.

    And then Judith receives mail letting her know that Rosemarie is coming to visit, and Judith begins her “list,” an inventory of the items in the home which are family heirlooms, and the secrets attached to each slowly come to the surface. Family secrets, but also the secrets kept by the town, as well. Some secrets she might prefer remain buried, and some begin to haunt her – and she can’t help but be disturbed by the return of her sister, and the timing of her leaving to begin with. What does her sister want after all these years? She continues on with cataloguing all of the items. In part because she feels she will be remembered for these items,

    Memories, families, racial division and love are the primary themes in this story, which is a very slow moving story, and it took me too long to really feel invested in this story, chasing different memories over time – but I have to say that the ending wrapped everything up so that most of my initial hopes weren’t completely dashed – just a bit diminished. The writing is occasionally lovely, and the full story behind all of the hidden whispers from years past eventually comes to light, which provided an almost perfect ending for this story.

    Pub Date: 09 Jul 2019

    Many thanks for the ARC provided by Sourcebooks Landmark

  • *TUDOR^QUEEN*

    This work of historical fiction takes place in South Carolina during a sixty-year period (encompassing the 1920s through 1980s). Without warning, the time period weaves back and forth as the story unfolds. At the book's beginning, Judith and Olva are relaxing in their sunroom, enjoying the warmth. There is a sense of old age, and a kind of quiet, loving relationship between these two elderly woman. They share a long history together. Olva is thoughtful, speaks carefully, and is always offering t

    This work of historical fiction takes place in South Carolina during a sixty-year period (encompassing the 1920s through 1980s). Without warning, the time period weaves back and forth as the story unfolds. At the book's beginning, Judith and Olva are relaxing in their sunroom, enjoying the warmth. There is a sense of old age, and a kind of quiet, loving relationship between these two elderly woman. They share a long history together. Olva is thoughtful, speaks carefully, and is always offering to do things for Judith. It slowly becomes a revelation that Olva is a woman of color. A newspaper report that Judith Kratt's only brother Quincy was murdered at the age of 14 in 1929 is the first piece of information thrust at the reader. The book will take you on a journey from the past to the present to slowly unravel the mystery of who killed Quincy, and also to uncover family secrets.

    But as the book begins, Judith has decided that she wants to make an accounting of various valuables owned by the Kratt family. As each chapter ends, items are diligently listed that Judith has spoken about during those pages. When you get to the final chapter, the list will be long and complete. Judith's family home is very important to her, and these family heirlooms are treasures with stories to tell.

    Daddy Kratt ran a successful cotton gin business and eventually opened the Kratt Mercantile Company, a glittering, imposing multi-floored store that even had elevators. Judith was trusted to take inventory and on opening day she took endless store visitors on tours of the facility. However, Daddy Kratt was a ruthless businessman and an abusive, cold-hearted father. Son Quincy, all of 14 years old, would gather information on various people in the (fictional) town of Bound, South Carolina to use against them in order to curry favor with his father. These would serve to improve the Kratt family's business interests by blackmailing enemies. In 1989 we know that the store did not survive, so that is another story to tell.

    The book centers heavily on issues of race relations, the depressed state of a once thriving town, a disfunctional family, and closely held family secrets. The character of the murdered boy Quincy was so despicable that I was devoid of any sympathy, or even in much interest as to who killed him. Ditto for the father Daddy Kratt. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree. The core relationship that appealed to me most was that of Judith and Olva, and the saving grace of these characters carried my middling interest to the book's conclusion.

    Thank you to the publisher SOURCEBOOKS Landmark for providing an advance reader copy via NetGalley.

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