Curses and Other Buried Things

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Pub Date 10 Oct 2023 | Archive Date 10 Nov 2023

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Blood holds all kinds of curses.

Seven generations of women in Susana Prather’s family have been lost to the Georgia swamp behind her house. The morning after her eighteenth birthday, she awakens soaked with water, with no memory of sleepwalking. No matter how she tries to stop it, she’s pulled from her safe bed night after night, haunted by her own family history and legacy. Now, the truth feels unavoidable: it’s only a matter of time before she loses her mind and the swamp becomes her grave.

Unless she can figure out how to break the curse.

When she isn’t sleepwalking, she’s dreaming of her great-great-great-great-grandmother, Suzanna Yawn, who set the curse in motion in 1855. Her ancestor’s life bears such similarity to her own that it might hold the key she seeks. Or it might only foretell tragedy.

As Susana seeks solutions in the past and the present, family members hold secrets tighter to their chests, friends grow distant, and old flames threaten to sputter and die. But Susana has something no one else has been able to seize: the unflagging belief that all curses can be broken and that love can help a new future begin.

Based on her own family history, award-winning novelist Caroline George’s latest novel is a staggeringly beautiful work of hope.

  • Stand-alone young adult contemporary Southern gothic
  • Perfect for fans of Wilder GirlsDark and Shallow Lies, and Swamplandia!
  • Book length: 97,000 words
  • Includes discussion questions for book clubs

Blood holds all kinds of curses.

Seven generations of women in Susana Prather’s family have been lost to the Georgia swamp behind her house. The morning after her eighteenth birthday, she awakens...

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ISBN 9780785236245
PRICE $19.99 (USD)

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Average rating from 43 members

Featured Reviews

So this book got me hooked, I read it in one day.
The characters had you invested in their lives and wanting to see what happened next. Susana is trying to figure out how to break a family curse and move forward with her life, or die trying..
Caroline George is a great author, she has a way of conveying a story so fluidly. Thank you Netgalley for an ARC of Curses and Other Buried Things by Caroline George

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I need Goodreads to create an extra feature on their rating system, because there are five star books, and then there are books like this.

Caroline won me over with Dearest Josephine, impressed me further with The Summer We Forgot, and then left me speechless with Curses and Other Buried Things. Each was beautiful in their own unique way, but this one is truly a masterpiece.

To start with, Caroline has so perfectly captured rural, southern living. Our slang and colloquialisms, the quirks about our communities, all of it. She brought Berryville to life, both through the people who lived there and the landscape around them. Each character was so well developed and so real that I could see their equivalent in my own life.

The plot was equally as amazing. The way that the dual timelines wove together was seamless. The story builds so that the reader learns some life lessons, while still leaving some parts perfectly mysterious. I absolutely loved that so many of the plot points were based on Caroline's family history and psychological findings (the way she tied everything in was brilliant), and I also loved that while there was this level of reality, there was just enough left as a supernatural mystery.

Susana's story represents such a raw, honest side of humanity. The challenges and celebrations, the ups and the downs. I had to pause several times to fully appreciate some of the lines. Here's a few of my favorites:

"Live a life so impossible that when you die and people tell your story, listeners will question whether you're a tall tale."

"I think if you look for it, you'll find beauty in the uncomfortable things, the inconveniences, the uglies. You won't cover your mouth when the air fills with dust. You'll savor the earth, taste the smut. You'll stop looking for perfect and instead relish simply existing."

"You don't have to change all the dirt, but a little change - the addition of something new - does wonders. Even plants can't reach their full potential in familiar ground. Same goes for people, I suppose. We all need to change our dirt from time to time. . . Until you change your dirt, you won't know where you best grow."

I'm sure there are other things I could rave about, but suffice it to say this book was stunning.

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Now that I've got that off my chest, let me start off my review with some words that encompass Curses and Other Buried Things: unexpected and unpredictable, deeply profound and moving, beautiful and tragic, storytelling at its finest.

Curses and Other Buried Things was so different from what I was expecting, and I think that's what made me love it even more. I've never read a book like this. It stands out from others. It's unique, it doesn't recycle over-used plot lines. And it's so dang cool.

The characters of this book had my heart. The storyline had my attention. The page-turner plot twists had me reading late into the night. There's such a rare depth and beauty in this story that I don't often find in YA fiction, and that's why Caroline is always an auto-buy author of mine.

I have *so* much to say about this story, but I feel like I don't have the right words because Caroline's book was full of the perfect words to summarize this beautiful and tragic novel. The themes were so impactful and timely and important, and they were conveyed so beautifully throughout the storyline and Caroline's poetic way with words. And don't even get me started on the plot itself, because it was just an insanely wild ride in the best possible way. Also, the faith aspect of this story was one of my favorites and the most prevalent in any of Caroline's books, which I so appreciated.

Cautionary: This book deals with characters who have hallucinations and deal with mental health struggles, so for readers who are more sensitive to this I just wanted to make you aware of this. Mentions of teen pregnancy and rape, but it's not explicit and only mentioned in a conversation between characters (readers don't see this happening in real time on the pages). Two MCs take their relationship too far (nothing on the page but it is mentioned that the girl would sneak off the boy's house and stay the night) and make wrong choices, but they recognize that they can grow from their mistakes and not repeat them, and we witness how they learn how to truly love each other in a healthy and pure way (SO appreciated that we get to see this!).

I think this may be my favorite Caroline George novel yet?! All this to say, I highly recommend this book for so many reasons--it's *so* worth the read, and I know I'll be rereading it again!

Thank you to NetGalley and the author for an eARC of Curses and Other Buried Things. A positive review was not required, only my honest opinion. All thoughts are expressly my own.

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On her eighteenth birthday, Susana Prather inherits the curse that’s taken the lives of nearly every first-born daughter in her bloodline. Now it’s her turn to suffer. As prepared as she thinks she is, Susana isn’t ready for the nightmares, the sleepwalking, and the little ways the swamp near her house calls to her. And the deeper she goes, the more she realizes it’s not just her life that’s enmeshed in the past, but also Godwin’s and JC’s—two boys she’s always felt inexplicably drawn to and never knew why.

The three of them are all connected, but how? What about their collective past is still affecting the present? And can they work together to break the curse that’s plagued them once and for all?

This book was fantastic! It was beautiful and heartbreaking, wholesome and disparaging, and the little bits Southern Gothic vibes really amplified the setting to atmospheric heights. I loved the initial countdown, Susana’s stubbornness, her and Godwin, the feeling of being immersed in a Southern setting, the imaginings/sleepwalking, the flashbacks, and the beautiful wisdom. George did such a great job at not only showing what Southern culture is like but also what happens when families keep secrets buried for too long. Just so wonderfully powerful & thought provoking. I highly recommend this!

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The multiple generation curse worked well in this novel, I had a great time going through this universe. Each generation felt like real people and I thought Susana was a great main character. I enjoyed the Southern Gothic elements and it worked in the story. Caroline George has a great writing style and I can’t wait to read more.

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I enjoyed this book so much I couldn’t put it down and read it in one day. I will definitely read more books by this author.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Curses and Other Buried Things was an absolute phenomenal book! I loved this story so much. I loved that it was told from different POV's in different time periods and I felt like this helped make the book so impactful. I enjoyed Suzanna Yawn's story based in the 1800's in the Okefenokee Swamp as it followed her troubles and her "curse". This part of the story was so vivid in scenery and so heartbreakingly told that I felt like I was watching Suzanna Yawn's story as if it were a movie, I could feel her emotions the author had written this part of the story so well. It was also fascinating thinking about how someone's words can have such an impact on not only one generation but many generations of families. I also enjoyed Susannah Prather's modern story and how the curse and her ancestors story impacted her but didn't feel as strongly for her story. I loved how the author had Susannah Prather have flashbacks to her ancestors story so she understood what was happening. This was a really beautiful and well written story. A little bit magic, a little bit heartbreaking and a whole lot of finding yourself. This was one of the most memorable stories I have ever read.

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Caroline George has such a descriptive and soulful style of writing, it pulls you right into the story in a truly immersive and cinematic way.

“Curses and Other Buried Things” is remarkable! I don’t want to spoil anything because it’s a tale that deserves to be experienced freshly. I loved how it was at turns a spooky southern gothic, a riveting historical mystery and a deeply moving family narrative set in a vibrantly realized small town. So many emotions! I felt like I knew the characters, and I cared so much about what would happen to each of them.

By the end of the book (and into the author’s notes), I was completely in tears! I relate so much to growing up in the south (and having a lot of ancestral roots there), being fascinated by family history and wishing so much that there had been more truth and light shown in places that deserved to be unhidden. I have always felt strongly connected to those who came before. The lineage that makes me who I am. Thanks to modern DNA and genealogical research, secrets have been uncovered. My own buried things. And we do indeed have a powerful choice in how we allow the past to impact our present - and future.

I’m so grateful to Thomas Nelson and NetGalley for providing the ARC so that I could share my honest opinion. And I can’t thank Caroline enough for writing this mesmerizing story that will continue to inspire!

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“Blood holds all kinds of curses.”

Beautifully written. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys southern gothic horror.

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Another fantastic book by Caroline George! Honestly, with each new release she has, she's quickly become not only an auto-buy author for me but one of my favorite authors. If you enjoyed either of her other books, you need to read this book!

This southern gothic tale is captivating and deeply moving. I found myself savoring each of her words, rereading lines, and whole paragraphs. This isn't a book you'll read quickly. You'll want to sit and mull it over.

The dual perspective between Susana and Suzanna is eloquently balanced and bewitching. I found myself frustrated when I had to put the book down. There was really no point where I ever wanted to stop reading the story or where it got slow. It was a constant struggle for me wanting to savor the words and take it slowly, and to also just find out what happened!

This book is a "just one more chapter" kind of book you definitely need in your life. And it has an ending that will have you on the edge of your seat and biting your nails! (And possibly screaming, unless it's late at night and you don't want to wake the house like me!)

So well written. Again, George is a fabulous writer and this story is her best yet! Highly, highly recommended!

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Curses and Other Burried Things is a POWERFUL work of art. The story is beautifully written and is emotional, intriguing, and thought provoking. Caroline George has done it again, and cemented herself as an auto-buy author in my home library.
I LOVE how this story approaches the problem of generational trauma and fear. We are all too quick to blame our current problems on the past, rather than make changes and live in freedom and forgivness.
This is a 5 star book for me and I would recommend it for young adult and adult readers, who like suspense, mysteries, and thought provoking themes of healing and forgiveness.

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Some books are more than beautiful or masterful. Some stories have the power to break curses.

I don’t even know how to write a review for a book this powerful, this needed for every person. There are so many books that have masterful storytelling or beautiful prose or relatable characters, but there are few books that have true power in their words.

You will just have to take my word when I tell you this book IS a literary masterpiece. I highlighted 50 quotes. That should tell you enough. But if it doesn’t… The prose is absolute perfection. Every word intentional. And the pacing is spot on; this book demanded that I soak in the story, that I read slow and let it seep into my soul.

CURSES & OTHER BURIED THINGS isn’t simply a story of a girl trying to break a curse. It’s a story that many people carry in their hearts and hide in their closets. It’s the dark parts of our pasts—both personal and generational—that we are too scared to even acknowledge. Lies we’ve been told that we think predict our futures.

“A curse is a lie you believe about yourself” and this book is about to break some curses. Because every curse can be broken. Every hurt, hangup, and habit can find recovery. And this book will likely be a stepping stone to healing for those willing to open themselves up and look the past dead in the face.

I especially appreciated how the toxicity of purity culture was woven subtly into the story—a topic that so many fear to approach out of fear. Susana’s struggle against her feelings for Godwin were a very authentic picture of how purity culture can fuel a fear of romance—the lie that if you kiss someone, you might as well be having sex, and to be attracted to someone is no better.

“Free people free other people.”
And after reading this book, I feel a little bit more free.
I feel a little bit more brave.
I feel a little bit more ready to dig up some buried things.

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This story of generational trauma and curses blew my mind! It’s so easy to believe that the past defines us and we are fated to repeat the mistakes from it. It takes bravery and strength to push through and overcome the past. This story highlighted this in such a fresh and powerful way! Susana’s story was also the story of so many others and it was powerful to me. We can break the cycle by banishing silence and move on in healthier ways!

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What a brilliantly written story. This is a genre I normally wouldn’t read but I found myself loving everything about it. High praise!

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read if you like
-family secrets🔒
-generational curses🌾
-small town mystery🔍
-friends-to-lovers romance💛
-Georgia setting🍑
-ethereal writing📖
-dual timeline🕰️

this book was EVERYTHING I hoped it would be. full of spooky season vibes, lovable characters, slow burn plot, intrigue, romance, secrets upon secrets. A dual timeline, YA version of Where the Crawdads Sing. Similar in their twists, and settings but with a grittier swamp vibe. Pick this one up JUST in time for halloween🎃

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This was by far the best book I've read this year. I loved the ambiance of the stories setting and the characters. It could not have been better unless it would have been just a tad darker and closer to NA vs. YA. Lord that would have been INSANE!! As it sits though this book gave me the heebee givees and I could not put it down. There is a reason George is a multi-winning author!!

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I loved this. Very emotionally invested in the characters. It felt like home to me. I can’t wait to buy this book.
Highly recommend.

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I'm a sucker for Southern Gothic Horrors, and this one didn't disappoint!
Susana comes from a long line of cursed women, where each first daughter is cursed to an early death and trapped in their small town on their 18th birthday. Her family has secrets, trauma, and a long line of complicated history that ties them to the land they live on and the other people of the town.

This was an incredible exploration of what it is to be a girl growing up in a small town. You can grow up not knowing more or wanting more and just content yourself with being thought of as cursed. Everyone knows everyone in a small town, and it's easy to become what others tell you you are.
Susana is constantly drawn into the swamp that claimed every first daughter, and at the beginning, she does everything she can to stop the curse - boarding up and locking doors, enlisting help from an old friend. But none of it gives her relief. Towards the middle, we see her give into her "fate" with relief. She lets herself be claimed by the swap and accepts that it's just a matter of time until the land takes her for its own. Susana resigns herself to becoming what everyone has told her she is - she's cursed, and she's never leaving the town. After she becomes an adult, she's a lost cause. Growing up she was warned about what not to be. Don't be promiscuous. Don't talk to boys. Don't fall into the trap that your mother did - pregnant at 17 and dead. The only thing that anyone does believe about her is that she's cursed, and she believes it. She never got to discover who she was. She was never allowed to hope for a future after high school. She had accepted that there was nothing for her outside of her small town.

I think that this book won't hit the same if you didn't grow up in a small town. Small rural towns tend to eat girls up or trap them. Everyone tells you who you are before you get to discover who you want to be, and most of the time, they don't say that you're anything good. I loved this book for being spooky and gripping, but mostly, I loved it for being capturing what it can be like to be a girl growing up in a rural space.
4.5 stars rounded up - I read this during a slump, but it was a fantastic book.
Thank you to NetGalley, Thomas Nelson publishers, and the author for an eARC of this book. All thoughts and opinions are wholly my own.

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Two women; Suzanna Yawn in 1897, and her great x4 granddaughter Susana Prather in the present. A lineage of curses, secrets, and trauma destined to keep repeating. This story is atmospheric, small-town southern, and steeped in superstition and family folklore.

This is a story that beautifully handled breaking toxic generational cycles. It is the best contemporary YA novel (based on real events) I may have ever read. It reflected perfectly to me some of my own experiences of breaking free from lies that had burdened and cursed my own life.

I am so thankful that this book exists, and I strongly recommend it to basically everyone. It is YA for a reason, and deals with a lot of heavy topics, so maybe not for the younger crowd, but it is exquisitely written.

Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Netgalley for the DRC in exchange for an honest review.

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✨ Curses and Other Buried Things by @authorcarolinegeorge ✨


This book surprised me in the most tender of ways.

Full of simple poetry and quotes that will now live in my home forever, it tells the story of a family cursed, destined to rinse and repeat the same cycle over and over and over. The belief in the curse is so deeply rooted, that there doesn't seem to be a way out, no matter how much research is done.

There are flashbacks to provide more context and clues, but a majority of the book feels like a means to an end... Until you actually get to the end.

Generational trauma and epigenetics are discussed through the lens of southern folklore and the author's personal genealogy. There is an author's note at the beginning and end of the book that felt like a warm hug from someone who truly understands.

I'm thankful to have read this book, it's just what I needed currently.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Thank you to @authorcarolinegeorge, #thomasnelsonfiction and @netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book*

➡️ Curses and Other Buried Things will be available to read on October 10th!

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Caroline George has done it again. I knew within a few chapters that this would be one of my favorite releases of 2023. There’s just something riveting about Caroline George’s writing. She easily sweeps you into the story and into the lives of her characters. Her settings are always so atmospheric, her stories compelling, and her characters captivating.

I’ve never visited Georgia, but after reading this book, I feel as if I’ve grown up alongside Susana, Godwin, and the others in the Okefenokee Swamp. Caroline George’s prose illuminates the places and people she chooses to write about, bringing them to life in such captivating and engaging ways.

I found the story of the generational curse absolutely fascinating. I love the parallels between Susana’s current life and Suzanna Yawn’s past. The way Caroline weaves the two narratives together using various aspects of the curse was so well done. I hope the final copy includes a full family tree because the arc formatting made that a little hard to follow. Still, I found myself eager to keep reading, to find out the truth about the past and what Susana would do with that truth in her own present life. And I love all the twists and turns the story takes. There were a few reveals that I guessed correctly due to the excellent use of foreshadowing, but there were a few that completely flipped me, which were just as satisfying and exciting. Those last handful of chapters were so intense!

In addition to a compelling narrative and fantastic setting, this book has swoon-worthy romantic tension, heartwarming dynamics between a granddaughter and grandfather, and such fun banter between a group of friends. Caroline George knows how to write people, place, and plot, and it’s absolutely spellbinding.

Highly, highly recommend. I’ll be raving about this one for a long, long time.

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Okay, at this point, Caroline George just cannot do wrong in my eyes. I adored—ADORED—Dearest Josephine. I binge-read the mysterious romp that is The Summer We Forgot. And now Curses and Other Buried Things—it was unexpected and intriguing and captivating. The loveliness of the writing, the depth of the story, the themes that both surprised me and burrowed into my heart, the plot that took me places I didn't see coming . . . I loved all of it. Every minute. Every page. I've seen the author note on social media that this is the most personal of all her books, and I could feel that. Loved it. LOVED IT. And I'm already looking forward to reading it again when my pre-ordered hardcover arrives in the mail.

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“Everyone has their curses, Susana, except not all of us get the chance to break them.”

Easy 5 stars

For seven generations, the women in Susana Prather’s family have been lost to the swamp. So when she awakes on her 18th birthday soaked in swamp water and no memories of how she ended up that way, she fears the curse is coming for her…unless she can be the one to break it. Through the help of friends, family and the flashbacks of the past, Susana will do whatever to create a new story for herself.

It’s been a while since I was absolutely blown away by the entirety of a book, but this book did it for me. From the writing to the unbelievably relatable lines, I hung on every word of this book straight to the end.

The vibes of this book are immaculate. Southern gothic-esque, folklore and just slightly witchy. I loved this cast of characters were are given and get to explore. They’re so dynamic and each one lends something to the overarching plot of the book. Even of the setting of the novel was immersive and made me feel like I was in the middle of small town Georgia.

My biggest take away from this book is how the existence of the curse and the hold it has over this family works really well as a parallel to generational trauma. In dealing with this curse and breaking it, you watch Susana heal these generations of trauma and loss in a heartbreaking and uplifting way. She breaks down years of secrets and lies, deals with the expectations her family has for her and the expectations she has for her own life. It’s masterfully handled and written.

To find out in the author’s note that this was all based on true events, fictionalized for this story, added another layer of depth to the entire thing. I loved reading about the author’s family and the influence they had over the characters and events.

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