The Cicada Tree
It’s the summer of 1956, and a brood of cicadas descends upon Providence, Georgia. It’s a natural event with supernatural repercussions, and unhinges the life of Analeise Newell, an eleven-year-old piano prodigy. Amidst this emergence, dark obsessions are stirred, uncanny gifts provoked, and secrets unearthed.
During a visit to Mistletoe, a plantation owned by the wealthy Mayfield family, Analeise encounters Cordelia Mayfield and her daughter Marlissa, both of whom possess an otherworldly beauty. A whisper and an act of violence perpetrated during this visit by Mrs. Mayfield all converge to kindle Analeise’s fascination with the Mayfields.
Analeise’s burgeoning obsession with the Mayfield family overshadows her own seemingly ordinary life, culminating in dangerous games and manipulation, and setting off a chain of cataclysmic events with life-altering consequences—all unfolding to the maddening whir of a cicada song.
Publisher: Moonshine Cove Publishing
Publication Date: February 22, 2022
“Following in the magnificent footsteps of Carson McCullers and Harper Lee, Robert Gwaltney creates a wonderful snapshot of the friendship that forms between Analeise and Etta Mae, two eleven-year-old girls in ‘50’s small town Georgia… This is a book to love and remember, and every book club in America would be wise to snap it up.”
–Robert Goolrick, #1 New York Times bestselling author
“The gothic beauty of a relentless Georgia summer is brought to life through Gwaltney’s deliberate details and exquisite imagery, while all the while evil lurks beneath the surface; from where or what the reader does not know but is as convinced by Gwaltney’s expert storytelling as he is.”
–Zoe Fishman, bestselling author of Invisible Air and Georgia Author of the Year 2020
“This is Southern Gothic with a vengeance—a dark blast of family secrets, strained loyalties, and bitter betrayals. We follow young Analeise Newell with fear and hope, dreading what may happen to her even as we turn the pages. Robert Gwaltney is a writer to watch.”
–Christopher Swann, author of Never Turn Back (Crooked Lane Books)
""Gwaltney's Southern Gothic, THE CICADA TREE mesmerizes and seduces, the language redolent and deadly, the characters steeped in secrets and madness, and the whole of it an enthralling and perfect read. Easily my favorite book of the year.""
-Kim Taylor Blakemore, bestselling author of After Alice Fell
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Raised alongside three feral, younger brothers in the rash-inducing, subtropical climate of Cairo, Georgia, Robert Gwaltney is a lifelong resident of the South – a circumstance that leaves an indelible mark upon his voice as a writer.
A graduate of Florida State University, he presently resides in Atlanta, Georgia with his partner. By day, he serves as Vice President of Easter Seals North Georgia, Inc., a non-profit organization that strengthens children and their families during the most critical times in their development. Through his non-profit work, he is a champion for early childhood literacy. In all the hours between, he writes. The Cicada Tree is Gwaltney’s debut novel.
Tags: Adult, Gothic, Historical Fiction, Literary, Magical Realism, Women's Fiction