OUTLINE OF LEAVING COLD SASSY Leaving Cold Sassy is the unfinished sequel to Cold Sassy Tree written by Olive Ann Burns. Cold Sassy Tree was her best selling novel, selling more then a million copies worldwide. She spent five years working on the romance novel Leaving Cold Sassy before she died of cancer in 1990. Fifteen chapters of the sequel were completed which is the story of Olive Ann's own parents. Leaving Cold Sassy is set in a small Georgia town in 1917. The town which was called Cold Sassy in the 1st novel is now called Progressive City.
The stories main character is Will Tweedy, a well liked and respected citizen of Progressive City. Leaving Cold Sassy finds him all grown up and at the age of 25. The story reflects back to Cold Sassy Tree quite often and explains how much Will has changed since his Grampa Blakeslee died in 1907.
Will was influenced alot by his Grampa and knows that he and the town would be different if he were still alive. Cold Sassy was changed to Progressive City by the towns leaders because they thought it sounded too country for an up and coming business community. People in the town liked to gossip and many talked about Will and wondered why he was not in the service. The truth was that Will wanted to inlist but he couldn't because was too thin. While many of his friends were off fighting World War I he was stuck in Progressive City feeling out of place.
Every September the town holds a watermelon cutting for the townspeople to meet the new teachers at the school. This is where Sanna Klein comes into the story. An attractive foreign-looking women who is one of 3 new teachers at the school. Everyone tells Will of her beauty and how she would be perfect for him. Will does not pay much attention to them but is curious so he goes to the watermelon cutting. From the moment he saw her he was in love although she was already involved with someone else. Sanna Klein was the complete opposite of Will Tweedy. She was shy and always worried about little things that Will wouldn't of had a care in the world about. Will was very outgoing and could make a friend with anybody no matter who they were.
Will knew Sanna was involved with someone else but he tried to win her over anyway. He would write her letters and invite her to go to church with him constantly. Will could always make a joke and he had a good sense of humor which is what Sanna loved about him. Everytime she would feel stressed or worry about something Will would always cheer her up. Eventually Sanna fell in love with Will. At the time Will had a good job and thought Sanna was the missing piece to a perfect life. With the war came hard times and Will lost his job at Georgia State. This is basically as far as Olive Ann Burns got with the story but she did leave notes behind and you could see the direction she was going in with the end. Will and Sanna had a few kids and Sanna was forced to stay at home and become a full time mom. Times are tough for them through the war and money is hard to come by, this is when Will realizes marrying Sanna might not of been the right idea.Will's Aunt Loma who was criticized by the towns people for moving to New York and marrying a Yankee had her troubles at the end as well. She gets divorced and moves back to Progressive City and feels like and outcast. Sanna and her don't get along well and Aunt Loma criticizes her for getting pregnant every year. Because Will is a person wanting to try something new and is always on the run he comes in contact with his old girl friend while looking for a job. He is confused and is almost depressed that he does not have a job and can barley support his family, that he has an affair with her. Sanna eventually finds out but knows a divorce would not be right and would put them in a worse citation then they are already in. She says she will be happier in an imperfect marriage then in a divorce. They work through the affair and things start to look up as Will finds a new job but they both know things will never be the same.
While Leaving Cold Sassy started out as a fantasy love story it turned into a realistic story of a couple in hard times. That was what set this book aside from other books, is was real. I would recommend Leaving Cold Sassy to other readers who enjoy realistic stories that are simple and easy to follow.