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Extended Audio Sample Cold Sassy Tree Audiobook, by Olive Ann Burns Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (42,191 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Olive Ann Burns Narrator: Grover Gardner Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2005 ISBN: 9781455170470
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Cold Sassy Tree is the undeniably entertaining and extraordinarily moving account of small-town Southern life in a bygone era. Brimming with characters who are wise and loony, unimpeachably pious and deliciously irreverent, Olive Ann Burns’ charming tale is a classic.

One thing you could depend on in Cold Sassy, Georgia, was that word got around—fast. If the preacher’s wife’s petticoat showed, the ladies would make the talk last a week. But on July 5, 1906, things took a scandalous turn. That was the day E. Rucker Blakeslee, proprietor of the general store and barely three weeks a widower, eloped with Miss Love Simpson—a woman half his age and, worse yet, a Yankee. On that day, fourteen-year-old Will Tweedy’s adventures began, and an unimpeachably pious town came to life.

As the newlyweds’ chaperone, conspirator, and confidant, Will is privy to his renegade grandfather’s second adolescence. Meanwhile, Will does some growing up of his own. He gets run over by a train and lives to tell about it, and he kisses his first girl and survives that too. Olive Ann Burns has given us a timeless, funny, Southern romance.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “One of the best portraits of small-town Southern life ever written.”

    Pat Conroy, New York Times bestselling author

  • “Rich with emotion, humor, and tenderness.”

    Washington Post Book World

  • “No less than brilliant!”

    Boston Globe

  • “One beautiful book. Better than To Kill a Mockingbird.”

    Shirley Abbott, award-winning author

  • “Exuberant, funny, touching.”

    Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “A winner! This classic of Southern mores, coming of age, and abiding love is told with care and verve…Sympathy, appreciation, and understanding make [Gardner’s] presentation…as much a pleasure to hear as it is to read.”

    Kliatt

  • “An effervescent novel… [Grover Gardner’s] enlightened reading greatly enhances the emotive effect…Rich in characterization and dialogue, this novel is well-suited to the audio format; [Grover Gardner] superbly conveys this great wealth. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • “Full of humor and Twainesque adventures, the story is replete with a wonderful mix of characters and the trappings of turn-of-the-century life. Narrator [Grover Gardner] is perfectly cast.”

    Library Journal

  • An AudioFile Earphones Award Winner in 1993

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Naomi Bodway | 2/20/2014

    " This is one of my top 5 favorites of all time! A coming of age, family saga, told through the eyes of a 12 year old boy. Grandma has just passed away, and Grandpa announces "she is as dead as she is ever going to be!"....we are allowed to watch the extended family deal with all the ensuing issues in a most intimate way, through Will Tweedy's eyes, and the vision is priceless. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Allyson Neighbors | 2/9/2014

    " I loved this book! Will Tweedy as narrator stole my heart. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 1/31/2014

    " The last 100 pages was where stuff finally started happening! Too bad I had to read the 300 before that. It was a nice story, but it was a little too long for me. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Alice-Anne | 1/28/2014

    " loved this book. my husband really liked it, too. (btw: this was an audiobk for me and the narrator was awesome). I first thought it was just a book of funny stories but it developed into many deeper subjects and left me thinking after the book ended. oh, and i adore the characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Pam Bahrt | 1/28/2014

    " This was a very well written story that kept me engaged throughout. I was surprised to find some religious content thought was quite thought provoking. I would definitely recommend this book! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kris Clark | 1/16/2014

    " I loved this story and the way that it was written. It made me laugh and cry! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susie | 1/9/2014

    " I finally finished it! I enjoyed it, but boy did it take me a long time to finish! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 April Boswell | 12/31/2013

    " A heart warming story, set in 1904 after the civil war. Very southern. Loved the vernacular and the characters. A little sad at times and not as uplifting as I would have liked. The book has an overall message that is good for anyone who has ever lost a loved one. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Heather | 12/28/2013

    " I give it 3 1/2 stars, almost a 4. For some reason I couldn't really get into it in the beginning. But it got better and I loved the end. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sydney | 12/27/2013

    " If you want a nice novel about what it was like to live in the South during the early 1900s, this book is for you. The book really is about everday life, there is no other plot or purpose. Enjoy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sally | 12/10/2013

    " I tried reading this book 15 years ago and couldn't finish it. I just finished it this week and really enjoyed it a lot. A great look at the south in 1906... some of the stories are quite entertaining. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cynthia | 12/3/2013

    " I enjoyed reading this book and found myself laughing quite a bit. It took a while for the brain to read the Southern style of writing, but was necessary to give the book its authenticity. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Misti | 9/22/2013

    " I read this for the first time over 20 years ago and I have read it multiple times since then. It is still one of my favorite books. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meredith | 2/26/2013

    " A unique novel and story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cyndee | 8/8/2012

    " Enjoyed the homespun stories ~ lesisurely read during summer. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amy | 7/31/2012

    " I kept waiting for the plot to start... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pat | 7/21/2012

    " A wonderful book on many levels. Enjoyable story, interesting characters, and a portrait of small town Southern life before Civil Rights. I highly recommend reading it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Noelle | 5/1/2012

    " This book is about a family were people get married at a bad time I think the book was okay. It is not in my top ten list of favorite books. It is hard to understand because it is written in old southern language. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathleen Kirby Vallejo | 3/1/2012

    " Loved this one. I even cried a little at the end...I'm excited to read the sequel, I hope it's as good as this one was. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christine | 12/5/2011

    " I read this years ago and loved it. It made me laugh. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natalie Innes | 8/9/2011

    " This was a simple, Southern story recommended to me by my mother-in-law and I quite enjoyed it. Good character development. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 6/24/2011

    " I love books like this about the south! I loved the characters and their relationships. The author was 60 when she wrote this and it was her first novel; pretty amazing! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eciroli | 6/3/2011

    " Loved this when I read it five years ago. I am listening to the audio version right now and am loving it even more! Classic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Andrea | 5/27/2011

    " This was about a dysfunctional family in a small Georgia town in 1906. Pride and social etiquette try to dictate the norm but grandpa will have none of it. Charming and fun. Liked it. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Kim | 5/22/2011

    " My Dad bought me this book because it's his favorite... I wanted to like it for my father's sake but did not care for it. The narrator was annoying and seemed dim for his age. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kerry | 5/18/2011

    " Cute, humorous and a fun read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Andrea | 5/12/2011

    " It was a sweet story and had some good values, but was a little slow. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 5/9/2011

    " will tweedy love simpson loma grandpa blakeslee lightfoot "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy | 5/2/2011

    " Very fun, very good read. This is full of rich characters with multi-layered development. It's a definite must-read! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Suzy | 4/27/2011

    " Just couldn't get into this one. The whole small southern town this just doesn't do it for me. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Amy | 4/26/2011

    " I kept waiting for the plot to start... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eliza | 4/25/2011

    " I don't know how this book escaped me before. It's wonderful. Will Tweedy may be the best fictional character ever, made only more better by the fact that Neil Patrick Harris played him in the movie version. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Diane | 4/24/2011

    " Awesome book - a story that seems frozen in time. Highligh recommend. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kelly | 4/23/2011

    " The last 100 pages was where stuff finally started happening! Too bad I had to read the 300 before that. It was a nice story, but it was a little too long for me. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kara | 4/22/2011

    " Easy read. It's hard not to like this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie | 4/20/2011

    " I loved this book. I can't believe that I waited so long enjoy it! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Liz | 4/19/2011

    " The ending definitely leaves you hanging and wanting more of the rest of the story. It's a great page turner though! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Lindsay | 4/16/2011

    " The book was written very well. There were a few points where I stopped reading to ponder something I'd read. However, I didn't really see the point of it. Excellent characters, but no plot. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Gina | 4/15/2011

    " Excellent book! Felt like I was reading a mark twain novel. Lively characters and humorous adventures. "

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About the Author
Author Olive Ann Burns

Olive Ann Burns (1924–1990) was born on a farm in Banks County, Georgia, and went to school in nearby Commerce, which was the model for Cold Sassy. She received a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and for ten years was on the Sunday magazine staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

About the Narrator

Grover Gardner (a.k.a. Tom Parker) is an award-winning narrator with over eight hundred titles to his credit. Named one of the “Best Voices of the Century” and a Golden Voice by AudioFile magazine, he has won three prestigious Audie Awards, was chosen Narrator of the Year for 2005 by Publishers Weekly, and has earned more than thirty Earphones Awards.