The Sausage Maker’s Daughters: A Novel
Set in Wisconsin, in the early 70’s, Kip Czermanski has come back home from California. When she moved away she vowed to never come back but her sister’s illness and subsequent death brought her back and now her life has turned inside out.
Kip has been arrested for murder. The murder of a former lover, who just happens to be her brother-in-law. She sits in a jail cell awaiting her fate. For a family formerly held in high esteem by the entire town as its largest employer this is the ultimate failure.
The story takes us from her cell, to the courtroom and back through her past. Being the Sausage Maker’s daughter may not save her this time.
This story just blew me away. Definitely the best book this year if not several years. The truth that came out at the end was just “Oh My God”, not at all what I expected.
For those of you not from Wisconsin or not familiar with Wisconsin history the recent protests in Madison were nothing compared to the protests that were held on the University of Wisconsin campus during the Vietnam War. The author described Madison as a sort of “Third Coast,” especially during the Vietnam era in a recent interview. Schools like Columbia and Berkeley, situated on either coast of the country, were legendary for their radical movements. Madison, here in the Midwest was facing similar social upheaval. The University of Wisconsin became known for radical ideas too.
This author puts Kip Czermanski was right in the middle of it. She was a college student at the UW in the 60’s. She left her conservative family back in Wausaukeesha and becomes a bra-burning, Afro-wearing, antiwar feminist on a mission. She spends her college years protesting the war being tear gassed, billy-clubbed, and even arrested. She was devoted to the cause and never backed down. Her family never understood her rebellion.
The protests started in Madison in 1964 and in August 1970 Sterling Hall in the center of the UW Campus was bombed by four young people as a protest against the University’s research connections with the US military during the Vietnam War. It resulted in the death of a university physics researcher and injuries to three others.
Wausaukeesha like the story is fictional but mirrors several towns of the 60’s and 70’s. The violence and demonstrations of that time are very real. Beyond all that the story really takes on family dynamics and sibling rivalry in a powerful way. Doing what looks best in the public eye over what is right, keeping family secrets, twisting small town values to suit what is needed for the family. The characters in this story are going to grab you and not let you go.
Ags Johnson is an remarkable storyteller and this is her debut novel. I don’t know if I can find enough adjectives to tell you how excellent this story is but I will start with riveting, engaging, engrossing and gripping. You have to read this book. It gets more than 5 stars from me. This is not a story to be missed and Ags Johnson is another up and coming star we all need to keep our eyes on!
About This Author
A.G.S. Johnson always intended to be a writer. But raised in a Midwestern family of five girls and no boys, she embarked on a career in the corporate world that would allow her to explore why men were treated differently than women. Armed with a business degree, for over 20 years she was a banker, most often working with international currencies.
Still, writing remained a dream, so she returned to school, earned a masters degree in fiction writing from the University of Southern California and proceeded to pursue her lifelong ambition. Her debut novel The Sausage Maker’s Daughters, 12 years in the making, releases Feb. 7, 2012.
In addition to her passion for reading, traveling and all things French, Johnson serves on the Board of the Council of the Library Foundation of Los Angeles, and is a founding board member of The World is Just a Book Away. Proceeds from The Sausage Maker’s Daughters benefit this relatively young charity that builds libraries in developing countries.
Since the late 70’s Johnson has made her home first in Northern California, now in Los Angeles, where the author lives with her husband of 20 years and their menagerie of cats and dogs. She is currently working on her second novel, a medical murder mystery based on a true story of discovery and deceit.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this novel will be donated to The World is Just a Book Away, a charity that builds libraries for children in developing countries, changing their lives forever through access to books.
Should you wish more information please go to: justabookaway.org.
Follow her on my Blog.
The Author Will be in Wisconsin for Book Signings at
Books & Company – Thursday, April 26th at 7pm
1039 Summit Ave
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
The Reader’s Loft – In-Store Event April 28th, 2012 2pm
2069 Central Ct #44
Green Bay, WI 54311
The people of Wisconsin are still standing up to injustices as I write this review. Our governor and lieutenant governor and several senators are facing recall elections. The war on women, destroying collective bargaining, and shear disregard to what the people want has the people of Wisconsin fired up. Wisconsin has always been at the forefront of worker’s rights and civil rights. It is been called “Ground Zero”, the way the elections go here in June is going to affect all 50 states.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”