J. Keck

The Big House: Book 1

“I don’t know why Mama knew Daddy was going to hurt us,” Minnie says. “She yanked us out of the bed and over to the wall. The door flew open. There was a huge explosion! Daddy had fired his shotgun into our bed.”

Minnie leaves boarding school to spend the summer at The Big House, her cherished Grandpa’s home. She enjoys adventure, but she also learns of the dangers posed by the land and a river that can seduce the unwary.

The arrival of Minnie’s great-grandmother provides her with a fearless female role model, as well as tales of the elderly woman’s antebellum past and how she survived the Civil War. She also learns of her Grandpa’s struggle to build a post-Civil War cotton and lumber empire in a wilderness of swamps, disease, and treacherous men willing to steal and murder.

Minnie’s valuable lessons: one must face one’s fears head-on, and one must never willingly become a victim. At the close of summer young Minnie experiences devastating upheaval, but her innate courage allows her to face her fears … and to eventually triumph over them.

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The Big House by Debut author J.Keck is, by turns, poignant, heartbreaking, and powerful.
– Laura Taylor, Author 6-Time RT Book Award Winner

The Big House transports the reader into the heart and soul of a bygone era… A must read!
– Kathy Porter, Award Winning Author

Author J. Keck’s The Big House is a timeless story that reflects the very best of the American character when confronting adversity.
– Darlene Quinn, Award Winning Author


Reader’s Comments

The descriptive voice breathed so much life into the characters, and I can tell that Tootsie was “ghostwriting” along with you. It’s easy to see the series unfolding and I look forward to how you continue with the next one.
-Jennifer, So. California

I really enjoyed the story. Being familiar with some circumstances made it more vivid. I have visited the South, most particularly Lousiana and antebellum plantations, and in France I lived a few years in a boarding school run by Catholic nuns. The photographs on the website are a great complement to the story. Great Job!
-Marie-Jo, France

My thoughts of “The Big House“–my oh my where to start. It’s an engrossing story, a page turner, a very poignant, heart-pulling story. A very hard way to grow up. Very well written.
-Joyce C., Pennsylvania

I generally only read non-fiction, but my daughter gave it to me “The Big House,” and said I would really like it. So, I read it. TWICE!! Thirteen-year old Minnie’s strength and perseverance were astounding. I hope you are working on a sequel.
-Betty M., Indiana

I must say reading your book has seduced me. I cannot wait for our Savannah trip next month. I am so anxious to see all the Southern things I miss. Magnolia blossoms, wisteria, kudzu. The food. It is going on 15 years since I lived in Atlanta. You have made me miss it so. I am undone by the richness of these characters. I can almost taste fried peach pies when I read your book. Thank you so much for your story. I have read many, many Southern stories contemporary and historical (they are a favorite genre). I have to say this will be one of my favorites.
-Stella H., California

The Big House is a heart warming story. In the background is a once wealthy Southern family whose past wealth and lifestyle are gone. It is about the adversity and joys of growing up as told through the eyes of a young Southern Girl, who is the daughter of this family. I really enjoyed this book! It was a fun and exciting read from beginning to end!
-Shirley J., Florida

Just finished reading your book, “The Big House.” I enjoyed reading it very much. Minnie stole my heart–such innocence and yet discerning and wise for her age. In spite of hardships, she overcame adversity, which helped form her character–love, respect and being true to herself. What a great way to tell a story.
-Miyo T., California

What I like the most about this book is that it gave me an entirely new perspective on several topics. For example, I have learned to think of the Civil War in a certain way, and I had never given thought to the complex toll ti took on families in the South. Through the stories of Minnie’s elders, I heard a different story, one about the children who didn’t have a side except the family they wished to protect, one about Mothers fearing the loss of sons and brothers. The stories Minnie hears, some dark, some light and happy, were fresh and original. Minnie as a character was “relate-able” in her innocence and her human flaws. At times you cheer her accomplishment, but at other times you want to reach into the page and steer her in the right direction.
-Allysa R., No. California

I LOVED this book. This girl has Strength & Compassion that is rarely seen, especially for a young girl. I can’t wait to read your next novel.
-Rich D., Canada

A BIG APPLAUSE for The Big House! I sure loved the book. It was very character driver and I like that!
-Shiela L. Washington State


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