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BOOK CORNER: Infidelity, murder rock church in ‘The Burden of Sweetberry’

Sweetberry Armstrong has returned to Sipsey, Alabama, sick and without money.

With no skills and a child to take care of, she uses her good looks and sensuality as a bargaining chip for men. When the married deacon, Josiah Hess, falls in love with Sweetberry, they begin a long-term affair in front of their community and the church.

Their bond is threatened when Luther McGill comes to town and begins a relationship with Sweetberry. That union sets off a series of events that leaves Luther dead, Josiah on trial for murder, and Sweetberry on a journey to redemption.

So goes the juicy church drama, “The Burden of Sweetberry,” by new author Carol Gosa Summerville.

Summerville is a retired educator who has always had a passion for writing. Her first book, “The Burden of Sweetberry,” was inspired by her love for and fascination with the African American church and the Christian experience. The story is set in Alabama in the 1960s and includes historical aspects based on true events.

Carol Summerville

The author’s favorite character in the book is Sweetberry because she likes her resilience.

“She’s a beautiful woman who has a past and through it all she perseveres and turns back to the church for redemption,” Summerville said.

In her book, Summerville wants to emphasize that Christians can be flawed and still be saved. She wants her readers to be “entertained by the language and humor of the characters; to see the serious side of worship; and to appreciate the courage of a community in the face of terror.”

The sequel to “The Burden of Sweetberry” is “God’s Sacred Feast” and it will soon be available on Amazon.

“The Burden of Sweetberry” is available for $15 (paperback) and $2.99 (Kindle edition) on, Barnes&, and any major book store.