The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly

‘The Tilted World’ is an unexpected romance set during the devastating floods in Mississippi in 1927.

Dixie Clay was originally from Alabama. The prettiest girl around, she fell for Jessie the prettiest boy when she was 12 years old. When she was 16, they married and he took her to Hobnob Mississippi. Prohibition was still in place and Dixie Clay had no idea that Jessie was the biggest bootlegger in the area.

When she did find out, Dixie Clay turned her own hand to making the moonshine (mostly because of her isolation and lack of purpose) and ended up making the best whisky anyone had ever tasted. The loss of her baby son only drove her harder. Now with her love for Jessie a distant memory, she has nothing left but her moonshine.

Ted Ingersoll and Ham Johnstone arrive in town looking for two revenue officers who have gone missing. They pose as engineers inspecting the levee banks of the rapidly rising Mississippi River. On the way, they discover an orphaned baby and Ingersoll, an orphan himself, is determined to find the baby a new home. He is directed to Dixie Clay who instantly falls in love with the baby. Meanwhile, Ingersoll falls in love with Dixie Clay.

But with the ever rising river, Jessie is in league with a group of New Orleans bankers. They want to blow up the levee and flood part of Mississippi in order to save New Orleans.

You can almost feel the fear of the town of Hobnob as the people fight back the river while Ham tries to track down a bootlegger, find the missing men, and protect the town from saboteurs while Ingersoll gets completely distracted by Dixie Clay and the baby.


I loved this book. It is not my usual sort of book and I debated whether to read it or not, but I’m very glad that I did. It’s good to have your heart twisted occasionally.

The Husband and wife team of Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly make an excellent writing team and I hope that we see more from them in the future.


Book Published 2013


See a full list of books by Tom Franklin

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