Ratio Janson, the crusty patriarch with an infamous background and a hair-trigger temper, is reverently called Big Daddy by his family clan. His feisty great-granddaughter Jo-Dee overhears shocking gossip at Big Daddy's funeral and is determined to plumb his murky past, from Reconstruction to the present day. From a vast turpentine industry to the ruins of a decaying plantation with its feudal order a memory, Jo-Dee explores the complex nature of family and self, only to make a startling discovery. Will she betray her great-grandfather and disgrace the family name, or will she preserve his shameful secret? And on the ancient grounds of the family mansion destroyed in the Civil War, will Big Daddy's spirit claim her from the grave?
Jo-Ann Costa studied her craft at the knees of her clannish Alabama kin, who are among the most accomplished at fabricating outlandish tales. Thus trained as a storyteller, Ms. Costa honed her compelling voice while serving in executive roles for a mega-corporation founded by the late Howard Hughes. While there, and with higher stakes, she invented tales of a different sort. Since then, Ms. Costa has once again deployed her trademark spin with her debut novel, The Bequest of Big Daddy.