Top positive review
Excellent story, but poor dialect, y'all
Reviewed in the United States on December 1, 2020
The plot itself held my interest quite well. Even with the plot resolution being quite clear to anyone familiar with the folk tales upon which it was based, there are more than enough complications along the way to keep a fan of the Elemental Masters series fully entranced.
Sadly, I was never able to fully immerse myself in the book as I love to do with most of the author's books.
As an East Tennessean who spent summers in what is now Soddy-Daisy, the persistent use of "y'all" as singular was inaccurately jarring. While this may be a usage common to other areas of the US, it is not and has never been so in Tennessee, or indeed in most of the South.
While studying history at the University of Tennessee, I was able to read primary documents from the time period in which Jolene took place. Those included letters where "y'all" was used properly as a contraction of "you all" to address entire families and "you" or "ye" to address individuals.
Similar to the pronunciation of "Appalachia" as "apple ay sha" instead of the proper "apple atch uh," the use of the singular "y'all" is an indicator of an outsider, carpetbagger, or someone else who simply cannot be trusted. It also conveys the sense that the person engaging in the erroneous usage is mocking the locals.
This detail, while small, is repeated throughout the book, making the characters' words clash wildly with the otherwise accurate depiction of Union-sympathizing Tennesseans with strong ties to the area.