empress of cooke county


WOMEN's fiction I southern I small town & rural

Posey Jarvis knows she's the rightful Empress of Cooke County . . . she just needs to make everyone else realize it too.

Thirty-eight-year-old Posey Jarvis is the self-appointed "Empress" of rural Spark, in Cooke County, Tennessee. She spends her days following every word about her idol and look-alike Jackie Kennedy, avoiding her stalwart husband Vern, and struggling to control her newly defiant daughter Callie Jane--all while sneaking nips of gin. When Posey unexpectedly inherits a derelict mansion from her quirky old Aunt Milbrey, she finagles her way into hosting her high school's twentieth reunion there. She cares nothing about seeing her classmates, but she cares deeply about seeing the love of her life, a man who dumped her nineteen years ago. Possums are nesting in the parlor and the stench of cat urine permeates the sunroom, but she must be ready for the big day, even if she has to do the work herself.

Eighteen-year-old Callie Jane finds herself accidentally engaged and is panicking about her fast-approaching wedding. She's also had enough of her domineering mother. Even though she loves her father, the idea of working at his Emporium for the rest of her life just makes her . . . so sad. She longs to escape from her mother, her job, her upcoming wedding, and the creepy peeping Tom terrorizing the town. She dreams of leaving everything she's ever known in her rearview mirror and starting over in California, but when her life has been mapped out for her from birth, how can she break free?

Set in a gossipy small town during the turbulent 1960s, and full of Southern charm and unforgettable characters, The Empress of Cooke County is a novel about found family, what it means to be loved, and how being true to yourself can have life-altering consequences.




“Get ready to laugh! Elizabeth Bass Parman is a true Southern storyteller. I couldn’t have loved The Empress of Cooke County more.”

—Fannie Flagg, New York Times bestselling author

“As someone who often fantasizes about a simpler way of life, stepping back in time to Queen Bee Posey Jarvis’s colorful world was a slice of literary heaven. A delightful 1960s southern charmer on every level. What a stunning, poignant debut.”

–Rea Frey, #1 bestselling author of Don't Forget Me and The Other Year 

The Empress of Cooke County is, at its core, a tale of connection. Parman examines both the small acts of kindness that nourish connection and the selfish impulses that starve it. You can’t help but root for this tender celebration of community, would-be empresses, and big dreams.”

—Mary Liza Harton, author of Love and Hot Chicken

“Elizabeth Bass Parman dazzles in The Empress of Cooke County, a lush, 1960s Southern charmer brimming with wit and whimsy. Join the unforgettable Posey Jarvis and her daughter as they navigate the twists and turns of small-town Tennessee with gin-soaked escapades, a possum-infested mansion, and enough peach cobbler to make your mouth water.”

—Hope Gibbs, author of Where the Grass Grows Blue


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Elizabeth Bass Parman grew up entranced by family stories, such as the time her grandmother woke to find Eleanor Roosevelt making breakfast in her kitchen. She worked for many years as a reading specialist for a non-profit, and spends her summers in a cottage by a Canadian lake. She has two grown daughters and lives outside her native Nashville with her husband and maybe-Maltipoo, Pippin.

Connect with Elizabeth:

Website: www.elizabethbassparman.com
X: @e_parman
Instagram: @elizabethbassparman