October 2021
ISBN: 978-1-954566-07-1

162 p.


The Beak in the Heart

True Tales of Misfit Southern Women

Betina Entzminger

The Beak in the Heart is a memoir of growing up “southern.” The life stories of the author’s ancestors are remembered through the filter of a thoroughly modern and rebellious daughter of the south.

Tina Enzminger tells not only her own story, but those of the women who preceded her. In the repressive South Carolina of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these misfit women defied authority and suffered the consequences. By telling their poignant stories, the author—their educated, independent, and misfit twenty-first century descendant—restores their voices.

The Beak in the Heart reveals the secrets of a former slave and concubine to her third great uncle, a great aunt committed to the state hospital for forty years, a great aunt who unwittingly married a gay man at a time when divorce was not legal in South Carolina, and a cousin who died tragically after thirty years of mourning her late mother.

Enzminger attempts to understand her own experiences, which include four failed marriages and a strained relationship with her family and region of birth. Bridging generations with authentic characters, this narrative travels back and forth in time, contrasting both a woman’s role in society and race in America.


Tina Entzminger
 is a Southern-born writer and English professor, currently living and working in Pennsylvania. Excerpts from her family memoir The Beak in the Heart: True Tales of Misfit Southern Women have been published in Coffin Bell Journal, Switchgrass Review, and Cordella Magazine’s Field Notes.

A quadruple divorcee and mother of two teenagers, Entzminger holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her academic publications include two books: The Belle Gone Bad: White Southern Women Writers and the Dark Seductress (LSU Press, 2001) and Contemporary Reconfigurations of American Literary Classics (Routledge, 2012) and many essays on American literature.

She loves travelling, gardening, southern history, genealogy, animals, and antiques.  She is also a feminist who loves men.

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