Stories I Never Told You

June 2021


The Beak in the Heart

True Tales of Misfit Southern Women

Betina Entzminger

In the repressive South Carolina of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, these misfit women defied authority and suffered the consequences. By telling their stories, the author — their educated, independent and misfit twenty-first century descendant — restores their voices and attempts to understand her own experiences, which include four failed marriages and a strained relationship with her family and region of birth.

Part memoir and part creative non-fiction, this book explores the lives of Bettina Entzminger’s misfit female ancestors, including a former slave and concubine to her third great uncle, a great aunt committed to the South Carolina 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 first cousin who died young after thirty years of mourning her late mother.



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 and Contemporary Reconfigurations of American Literary Classics, 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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