Pop quiz: who was the first Georgian to win a Pulitzer Prize for the Novel? Here’s a hint: it’s not Margaret Mitchell. In 1934, Caroline Miller’s “Lamb in His Bosom” – a Southern novel about a pair of young newlyweds in rural Georgia on the brink of Civil Warfare – took home the esteemed honor. “Gone With the Wind” would win a few years later in 1937 and it was because after reading Miller’s work, Harold S. Latham, editor at Macmillan Publishing Company, sought out other Southern novels and authors, then found Margaret Mitchell.
Mitchell wrote in a letter to Miller, “Your book is undoubtedly the greatest that ever came out of the South about Southern people, and it is my favorite book.” Like “Gone With the Wind” Miller’s novel is a testament to the power of a Southerner’s spirt. Her heroine, Cean (pronounced Cee-Ann) who married and gave birth to 14 children (mostly girls!) in the antebellum South. Cean grows before the reader’s eyes as a young, naive bride to mature as a wise woman who (like Scarlett O’Hara) relies on her gumption to survive. The novel’s title is taken from the Bible: “He shall feed His flock like a shepherd; He shall gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom,” (Isaiah 40:11) and reflects the Cean’s faith in God despite the harshness of her life.