This book made me so angry at times I was a hair's breath away from quitting it. How can such seemingly intelligent people do such stupid things? Some...moreThis book made me so angry at times I was a hair's breath away from quitting it. How can such seemingly intelligent people do such stupid things? Someone has run Alex and Isabel off the bridge to their tiny little island, of which they are the only winter residents. Then when Alex comes home from the hospital with all sorts of bruises and contusions and awakens from her medication induced sleep to find someone getting ready to rape and kill her while his partner down stairs is lighting a fire to burn down the house, does she, when rescued, grab her jammies and a toothbrush and get out of there? No, she takes a long, long shower and then takes more pain medication and is just about to lay down for a nap when someone with more sense snatches her up and drives her to safety.
Still, I liked the book and the characters and I will read more of this author. I just wish she could have come up with some more plausible reasons for being in such danger. Perhaps Alex could be frantically gathering her things up to leave and she could break a glass. Then tension could build as she plucks the glass out of a deep gash and then bandages her hand as time is slipping away instead of doing such reckless things and being her own worst enemy.(less)
I have mixed feelings about this book. On the whole, I liked it. There were good characters and an interesting plot. Nora Bondurant Tate is recovering...moreI have mixed feelings about this book. On the whole, I liked it. There were good characters and an interesting plot. Nora Bondurant Tate is recovering from her divorce and finds that she has inherited a crumbling antebellum house from a aunt that she didn't know she had. Nora knew little about her father and had no idea that he was from an old Natches, MS family. Even more incredible was the fact that her aunt was murdered by an old lover who committed suicide after he shot her. Her aunt was known affectionately as "the goat lady" because of the goats she raised and the milk she sold. She lived with 2 family servants in the crumbling house, the apparent last remnant of a proud old family.
I love most of Sandra Dallas' work and I think she does a great job of creating believable characters, but these people seemed to be wooden much of the time. I have Mississippi roots and family that still live there and I found some of the sayings and customs wonderful reminders, but others just weren't right. People who held certain opinions did not do certain things. It's hard to put this and not spoil the plot, but I will try. First, the book takes place in the 30's but many of the attitudes towards blacks did not ring true at all. Many of her white characters hold attitudes that just were not prevalent during that time. I also found it hard to remember that it was the 30's the book was about because certain figures of speech from the present day intruded. I guess what I am saying is that Sandra Dallas knows the Colorado mining culture and writes beautifully about it. She also knows the Persian Pickle culture. I don't believe she knows the Southern culture and was writing out of her element, making her characters less alive than in her other books.
With that being said, it is still an enjoyable book and holds together despite the above mentioned difficulties. I developed a real fondness for Nora's aunt and wished there had been more information on her. Nora is an engaging character and the only flaw I find in her is her lack of understanding of her husband and its consequenceses and the way it is handled in the book. There is too big a jump from his death and her actions in Natches. This is one time when I believe the character has more emotional baggage than the author allows her to show. (less)
I read this book while I was visiting in Mississippi about 60 miles from Holly Springs. I was there for a funeral and I experienced so many of the thi...moreI read this book while I was visiting in Mississippi about 60 miles from Holly Springs. I was there for a funeral and I experienced so many of the things mentioned in the book. Some have criticized it because of the number of questions that were answered in seemingly miraculous ways, but when you visit a place after a number of years, word gets around and people come to visit and talk and many of the mysteries of your childhood are explained or understood. We know that God does act in human events and just because the time in this book is telescoped, does not make the events outside possibility.
Father Tim began his journey because of a cryptic note that told him to "come home." Sensing that there is something important in the request, he takes his dog and heads South. He visits a hardware store and meets people there who catapult him into his boyhood. Word is spread that he is visiting and old friends and enemies contact him. Some of the information he receives is very difficult for him to hear, but he accepts what he hears as something that God wants him to know and act on.
This is a good story with enough mystery to keep the reader wondering, but it is also inspirational. As Father Tim learns things about his past, he has to change his view of many people he knew and to be both forgiving and forgiven. The courage that he exhibits is an inspiration and a reminder that we are not put on this earth for our own happiness, but to do the will of the One who sent us.
I was amazed to find that Jan Karon was not from Mississippi. She has managed to capture the language and customs of the Deep South with amazing accuracy. I was especially pleased when she added a little known custom of asking the person you are visiting to “come along with me.” To me that has always meant that you were having such a good time visiting that even though you had to go, you wanted the person to go with you and continue the visit. (less)
In this book, Susan Wittig Albert takes China Bayles back to the Old South and immerses her in her childhood. Her mother, Leatha needs help with her A...moreIn this book, Susan Wittig Albert takes China Bayles back to the Old South and immerses her in her childhood. Her mother, Leatha needs help with her Aunt Tullie and there is no one but China who can help.
I got the feeling that the mystery was just a vehicle to carry China back to her roots and untangle the fascinating story of her ancestors. Many of the characters in the book are extremely well drawn and the reader is able to establish a connection, but the crime and its victim are not as fleshed out. Never the less, it is one of her best books. (less)
I really enjoy these books. P.I. Sarah Booth Delaney finds herself and her partner, Tinky, involved in helping a young woman from New Orleans who is a...moreI really enjoy these books. P.I. Sarah Booth Delaney finds herself and her partner, Tinky, involved in helping a young woman from New Orleans who is accused of poisoning her severely disabled infant when she is found in Mississippi visiting the grave of her flamboyant mother. The young woman is a faith healer and seems to be a gentle and loving person incapable of harming her daughter.
The plot itself is very interesting, but the life of Sarah Booth and her "haint" Jitty adds a great deal to the story. Sarah Booth is torn between the man she feels she loves, the married sheriff, and a much more suitable suitor. The sheriff refuses to let the relationship develop because of the vows he made to his neurotic wife. You have to be rooting in the corner for the two of them, at the same time, you can't help but admire the decency of the sheriff. In the background is Jitty telling Sarah Booth that her biological clock is ticking away and that she has a duty to her ancestors to get married and produce offspring. The mystery is a bit light weight, but all in all, a very good, if light, read.(less)
Frankie Silver was a real mountain woman convicted and hanged for the murder of her teen-aged husband in 1823. The fact that she killed him and dismem...moreFrankie Silver was a real mountain woman convicted and hanged for the murder of her teen-aged husband in 1823. The fact that she killed him and dismembered him and burned him in the fireplace makes the community rise up against the brutality and she is quickly convicted of the crime and sentenced to be the first woman to ever be hanged in the state.
As time goes on and more facts surface, the townspeople begin to conclude there was much more to the murder and sympathy develops for the quiet, docile 18 year old. Frankie's husband was a drunk who abused Frankie and possibly their baby daughter.
The plot switches between the 1823 and the local sheriff in the present. The sheriff, recovering from being shot, receives a summons to attend the execution of a man he arrested 20 years ago. He has always been fascinated with the story of Frankie Silver and the probability that she was hanged unjustly and he feels that the present murderer may be in the same situation.
There are some weaknesses in the plot, especially with a present day investigation the Sheriff's deputies try to keep from him and the present day execution, but the story is very compelling despite the problems. I enjoyed the book and will read more in this series.(less)
This is the second book by this author that I have read. Debbie Sue and Edwina from a tiny Texas town have been invited to New York to a detectives co...moreThis is the second book by this author that I have read. Debbie Sue and Edwina from a tiny Texas town have been invited to New York to a detectives conference. They are detectives who operate a beauty parlor along with their detective agency. This is a cozy Southern mystery and has lots of local color. There is romance, hi-jinks and some pretty good reasoning all wrapped up in one lighthearted mystery.(less)
This is the second book in the series and Debbie Sue Overstreet and her friend, Edwina, are still running their beauty shop and the detective agency "...moreThis is the second book in the series and Debbie Sue Overstreet and her friend, Edwina, are still running their beauty shop and the detective agency "Domestic Equalizers." The agency's business is all about tracking down erring spouses and getting the goods on them, so the pair find it a challenge to try to discover why neighboring horses are going missing. A spoiled little rich girl turns into a friend and horse lover and catches the eye of the new bachelor vet, Spur Atwater, and the four of them put their heads together to get to the bottom of disappearances.
The mystery is only the top surface of this madcap adventure. There's tons of local color and Southern traditions. For Southerners who have moved away from their roots, this is a refreshing reminder of simpler times.
This was the first book by this author I have listened to. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love the Deep South novels because they remind me of Mississippi...moreThis was the first book by this author I have listened to. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I love the Deep South novels because they remind me of Mississippi, so I am more attuned to the characters a than the plot, but this one was pretty good. Usually books in which you know the perp early on aren't very good, but this one was entertaining. The two detectives from a small town in Texas also are beauticians. They get involved in tracking down the murderer because Debbie Sue is up to her eyebrows in debt and is in danger of losing the beauty shop. This is definitely a cozy type mystery and is more about crazy situations and cross purposes. (less)
These Miss Julia books are, I guess, pure fluff, but they are delightful. I can just see prim and proper Miss Julia whose life has been turned upside...moreThese Miss Julia books are, I guess, pure fluff, but they are delightful. I can just see prim and proper Miss Julia whose life has been turned upside down when it appears that the wedding at a Heavenly Chapel turns out to possibly have been officiated at by a Minister who wasn't ordained and thus the ceremony amounted to nothing. Is she married or not...oh, the agony. Miss Julia has always tried to do the right thing. Shed doesn't go in for the free wheeling sexual revolution, but finds herself on the wrong side of propriety. The funny situations she gets into by trying to keep the mystery from being known and explaining her new husband's absence are so entertaining. Her well meaning friends end up making the whole mess worse and on top of that, she finds herself helping with a beauty pageant when she never went in for that sort of thing and has a thought or two about the clothing or lack of it that the contestants are to wear. This is Miss Julia at her best and is thoroughly entertaining. (less)
This is my first by this author, and I really enjoyed it. It's hard to separate my feelings for the Mississippi of my childhood pleasures from the act...moreThis is my first by this author, and I really enjoyed it. It's hard to separate my feelings for the Mississippi of my childhood pleasures from the actual book, so my rating may be a combination of nostalgia as well as the quality of the book. I did enjoy the use of the spectral. Jitty as a companion of the main character. I thought it was well done...not too ghostly and all knowing, but enough to add spice to the mystery. I'll be reading more of this author.(less)
I read this book on CD on my trip from Virginia to Florida. It kept my interest, but I am increasingly distressed over the portrayal of supposedly int...moreI read this book on CD on my trip from Virginia to Florida. It kept my interest, but I am increasingly distressed over the portrayal of supposedly intelligent, successful men who are pillars of the community falling hopelessly in love with high school girls who are beautiful, intelligent, amoral and so sexually sophisticated that they make hookers look like librarians. Real people just don't act this way unless they are deeply flawed and that is usually apparent by their lifestyle.
In reality, this is child abuse and honorable men don't engage in it. If, in truth, there is the rare man who has all his marbles and falls in love with a teenager, his love will keep him from taking advantage of her, and will allow her to grow up. There is just the hint of this in the character of Penn Cage, but it is far too subtle. Equally, high school girls who have experienced all that the girls in this book have are not generally the kind of girls that make for long-term relationships. This seems more like a male fantasy.
With that said, the book is still interesting and as a flight of fancy, it will keep the reader guessing how the book can possibly end with anything that makes sense. (less)
This is one of the best mysteries I have read in a long time. The protagonist is easy to identify as a troubled young woman who has still remained str...moreThis is one of the best mysteries I have read in a long time. The protagonist is easy to identify as a troubled young woman who has still remained strong and capable. It is hard to believe that the character was created by a man. The reactions of Cat seem so female and believable. I felt like I was watching her relive her terrible history and rise to the challenge of what she was learning.
The book is very fast paced and hard to put down. As layer after layer of the toxic results of child molestation is unfolded, you can see Cat grow and discover a stronger and stronger person at her core. The twists and turns of the plot leave the reader as baffled as the police and FBI and it is hard to see the resolution. I felt like the ending suited the book and tied up most of the loose ends. (less)
Penn Cage’s wife has died and now his five year old daughter is seeing glimpses of her mother everywhere, including Disney World. Page feels that a tr...morePenn Cage’s wife has died and now his five year old daughter is seeing glimpses of her mother everywhere, including Disney World. Page feels that a trip back home in Natchez, MS will settle both of them. Unfortunately, Penn’s father, a revered and respected doctor is being blackmailed for something from his past and the Judge has a personal agenda. On top of that, things are happening that appear to concern the murder of a black man in 1968 and Penn is drawn into the strange happenings surrounding the original murder.
Penn Cage is a sympathetic hero and his morals and ethics seem to be as above reproach as are those of his father. Unfortunately, even the best of people have things in their background that ma y be open to different opinions. While, I like this character a lot, there are some inconsistencies and lack of integrity that are unsettling. That said, this is a good book with lots of action and a clever plot. (less)