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The Whole Town's Talking

(Elmwood Springs #4)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  18,324 ratings  ·  2,985 reviews
The bestselling author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is at her superb best in this fun-loving, moving novel about what it means to be truly alive.

New York Times Bestseller - Southern Book Prize Winner

Elmwood Springs, Missouri, is a small town like any other, but something strange is happening at the cemetery. Still Meadows, as it's called, is anything bu
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published November 29th 2016 by Random House
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Average rating 3.64  · 
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 ·  18,324 ratings  ·  2,985 reviews

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Nov 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I chose to read this book because the author wrote Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe which I loved. I wasn't certain what to expect, but it turns out to be a heartwarming story of a cluster of families and other individuals over a century. It charts the rise and fall of the town of Elmwood Springs, Missouri, and some of the people who play an integral part in its growth and other residents. The novel has very short chapters and includes a number of letters throughout. It begins with ...more
Diane S ☔
Oct 26, 2016 rated it liked it
I consider Fannie Flag one of my ultimate comfort read authors. The book started delightfully strong, with letters back and forth from a farmer looking to take on a mail order Swedish wife. But.....I guess I wasn't in need of as much comfort as I thought at the time, lost interest and put it aside. Then yesterday we had cold, hard rains, my basement took on a little water and I was definitely in need of comfort and picked it back up. Better mindset and I found it chock full of the things I assoc ...more
What a delightful read! Ha!.....and you'll never ever guess who eats the pie and brings our story to the end of the line.....or so we think.

It's around 1880 when a big, tall and blonde 28 year old Lordor Nordstrom arrives in southern Missouri and places his 1st advertisement in a Swedish-American newspaper for young farmers to join him in starting a new community, but it's his 2'nd ad as a 37 year old bachelor requesting a mail-order bride (with the assistance of the town's married ladies) that

Aug 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-read
Sometimes you just need a dose of wholesome and I know when I read a book by Fannie Flagg that's what I'm going to get.

We journey through the decades in Elmwood Springs, Missouri starting in 1899 with founding father Lordor Nordstrom and his mail order bride Katrina who build a successful dairy farm and donate land for the Still Meadows cemetery. Lordor is the first soul to be buried in the cemetery and strange occurrences begin to develop.

If you want a book that will make you nostalgic and reme
The Whole Town’s Talking by Fannie Flagg is a 2016 Random House publication.

Fannie Flagg tells a whimsical and fantastical yarn centered around Elmwood, Missouri. The story begins with the town’s humble beginnings way back in 1889, and carries the reader all the way through its history, ending in 2021.

Lordor Nordstrom is more or less responsible for building the community that will eventually become Elmwood. He marries a mail order bride, Swedish, like himself, starts a family, and so it begins
2.5 stars
The whole town started talking in 1889, with the arrival of Lordor Nordstrom, from Sweden, to what became the village of Elmwood Springs, Missouri and the conversations seemed to go on interminably until the novel, "The Whole Town's Talking" concluded in 2021. Decade upon decade, the small town's population and its folksy stories multiplied. As its members died, they moved on to the next stage of "being", resting aware and peacefully interacting with each other in the town cemetery, add
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"And they lived happily ever after." Remember that line from old story books? Well, that's exactly what Fannie Flagg brings back. A classic, feel-good story, with lovable characters, quaint little towns, and everyone doing the right thing. Spiced up with a few naughty characters, a drinker, a cheating husband, etc. but never anything terrible. All told with humor and a clever wit.
It all starts with a Swedish farmer in 1889 who buys some land in Missouri and starts a small farming community that
Joyb Animalcrackers
Oct 22, 2016 rated it it was ok
I do enjoy Fannie Flagg stories and thought this one was just about perfect until the focus of the action changes from the little town in Missouri to its cemetery!
I wanted to spend much longer with the original Scandinavian settlers and their immediate family, but by the time the next generation came along we had moved to hearsay and just snippets. One person’s report of World War I was a single dismissive sentence. Whereas the period after has some really well-researched nuggets event to the sh
The Hook Though I enjoyed Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop CafeI had never read another of Fannie Flagg's books until the premium podcast I follow, Genealogy Gems book club facilitator, Sunny Morton chose The Whole Town's Talking . This is not the usual book club discussion format, nonetheless, there may be comments from participants. There is always an interview with the author which provides a lot of insight to the book and its connection to genealogy. As these, books with a genealogic ...more
May 19, 2017 rated it liked it

"The Whole Town's Talking" is the story of a Missouri farm town and its quirky, loving, loyal, sometimes shiftless - or even greedy and amoral - inhabitants. The book spans the years from 1889 to 2021, during which the world changes dramatically.

I'll provide some vignettes, to give you a feel for the story:

In 1889, Lordor Nordstrom leaves Sweden for the United States. During his travels, Lordor finds a large tract of good, rich land in Missouri, and starts a dairy farm. An ad in Swedish-America
Oct 24, 2016 rated it did not like it
This Fannie Flagg novel started out so strong, but toward the end I was reading just to end the story and move on. I didn't realize this was the 4th book in a series about Elmwood Springs, Missouri. That could be why it felt so disjointed and pointless.

The story follows the town from the founding to the present with residents continuing to watch the rest of the town from the town cemetery after they die. The novel had the quirky characters you expect from Flagg's books, but the plot was non-exi
Oct 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
The Whole Town's Talking begins in 1889 in a little town that will soon be known as Elmwood Springs, Missouri with it's founding member Lordor Nordstrom. Lordor and his neighbors will build and make Elmwood Springs into a thriving city throughout the years but in the beginning these neighbors all learn to care for one another and survive in their new surroundings.

As the story continues on we meet many residents of Elmwood Springs throughout the years as the story continues from the beginnings o
Book Concierge
Audiobook performed by Kimberly Farr

This is the fourth book about the residents of Elmwood Springs (though it is not listed as part of the series). In this volume, Flagg tells the history of Elmwood Springs, beginning with the 1889 founding of the settlement by Swedish immigrant Lorder Nordstrom, who recognized the perfect environment for a dairy, and encouraged fellow Swedes (plus a Norwegian and a German) to join him in Missouri. Several favorite characters from previous books make an appearan
Linda Hart
Nov 01, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have been a Fannie Flagg fan, but was very disappointed with this last novel. It has a promising beginning with her quaint descriptions of small-town rural Americana and unique personalities, but it deteriorates into a boring assortment of births, comings, goings and deaths covering the period of a century. It includes a small mystery beginning in the last chapters, however the epilogue destroys any satisfaction therein with its ridiculous assertion that nothing on earth, or ever after, matter ...more
Blaine DeSantis
Jan 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Probably a 3.5 but because I am a fan of Fannie Flagg and her storytelling I round it up to a 4****. Fannie's most recent book take us back again to the familiar surroundings of Elmwood Springs, MO, and host of characters we previously have met in her works. She also has added some new characters who actually are the founders of Elmwood Springs and we follow those founders and most of their families through the years. As with past books, that I have read, she follows a tried and true format of d ...more
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
If anyone likes Fannie Flagg or thought-provoking, light fiction -I just finished (and turned right around to read it again)The Whole Town's Talking

What a sweet and entirely thought-provoking book. This is written in very short chapters by many different points of view and spans the time from the founding of this town in the 1880's to 2021 and the generations that come from the (Swedish and German)founding fathers. If you have read the other three books in this series, you will be very familiar
Mar 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It all started with a mail order bride, but it's not what you would think...

I really enjoyed all of the folksy and funny stories about the members of this small town. The town patriarch ended up marrying the mail order bride, and so the stories began...

Aug 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first Fannie Flagg book. I have seen Fried Green Tomatoes the movie and liked it so I thought I would give this author a try. I didn’t notice until I finished the book that it is book 4 in a series. Sometimes that happens to me because I often like to go in blind without reading the blurb about the book. I didn’t feel like I was lost or missing anything but maybe I would have felt more of a connection with the characters if I had read the first 3 books? I don’t know. Nice story about ...more
Carla Johnson-Hicks
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: chick-lit, netgalley
The Whole Town's Talking is a classic, feel-good story, with lovable characters, a quaint wholesome town where almost everyone does the right thing and a rather interesting town cemetery. It is not all proper, it is spiced up with a few down and out characters, like a drinker, a cheating husband, and even a plot involving murder and fraud. It is all told with that typical Fannie Flagg humor and wit we have come to expect. The story takes place in a small town in Missouri and spans from 1889 to 2 ...more
Dale Harcombe
Lorder Nordstrom, after seeking advice from his neighbours in Elmwood Springs, writes and advertisement for a Swedish mail order bride. The advertisement is answered and so begins a series of letters between Lorder and Katrina. A well as establishing his dairy farm, Lorder also bought the land at the top of the hill which he donated to the community as a cemetery. He named it Still Meadows. The story goes on to relate more about Lorder and Katrina’s family and the other inhabitants of Elmwood S ...more
Feb 06, 2017 rated it liked it
This is the 5th book that I have read by this author. She is a solid 3 stars for me and that is not a bad thing as far as I'm concerned. I like her humor and I like the glimpses she gives into the lives of normal-everyday people. This one started off strong. I was really liking the people, the place and the story. Then it began moving at a fair clip as it covered future generations. I guess, I was so attached to the original story, that as it progressed, I missed those people. Overall, I liked t ...more
Mandy Radley
Dec 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it. Now need to reread Welcome to the World Baby Girl, Standing in the Rainbow and Can't Wait to Get to Heaven. The one downside is that we may never get to read about the characters of Elmwood Springs again and in particular Elmer Shimfissle. Recommended for all Fannie Flagg fans. ...more
Oct 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, fiction
I loved this book. As the story progressed, I came to adore the town and its residents, worry about their problems, and just enjoy spending time with them. The characters are down to earth and funny, and it is a book I'd come back to read again. ...more
Donna Davis
“Up on the hill, Lucille Beemer said, ‘Good morning, everybody.’
“Two hundred and three people just waking up answered, ‘Morning’.”

Fannie Flagg is legendary, and rightly so. In fact, at one point in my reading of this DRC, I reflected that someone with her power to move people has power indeed; how fortunate that she uses her gift to benefit the rest of us. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to read something that provides a level of reassurance that all has not gone sour in this world, and
Jan 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio-book, fiction
I have always enjoyed a Fannie Flagg story. She has such interesting and wholesome characters.

This story takes place in Elmwood Springs, Missouri from 1889 to 2021. Our protagonist is Swede Loudor Nordstrom. He has a mail order bride and eventually becomes the Mayor of Elmwood Springs. Then he dies and Lordor wakes up in the cemetery. Turns out after people die they remain for a while as spirits in the cemetery. The story winds its way through generations of Elmwood citizens. Flagg goes back and
Sep 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book. Would I say that it was a masterpiece of suspense with more twists and turns then a mountain road in Southern Italy? No, I would not. But sometimes a reader needs a break from the CRAZY. If you are looking to read something that is sentimental and sweet--I would say look no further than this book. The story goes back in time to the turn of the century and starts with Swedish immigrants that settled and put down roots in Missouri --it then follows through time to the ...more
Jul 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm a huge fan of all Fannie Flagg's books but this is certainly one that stands apart even from her own books.

The history of Elmwood Springs Missouri is told from the unusual dual perspective of both the living residents and the deceased who now reside at Still Meadows cemetery. The author's signature gentle humor is to be found throughout but instead of the sadness you might expect reading about the passing of so many beloved characters, you find yourself smiling at their new situation.

I could
Nov 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
NOTE: Received as an ARC from Netgalley.

A new Fannie Flagg book is always a treat, and I enjoyed this visit with the folks of Elmwood Springs, even if it did take a rather unusual form. I especially loved the “back story” of the town. It’s part of Fannie Flagg’s gift that she can make you feel homesick for a place you never lived.
Sherwood Smith
Nov 19, 2016 added it
Shelves: fantasy

This was a quirky, pleasant book that took me several weeks to read.

The first quarter of it or so involved me deeply in the nineteenth-century origins of the small town of Elmwood Springs. We are introduced to the settlers who established a village there, and eventually named it, everything centering around Swedish immigrant Lordor Nordstrom and his slow, steady search for a wife.

Once he’s married and established on his farm, and the town takes on a name and a slowly growing population, the book
Jan 19, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
3 1/2 stars

100 pages of wonderful and 300 pages of so-so. It started off strongly but fizzled when the story started to rollercoaster through the years. (view spoiler)

NOTE: On page 431 it is written "For Cluny Brown, who can fix anything". I adored Cluny Brown, and it reminded me to look for some novels by Margery Sharp.
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Fannie Flagg began writing and producing television specials at age nineteen and went on to distinguish herself as an actress and writer in television, films, and the theater. She is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe (which was produced by Universal Pictures as "Fried Green Tomatoes"), Welcome to the World, Bab ...more

Other books in the series

Elmwood Springs (4 books)
  • Welcome to the World, Baby Girl! (Elmwood Springs, #1)
  • Standing in the Rainbow (Elmwood Springs, #2)
  • Can't Wait to Get to Heaven  (Elmwood Springs, #3)

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