The Young Wives Club by Julie Pennell

  • the-young-wives-clubTitle:  The Young Wives Club
  • Author:  Julie Pennell
  • Pages:  320
  • Genre:  Southern Fiction
  • Published:  February 2017 – Atria/Emily Bestler Books/Alloy Entertainment
  • Source:  Publisher; NetGalley

Description:  In Toulouse, Louisiana finding your one true love happens sometime around high school. If you’re lucky, he might be the man you thought he was. But as four friends are about to find out, not every girl has luck on her side in this charming debut novel perfect for fans of The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood and Desperate Housewives. 

Laura Landry’s quarterback husband was her ticket out of Toulouse. But when a devastating football injury sidelines him, they’re forced to move back to the small town she was so desperate to leave. As Brian starts drinking instead of rehabbing his knee, Laura must reevaluate what her future looks like…and if it includes her husband.

For years, Madison Blanchette has been waiting for bad-boy musician Cash Romero to commit to her. When wealthy George Dubois asks her out, she figures she may as well wait in style. Life with George means weekend trips to New Orleans, gourmet meals, and expensive gifts. At first she loves how George’s affection sparks Cash’s jealousy, but when George proposes to Madison, she finds herself torn between two men…

All Claire Thibodeaux wants is to be the perfect wife and mother. If she can do everything right she won’t end up like her mom, a divorced, single parent trying to make ends meet. But when Claire’s husband Gavin, a well-respected local pastor, starts spending late nights at work and less time in their bed, she can’t help but fear that history is about to repeat itself…

Gabrielle Vaughn never thought she’d end up with someone like her fiancé. The son of a prominent congressman, Tony Ford is completely out of her league—which is why she lied to him about everything from having a college degree to the dark truth about her family. She knows she has to come clean, but how do you tell the love of your life that your entire relationship is a lie?

As these young wives come together to help each other through life, love, and heartbreak, they discover that there are no easy answers when it comes to matters of the heart.  (publisher)

My take:  The Young Wives Club is about a group of friends who grew up together in a small Louisiana town where everyone goes to the same school and the same social events, etc. It’s the norm to marry young and the dream is to live happily ever after.

The friends learn that dreams don’t always come true. Some will learn that what they thought was their dream really wasn’t. They’ll all find out that they have the power to change their circumstances.

I thought Julie Pennell’s debut novel was sweet and had a good message. It’s a story told with a lot of heart and humor. My problem with reading it is my fault – I’m just not the right age demographic. I think younger women (late teens – twenties) might get more from reading it than I did. I could be wrong so if the publisher’s synopsis grabs your attention then you should read it!  I enjoyed Pennell’s writing style and would definitely take a look at her next book. Recommended to fans of Southern Chick-Lit.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Julie Pennell grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana, where she ate her weight in crawfish, used the word “y’all” a lot, and wrote a weekly “Teen Scene” column for the local paper. After graduating from college, she moved to New York to work at Seventeen magazine and later Alloy Entertainment as a digital editor. She lives in New York City with her husband and is a regular contributor to Teen Vogue, TODAY.com, and The NestThe Young Wives Club is her first novel.

THE YOUNG WIVES CLUB by Julie Pennell

Emily Bestler Books/Atria Books Paperback | ISBN: 9781501136467 | On sale: February 14, 2017 | 320 pages | $16.00


FIND JULIE ONLINE:

Website: http://juliepennell.blogspot.com/

Twitter: @juliepens

Instagram: @juliepens

 

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Lawyer for the Cat by Lee Robinson

  • Lawyer for the catTitle:  Lawyer for the Cat: A Sally Baynard Novel
  • Author:  Lee Robinson
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  230
  • Published:  May 2016 – Thomas Dunne Books; St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  Sally Baynard is one of the best lawyers around. In the years since her divorce from Family Court Judge Joe Baynard, she dedicated herself to representing the worst and craziest Charleston, S.C. had to offer. But none of the murderers, burglars, or angry divorcing clients compared to Sherman, the dog her ex-husband appointed her to represent. Although the miniature Schnauzer found his way into her heart (and brought his handsome vet Tony along too), his case was a thorny one. With that business out of the way, Sally is happy to move back to non-canine clients… until a probate judge asks her about a cat.

Agreeing to represent Beatrice, a black cat who’s the beneficiary of a multi-million dollar trust and a plantation, Sally must put her wit, charm, and brains to the test, choosing among three colorful potential caregivers while dodging the former owner’s angry son. Meanwhile, Sally must juggle the demands of the court with those of her aging mother and make a decision about Tony, who wants to get more serious. Lee Robinson’s Lawyer for the Cat is Southern women’s fiction at its most delightful, featuring strong, smart characters, a charming setting, and plenty of adorable critters.  (publisher)

My take:  Lawyer for the Cat is the second book featuring Sally Baynard, a Charleston lawyer who, until recently, represented people. She’s now been asked to enforce the trust of a wealthy and recently deceased woman. That duty includes finding someone to care for the woman’s cat in the manner it was accustomed. What Sally wasn’t expecting was an angry heir who could make her job very difficult.

As was the case in the first novel, Lawyer for the Dog, in addition to her full-time job Sally also sees to the care of her elderly mother who has Alzheimer’s. All of this takes a toll on Sally’s love life. Tony, the dog’s vet in the first book, is waiting for Sally to commit to a relationship and starts to pressure her. She’s more than a little gun-shy since her first marriage lasted only a year. It’s kind of hard to get past that when she winds up in her ex-husband’s court from time to time – he’s a family court judge.

I loved getting back to Charleston and seeing what was new with Sally and her friends and family. I hope Lee Robinson continues the series. I find her novels charming and the possibilities are numerous in terms of which animal Sally could represent next. In the meantime, I hope Robinson sends Sally on a vacation. She’s earned it!


Robinson,Lee_ (c) Jeffrey TruittAbout the author:  LEE ROBINSON practiced law for over 20 years in Charleston, S.C., where she served as executive director of a legal services agency and later worked in private practice, concentrating on family law. She was elected the first female president of the Charleston Bar Association and received the Bar Association’s award for her work in public interest law. She lives on a small ranch in the Texas hill country.


 

Spotlight/US Giveaway: At the Corner of King Street by Mary Ellen Taylor

At the Corner of King Street (5:5 Berkley)

Mary Ellen Taylor moves down the street from her Union Street Bakery and stops AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET in her new novel, the Old Town Alexandria-set story of a woman trying to leave her past and family behind to embrace the new life and love she’s found at a Virginia vineyard. AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET is a Berkley trade paperback original.

Addie Morgan grew up in the shadow of her family’s curse, the mental illness that haunts the women of each generation and has claimed both her mother and sister. Settled in her new, stable and happy life with a man she loves, Addie wants nothing more than to be free of the pain and loss of the past. Reality, harsh and swift, intrudes when her Aunt Grace, who provided a safe haven for the girls during part of their childhoods, shows up determined to bring Addie back to Alexandria to solve the latest family crisis. Janet, Addie’s sister, who’s already abandoned her seven-year old son, has just given birth to a baby girl and is hospitalized, unable to care for herself let alone her baby.

Determined to make quick work of the problem and return to her own life, Addie’s arrival in Alexandria is greeted by more complications. Janet needs weeks of treatment; Grace’s health is failing and so is her salvage business; social services is having trouble placing “Baby Morgan” in a foster home; Janet’s ex, Zeb, accuses Addie of trying to cut and run just like her sister; and her nephew wants to see his mother and hold his half-sister. They’re all looking to Addie, who, woefully unprepared to deal with an infant, now has one to care for 24/7 while trying to keep her job and hold on to her fiancé, who knows nothing about her family’s checkered past.

Interspersed with journal entries from Alexandria’s earliest days, the story gives readers insight into events in the past that paved the way to the story’s troubled present. Meanwhile, the plot unfolds to reveal the discovery of centuries old “witch bottles,” hints to bonds that may tie Addie and her family to a heritage they never expected.

In AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET, Mary Ellen Taylor presents a tale of family and self-discovery interwoven with voices from the past in a contemporary novel of adversity, hard choices and the power of truth.

At the Corner of King Street

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At the Corner of King Street (5:5 Berkley)


Spare Change by Bette Lee Crosby

Title:  Spare Change

Author:  Bette Lee Crosby

Genre:  Fiction

Published:  October 2011 – Bent Pine Publishing

Synopsis:  A Woman who is Superstitious to the Core…
A Boy who claims his Parents are Dead…
A Murderer who wants to Silence the Truth of What Happened.

Olivia Westerly knows what she knows—opals mean disaster, eleven is the unluckiest number on earth and children weigh a woman down like a pocketful of stones. That’s why she’s avoided marriage for almost forty years. But when Charlie Doyle happened along, he was simply too wonderful to resist. Now she’s a widow with an eleven-year-old boy claiming to be her grandson…

With a foul mouth, dark secrets and heavily guarded emotions, Ethan Allen Doyle is not an easy child to like. He was counting on the grandpa he’d never met for a place to hide, but now that plan is shot to blazes because the grandpa’s dead too. He’s got seven dollars and twenty-six cents, his mama’s will for staying alive, and Dog. But none of those things are gonna help if Scooter Cobb finds him.

My take:  Set in 1950s Virginia, Spare Change is the story of Ethan Allen Doyle, a young boy who is truly a victim of his circumstances. He’s a child of selfish and bitter parents who treat him pretty much as insignificant baggage. He learns early on how to survive and make do. It was easy to cheer for him. As dark as his life seemed, it grew much darker on one particular day.

Life changed for Ethan Allen and it soon changed for Olivia, his grandfather’s widow, in ways that would prove to be challenging as well as life-affirming. They both learned that if you have love in your life you can look evil in the eye and triumph.

I’m so glad the author asked me to read her novel. A classic tale of good vs. evil, it’s a page turner to be sure. Spare Change is filled with memorable characters that add humor and compassion. From the weary detective to the residents of Olivia’s apartment complex, I enjoyed them all.  Recommended.

Disclosure: I received a review copy from the author. I was not compensated for my review.

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman


Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel


Goodreads synopsis:
Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell.


In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah’s perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, to Tootie’s all-knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.

* * * * * * *

CeeCee Honeycutt has been taking care of her mentally ill mother for most of her twelve years. Her father is absent much of the time so it’s been up to CeeCee to tend to her mother. After Camille’s death, CeeCee’s great aunt Tootie arrives to take her home to Savannah. That’s the start of a new chapter in CeeCee’s Life Book.

All I knew for sure was this: I had been plunked into a strange, perfumed world that, as far as I could tell, seemed to be run entirely by women. 

 

CeeCee’s new life is filled with caring and eccentric women. Each one seems to have a special lesson to impart. Little by little, like the fragile orchid, CeeCee begins to bloom in their warm and gentle care.

If there’s one thing I’d like most for you, it’s that you’ll find your calling in life. That’s where true happiness and purpose lies. Whether it’s taking care of abandoned animals, saving old houses from the wreckin’ ball, or reading to the blind, you’ve got to find your fire, sugar. You’ll never be fulfilled if you don’t.

 

Beth Hoffman’s charming debut novel is filled with wit, wisdom, and love. The characters will stay with me for a long time. I recommend Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, it’s a wonderful book.