Sunday, September 7, 2014

Palmetto Moon: A Lowcountry Novel

Title: Palmetto Moon: A Lowcountry Novel Author: Kim Boykin Publisher: Berkley Pages: 320 2014

From Amazon:
June, 1947. Charleston is poised to celebrate the biggest wedding in high-society history, the joining of two of the oldest families in the city. Except the bride is nowhere to be found…

Unlike the rest of the debs she grew up with, Vada Hadley doesn’t see marrying Justin McLeod as a blessing—she sees it as a life sentence. So when she finds herself one day away from a wedding she doesn’t want, she’s left with no choice but to run away from the future her parents have so carefully planned for her.

In Round O, South Carolina, Vada finds independence in the unexpected friendships she forms at the boarding house where she stays, and a quiet yet fulfilling courtship with the local diner owner, Frank Darling. For the first time in her life, she finally feels like she’s where she’s meant to be. But when her dear friend Darby hunts her down, needing help, Vada will have to confront the life she gave up—and decide where her heart truly belongs.

This is a sweet, fairy-tale type story. It isn't entirely believable, but sometimes we all just want a happy ending. The characters were a little flat and stereotypical. The main character was not really likable- spoiled and self absorbed, she takes a job as a teacher but conveniently never steps into a classroom for the entire novel. That being said, this is a cute, fast beach read. It isn't bad at all. It isn't deep, but it isn't meant to be. When you need a light, quick, simple read with a happy ending, this is the one.

Read this story if...
*you love southern fiction
*you love fairy tales
*you love quick, light reads
*you love a happy ending

Madam: A Novel of New Orleans

Title: Madam: A Novel of New Orleans Authors: Cari Lynn and Kellie Martin Publisher: Plume Pages: 321 2014

 From Amazon:
When vice had a legal home and jazz was being born—the captivating story of an infamous true-life madam

New Orleans, 1900. Mary Deubler makes a meager living as an “alley whore.” That all changes when bible-thumping Alderman Sidney Story forces the creation of a red-light district that’s mockingly dubbed “Storyville.” Mary believes there’s no place for a lowly girl like her in the high-class bordellos of Storyville’s Basin Street, where Champagne flows and beautiful girls turn tricks in luxurious bedrooms. But with gumption, twists of fate, even a touch of Voodoo, Mary rises above her hopeless lot to become the notorious Madame Josie Arlington.

Filled with fascinating historical details and cameos by Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and E. J. Bellocq, Madam is a fantastic romp through The Big Easy and the irresistible story of a 
woman who rose to power long before the era of equal rights.

I truly loved this book. The authors take you inside the life of a prostitute in New Orleans in the late 1800's. I actually learned a lot about this fascinating world. Although the story is called Madam, it really tells the story of Mary Deubler up until she became Josie Arlington, the madam. It stops before her life as a madam really began. I would love, love, love to read a sequel- to see what her life was like as madam and how it changed. This is a fascinating look at a different side of New Orleans . It was very hard to put down.

Read this book if:
*You love novels set in New Orleans
*you love stories of Storyville and the seedier side of the city
*you love historical fiction with a true basis

The Memory Garden by" Mary Rickert

Title: The Memory Garden Author: Mary Rickert  Publisher: Sourcebooks  2014 Pages: 284

From Amazon:

Bay Singer has bigger secrets than most.

Not that she knows about them. Her mother, Nan, is sure that the burden of those secrets would be too much, and that's why she never told anyone the truth, not even Bay.

There's a lot that Nan's kept quiet over the years, especially those times with Mavis and Ruthie—times that were dark and full of guilt. But some secrets have a power all their own, and Nan realizes she needs Mavis and Ruthie now more than ever. When the three meet again in Nan's garden, their reunion has spellbinding effects that none of them could have imagined, least of all Bay...

I enjoyed this book although, at times, it was quite difficult to follow. I was drawn to this book because of it's similarities to Sarah Addison Allen's books. A fan of her magical realism, I couldn't wait to dive in. Filled with herbal folklore, a ghost here and there, and unsolved mysteries past and present, this novel has the makings of a great tale. I DID enjoy it, I just wish the writing style has been different. Sometimes I had to stop and ask myself what in the world was going on.  This kept me from getting entirely involved. In spite of this, I will definitely give Rickert's next book a try.

Read this story if:
*you love stories with a hint of the supernatural
*you love stories with a touch of magical realism
*you love stories of friendship