Monday, 30 November 2015

I am sure this is the beauty saloon everyone wants to go to:

Stella's mama never should've put Stella on the church prayer list.  With Stella's twenty-seventh birthday coming up fast, Nancy desperately wants to see her daughter married and giving her grandbabies.  Petitioning heaved seems like a surefire way to get it done.  But in Cadillac, Texas, where the gossip's hotter than the city's famous jalapeño peppers, it isn't long before all hell breaks loose.

Heather, the bossy leader of the chruch's Prayer Angels, thinks a summer ball will get Stella and the town's other single gals paired off.  But nobody can tell redheaded spitfire Stella what to so - not her mama, not Heather, and not even the sexy beau Stella's been seeing in secret.   Together, Stella, her best friends Charlotte and Piper, and te loyal customers of the Yellow Rose Beauty Shop hatch a good old-fashioned scheme to sabotage the ball.  But will it wreck Stella's relationship with her mama forever?  And what will the church folk think when Stella reveals the identity of her mystery man?

When I started reading this novel I did not realise that it was the third in the series.  But having realised that it did explain why many of the relationships felt grounded so early (they had been begun two books earlier).  To be honest, it did not really matter, although this reader will be looking for the preceding novels as this one as such good fun.  I was captured by this novel from the get do and did it held my attention until the final page.

I am not one to reveal the plot of the novels I review but believe me when I say this one is a humdinger.  It seems to be a modern Steel Magnolias but in contrast it is laugh-out-loud funny.  For this reader it epitomises the ‘movie/vampire’ notion of what the Deep South is.

As with Steel Magnolias this is a novel about the relationship of strong minded and strong willed women who have interfering alpha mothers.  As in most life situations there is a mean girl and the one in this novel is a doozy.  Each character is unique (as I life) but the reader can identify with each and every one of these women.  There is a wonderful American usage of malapropisms courtesy of Agnes (I soo want to be her when I grow old) which is one of the many reasons that made this a laugh-out-loud novel.

The characters in this book are well rounded, rich, relatable, and leap off the page.  They are sassy, independent, loyal and full of heart.  This novel deals with relationships, new beginnings and ultimately gossip and its consequences.  Ultimately this novel epitomise small town America; and how everyone knows everybody else’s business. 

Although laugh-out-loud funny there are strong themes in this book, together with a powerful romance that makes the heart beat faster.  This is this reader’s first Carolyn Brown novel but I can categorically say it will not be her last.

If you miss this novel you will be missing a treat.

I rated this 4 stars at Netgalley and 'I liked it' at Amazon (4 stars) and Goodreads (3 stars).

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