Alice Wisler has created a charming cast of characters, from the cognitively challenged plumber, to the eccentric storytelling aunt to the main character herself, a broken-hearted pastry chef who leaves Atlanta to heal herself in the mountains of North Carolina. Her grandfather has left her his cabin, with instructions that she is to teach a cooking class at the local Christian Center. Never having had exposure to middle school children, Deena is in over head during her first class when she tries to teach the kids how to make a white sauce. Deena is self conscious about the scars she carries as a result of her car accident and failed engagement and while she tries to hide behind long sleeved shirts, her stubborn cooking pupils see through her. As she learns to work with the kids she learns more about their scars too and comes to care deeply about them. How Sweet It Is, appeals to my inner chef. A sweet read!
Patterson's Sail delivers the same kind of action. A family sets off on sailing trip to try to repair their battered relationships. Disaster strikes and they find themselves in desperate circumstances. The short chapters have cliffhangers that practically leave you gasping. You'll cheer for the family's triumphs and really hate the villains before it's all over.
Lottery by Patricia Wood
"My name is Perry L. Crandall and I am not retarded." This is our first introduction to Perry, a Forrest Gump-like character, raised by his grandparents and befriended by his coworkers. Frustrated with the lack of attention he was receiving in public school, Gram began home schooling him at age 13. Even before that, she assigned him daily words from the dictionary. After Gram's death, Perry wins the lottery and finds that those who once shunned him now find him fascinating. Perry finds he has a knack for business and resists the efforts of his extended family to become his legal guardian. A delightful read with real insight into the value of every individual no matter their IQ! See comment from author, Patricia Wood, at the end of this post!
Songs Without Words by Ann Packer
Liz and Sarabeth grew up across the street form each other. They draw even closer as Sarabeth's depressed mother commits suicide. Their friendship survives the adolescent years and now in middle age they find their friendship challenged by a family member's suicide attempt. By the end of the book, I knew the characters like friends from my own childhood. I would love the opportunity to discuss this book. Invite me to your book club if you choose it as one of your selections!