Thursday, February 08, 2018

Warm, Quirky Southern Family Secrets Novel a Glittering Gem

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Leia Birch Briggs loves herself a superhero.  Literally.  One drunken night after a book-signing, the comic book author and illustrator finds herself in bed with Batman.  After the (very uncharacteristic) one-night stand, Leia's left with a little surprise—one that's going to make a big impression on her very proper Southern family.  

Before she's had a chance to break her own news, Leia finds out that her beloved grandmother is suffering from a severe case of dementia.  "Birchie" has been out of it for some time, a fact her best friend has been charged with keeping under wraps.  After a scandalous faux pas at a public event, it becomes impossible to hush up Birchie's declining health.  Although Leia is furious at Miss Wattie for her subterfuge, Leia nevertheless hightails it to Birchville, Alabama, to straighten the old ladies out.  Along the way, she picks up her 13-year-old niece, Lavender, who's dealing with her own family crisis.

As if Leia doesn't have enough to deal with, she makes another shocking discovery—a trunk full of bones in her grandmother's attic.  While she sorts through Birchie's house, tries to drum up the courage to announce she's pregnant with a bi-racial baby, and attempts to break through some killer writer's block, Leia also has to solve an old family mystery.  Through it all, she'll learn some surprising truths about herself, her family, and her future.

Although I've heard great things about Joshilyn Jackson, this is the first time I've picked up one of her books.  And you know what?  It won't be the last.  I adored The Almost Sisters, a warm, quirky novel about the ups, downs, and all-arounds of being part of a family.  Although the plot summary makes The Almost Sisters sound like an easy, breezy beach read, it actually has a lot more depth than that.  Hitting as it does on issues like racism, privilege, and the devastating effects of dementia, it's a sad and thought-provoking tale at times.  It's also funny, compelling, and touching.  Even though I saw its big reveal coming from a mile away, I loved this novel and will definitely be looking for more gems from the talented Ms. Jackson.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of books by Karen White and of The Wedding Tree by Robin Wells)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language (a dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder expletives), sexual content, and violence

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

5 comments:

  1. I haven't read any of this author's books yet, though I've certainly heard good things about them. This one seems like a good place to start. Happily, I already own it - haven't read it - but own it.

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  2. Quirky, or crazy? Either way, I can't wait to give this one a read. :)

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  3. Why must you tempt me?!!! Argh!

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  4. It sounds like there is so much going on in this book, I hope it has focus.

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  5. This sounds like a good one. I'm not sure I can read it just now, though, because I'm having issues with family and it might be too close to home.

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