Wally Lamb meets Steel Magnolias in this story of LilyAnn Bronte, the Peachy-Keen Queen, which in Blessings, Georgia, was the epitome of success. After losing her fiancé in the war in Iraq, her zest for life went into decline while added weight crept on. When a new guy arrives in town, LilyAnn embarks on a quest to remake herself from start to finish only to discover that love was always just right next-door.
I have to give a warning first – there are a couple of violent sequences (explicit and implied) that may be hard for some people to read. I’m not at all squeamish and they bothered me. I think, after reading Color Me Bad, I was expecting something a little more lighthearted – a Southern Belle romp – but while there are lighthearted moments and some good ol’ fashion “Bless Your Heart” charm, the story was much more serious than I thought it would be.
We start at the beginning with a history of Lily and how she got to where she is – how 11 years have past her by without her noticing. She’s been standing still for so long it has become a habit but she’s finally decided it is time to move forward. She’s interesting and flawed and normal and real. Her best friend and neighbor Mike is just as engaging. He’s loved her since they were teenagers but has been too afraid to say anything and she’s been too oblivious to notice how he feels. Events are set into motion a storm that will rock their world and either tear it apart or bring them a happy ending.
Of course, like any worthy small-town tale, this one covers more than just Lily and her romantic fumbles. And those secondary characters are just as interesting as the primary ones. Full of quirkiness, fun and drama, they nicely round out Sala’s newest and leave little tidbits to possible future stories.
With colorful characters and an enticing story line, Sala’s new series proves to be amusing and appealing. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye out for more.