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Lisa Patton

REVIEW: Yankee Doodle Dixie by Lisa Patton

REVIEW: Yankee Doodle Dixie by Lisa Patton

Dear Ms. Patton,

I think this book is a great example of how expectations and back blurb copy can color a reading experience. When I read “Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’Easter,” I knew there was a sequel and therefore some loose ends to Leelee Satterfield’s story. It wasn’t until I posted my review for the first book that I found out there is going to be a third book in the series. When I started this book however, I still thought that some relationships left unfinished would be explored here and that Leelee would progress from where we’d left her in “Nor’Easter.” Alas, not so.

Yankee Doodle Dixie	Lisa PattonAt loose ends after selling the Inn she’d run in Vermont, transplanted Tennessean Leelee Satterfield finds that her new life back in Memphis isn’t quite the return to Home Sweet Home that she thought it would be. Now separated from her cheating husband – whose dream it was to move to Vermont and run that inn – she is living in a rental house with a nosey neighbor who never met an “at home party” selling business he didn’t embrace, working at a radio station, juggling work with being a single mom and reconnecting with her three best friends and her childhood nurse, Kissee. When a station promotion brings her in contact with a rock star she’s idolized since her teenage years, Leelee is thrilled when Liam White notices her and gives her the rock star rush job. But his attention might just cost Leelee her job. Plus her heart can’t seem to let go of the man she thought shared her feelings back in Vermont.

At the end of “Nor’Easter,” Leelee seemed to have learned how to stand on her own two feet and be her own person. After a lifetime of having first her father and then her husband make most of the decisions of her life, she had taken charge and proved to herself and others that she could do just fine on her own. She and Peter had also taken the first step in what Leelee hoped would turn into a romantic relationship. When I picked up “Yankee Doodle Dixie” I thought Leelee would progress onward and upward. Based on the book blurb, I thought that she would quickly open a similar business as she’d had in Vermont. I thought she and Peter might get their feelings sorted. I was wrong.

Instead Leelee seems to have regressed a bit. It’s quickly apparent that the thing with Peter isn’t going anywhere – at least in this book. Leelee then falls back into the same “let the man run the relationship” thing with Liam that she’s done her whole life. There are risks to it that she knows up front plus she’s got Kissee telling her to watch her step with this man. And her friends, who’ve watched her marriage implode, see nothing wrong in egging her on in questionable circumstances. Leelee does learn a powerful lesson about Liam and more importantly herself but I felt that I’d watched her take two steps forward in Vermont only to take a giant one backwards in Tennessee to finish only slightly ahead of where book one ended. I kept thinking, “has she learned nothing?”

The job situation Leelee finds herself in is also little better than her initial experience with the inn in Vermont. She’s doing drudge work for a maniacal boss and it’s making her miserable. On her way into her interview she even thought that she didn’t want to go through what she had in Vermont and yet there she is suffering through the same basic stuff. My thoughts on this were “I’ve read this before and it’s depressing me to see Leelee go through this again.”

The book wasn’t a total disappointment to me. The scenes of Leelee and her four friends reuniting and having fun were enjoyable. The Elvis Week stuff was a scream. I also liked Kissee though I think people might have trouble with her character. The lifelong love that she and Leelee feel comes through in their interactions but having an African-American in role of someone who used to be “the help,” even though Leelee’s always viewed Kissee as more a mother than her than her real one, is going to be a tough sell.

Leelee does pull herself together and begin to explore her past relationships and where she wants her future to go. She takes what she learned about herself running an inn and decides to start there with what made her happy in life. This is where the book picks up for me. It ends on a positive note with a set up for the future that I do want to read as I think this will be what I had hoped “YDD” would give me. Leelee seems to have straightened her life up but I had to wait too long for her epiphany and felt as if I were reading only a slightly different version of the book I’d already read. C

~Jayne

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What Jayne is reading/watching in mid August

What Jayne is reading/watching in mid August

My entries for this feature might end up being sporadic as I often don’t know what I’m going to read next until I eye my TBR print stacks or flip through my menu screens on my ereader. I’m just as spontaneous in my movie watching, too. And once I start a book, the odds are I will either finish it or drop it early so I usually don’t have too many DNF reviews. With that in mind here goes.

Powder and Patch, Black Sheep by Georgette Heyer – see the reviews already posted.

Unnatural Fire by Fidelis Morgan – this is a book I bought after seeing it raved about in the Bas Bleu catalogue. The first in a mystery series set in post Glorious Revolution England (1690s), it features down on her luck noblewoman Countess Ashby de la Zouche and a former servant of hers who solve crimes. It’s warts and all London with all its questionable hygiene and Fleet Street Prison. I started reading this a few weeks ago and put it down for some reason. Maybe the imaginary smells were getting to me but I do plan to pick it up again.

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Spellcast by Barbara Ashford – this is from a box of advanced reading copies that Jane sent me. Maggie lost her job in NYC and after her ceiling fell in on her, she decided to sublet her apartment for the summer then just drive and see where she ends up. The end up spot is a small town in Vermont and to top it off, suddenly she finds herself auditioning for a summer stock group. The tone is hilarious but something made me flip to the end to see if I’d get a HEA. The answer is unclear but due to the fact that I enjoyed Ashford’s writing style, I plan to give this one another go too.

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A Rather Remarkable Homecoming by C.A. Belmond – the fourth entry in this series about a “by marriage” cousins (no blood relation) who inherited some lucre, made some more then fell in love and got married, it picks up with Penny and Jeremy arriving home from their honeymoon to find a new mystery/sleuthing mission awaiting them. Though not as good as books 1 & 3, I still whipped through it and liked it but didn’t love it. Full review will be done.

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Yankee Doodle Dixie by Lisa Patton – the sequel to Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’Easter it follows Leelee Satterfield back to her hometown of Memphis, TN. At loose ends after selling the Inn she’d run in Vermont, Leelee finds that her new life in Memphis isn’t quite the return to Home Sweet Home that she thought it would be. It’s the same breezy style as before and I enjoyed seeing Leelee and her 3 best friends again but felt I was reading a rerun of book one but with more heat and humidity. Full review will be done.

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Space Slugs by Frances Pauli – After our recent fun discussion about penguin shapeshifters, I remembered that I had this ebook arc loaded on my ereader and decided, “WTF why not?” I’ve barely begun it and don’t think that the space slug will be the heroine (at least I think it’s a female) of the romance but it’s early days yet.

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After that I have a few books in mind I might try next including The King’s Courtesan by Judith James because I liked the first book in the series and Swept Off Her Feet by Hester Browne because a friend of mine tried and like it.

*****

Hula Girls – it’s 1965 in northern Japan, and the mine that supports most of the town is shutting down. The company plans to develop a “Hawaiian” resort and a number of young women apply to be hula dancers there. Facing criticism from their friends and family, can they stick with it and thereby have jobs or will they cave to public pressure? This defines “heartwarming” though that also applies to “predictable.” I could tell when each phase of the movie arrived and pinpoint what would come next. It’s cute but never rises much above that level. Why watch it? It’s got some great hula dancing once the women really get going.

Yojimbo – This is the second Kurosawa film I’ve tried and as I told my kitty when we started watching it, Kurosawa had one more chance to win me over after the DNF of “The Hidden Fortress.” Win me he did with the story of an “at large” samurai in 1850s Japan who comes to a small town being torn apart by rival gangsters. Remade many times by Western directors, it’s got humor, drama, greed, violence and some amazing sword fighting plus one fancy Dan who prances around with a pistol. After this one, I’m ready to try more of his films.

Random Harvest – Greer Garson and Ronald Colman meet in post WWI England, fall in love, marry then are separated by – oh, I’m not sure – lotsa years of every melodrama known to man before finally! reaching their HEA. It’s finely acted and not overplayed melodrama in tasteful English fashion but way too much “piled on piled on” for me. Everything but the kitchen sink sagas have never been my thing but I can see how, if they are your thing, this would be very satisfying at the end.