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REVIEW: Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter by Lisa Patton

Dear Ms. Patton,

I used to live in Memphis. In Germantown to be precise. My overwhelming memories are The Pink Palace Museum, my father going across the river to buy Coors beer in Arkansas, Elvis, Graceland and listening to the streets get sprayed during the summer nights to try and keep the mosquito population below 8 million. So when DA was offered the chance to read your upcoming second novel about Memphis belle Leelee Satterfield, I jumped at it and shamelessly requested the chance to read the first novel as well. I had a blast and can’t wait for round two.

Leelee Williams Satterfield is a Memphis girl, born and bred. She and her lifelong friends Virginia, Mary Jule and Alice have done almost everything together, including 12 years at an exclusive girls school, college, debuts, weddings, births and country clubbing. Leelee makes no bones about being a daddy’s girl or that she went after her high school crush Baxter Satterfield until she got him. Now married with two adorable daughters, everything is going Leelee’s way.

That is until Baxter broadsides her one evening with the news that he’s bored with his job, wants a change and is determined that change will be selling their home, buying an old inn in Vermont and relocating to a place that Leelee’s not sure is the left or right state next to New York. Horrified, she informs her friends who rally and soothe her. But Baxter is determined and before she knows it, Leelee finds herself out in the boondocks, living cramped, being bullied by the old owners who have stayed on for a year long transition and desperate to go home.

Just when she thinks things can’t get worse, Baxter disappears on their wedding anniversary leaving no note. It’s only then that she learns he’s been seeing the owner of a local ski resort and has decided to jump ship. Now she’s stuck in a place she doesn’t understand doing a job she doesn’t like with a staff she’s not sure she can count on. Will that be curtains for this Southern belle or a chance to discover who she really is?

Leelee is the proverbial Southern belle. While you might have just slightly exaggerated her tendencies and traits it’s not by much. I know Leelees. Her complete identification of Memphis as her home is also something that rings true. Though I haven’t lived there for decades, when people ask me where I’m from I always answer, “Well, I was born in Atlanta…” Leelee begins the book as such a polite bit of dandelion fluff that I wanted to shake her and tell her to channel Julia Sugarbaker. The German transplanted former inn owner treads all over her, Baxter ignores her, all her efforts to spiff up the inn are rejected and she quickly discovers all the things that no one who wants to sell you an inn tells you about Vermont. This first bit is Leelee the Downtrodden.

She’s also a total fish out of water. Nothing has ever prepared her for the four seasons of Vermont – short summer, brilliant leafed Autumn, endless snowy winter and Mud. Amazed she finds herself shoveling snow in what should be Spring, balancing on boards to keep out of the mud, slapping vampire blackflies that draw blood and relishing the short but intense summer before pulling out the toe warmers that keep her feet from freezing solid as the snow starts again. She also finds herself bonding with the native Vermonters as they pass on their wisdom and knowledge about, yes she admits, this state which has its beauties and good points.

Her frequent phone calls to her friends bear fruit when the three descend on the inn determined to help her shape it up and get rid of the houseitosis, awful wallpaper, head cheese menu and finally the woman who Leelee discovers set her husband up for his marital flight. I loved watching the four of them transform the inn into a showplace instead of something stuck 30 years in the tacky past. Leelee begins to take pride in a job well done and relishes the stellar reviews she and her hard working staff garner in local and regional media. I saw this as Leelee getting back on her feet.

Her friends come up with the perfect way to publicly get back at Baxter for what he did and begin to encourage her to pay more interest in the new chef she’s hired. Peter Owen is a peach even if he is from Jersey. Hot, good with her daughters, a great chef and endlessly supportive of Leelee I wondered when she would finally Get a Clue about him. It did arrive but the wait seemed endless and only served to set up book two due in September. Honestly, I wanted some action between them NOW since they were in an inn with eight bedrooms. But it has whetted my appetite for “Yankee Doodle Dixie.”

I would say the book is Leelee and her journey from Daddy’s pampered girl and “lady who does lunch” wife to a woman with backbone and gumption. Baxter is just a tool – literally and figuratively. This is Leelee all the way as she goes from someone who pines for the Southland to a person who has to seriously think whether she wants to leave her new life. Instead of Chick Lit, I’d venture to say it’s Hen Lit as Leelee is older and grows wiser in knowledge of herself, of others and of a state she never thought would grow on her. By the end, it’s Leelee standing tall. B

~Jayne

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Book review, romance book review, romance novel review, reviews about romance books, Jane Litte, Dear Author

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

12 Comments

  1. Liz Talley
    Jul 20, 2011 @ 16:25:23

    Sounds great! I’ll definitely put this on my list.

    I noticed this book several months ago at a bookstore. Started to pick it up because I thought the cover was striking. As a Southern woman who lives among ladies who lunch…okay, sometimes I go to lunch too…I love seeing someone who’s a reproduction grow into an original work of art with charm, true class and lots of grit.

    Thanks for the review.

  2. Jayne
    Jul 20, 2011 @ 16:33:45

    @Liz Talley: Yes, yes on the cover – it’s gorgeous. Well, both of them are. And the next book as a lovely one too. I won’t make a bad joke and say Leelee turns into a Steel Peach Blossom but she does gain emotional and mental strength while she learns to stand on her own two feet and believe in herself.

    ETA – and it’s on sale at Amazon now for $2.99!

  3. Eliza Evans
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 08:55:05

    Thanks for the review! I glanced at this one yesterday in the big Amazon sale and decided to jump on it now.

  4. Linda S
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 09:09:21

    I have the same Memphis memories, Jayne! I even went to Germantown High School. I had skipped this book before because the title itself didn’t appeal, but I’m going to have to read it now.

  5. Lisa Patton
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 13:39:07

    Dear Jayne a.k.a. fellow Memphis Belle,

    I love that you wrote the review to me. Thank you, thank you for your kind words. I’m happy that you enjoyed my novel and even more thrilled that you’ll be reading Yankee Doodle Dixie. It’s a three book series so I hope you’ll hang in for book 3! Thanks, also, to your readers for putting it on your shelves. Here’s to a cool summer wherever y’all live!

    xo
    Lisa Patton

  6. Jayne
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 18:09:53

    @Linda S: LOL, my sibling and I went to Ridgeway way back when. I’m looking forward to seeing more of the city in the next book since Leelee’s back home now.

  7. Jayne
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 18:11:06

    @Eliza Evans: I’m loving all these sales lately. Like I need more books…sigh.

  8. Jayne
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 18:13:58

    @Lisa Patton: Oooh, three books. Excellent. And I have been dreaming of winter the past few days of 100 degree heat and humidity. I’m looking forward to the next installment of Leelee.

  9. Suzanne
    Jul 22, 2011 @ 08:39:26

    Whoa! You from Memphis, too? I’m not a native, but lived in G’town for 10 years. Can’t wait to move back once housing market in SoFla is reasonable. I even set my last book in NW Mississippi with generous mentions of G’town.

    Sounds like I’ve gotta get this book!

  10. Lisa Patton
    Jul 23, 2011 @ 09:04:19

    Thanks so much Jayne. Leelee is so much fun to write about. I like to say she’s deliciously flawed! Not sure where you live now but I hope you stay cool!

  11. DA Weekly Deals: 29+ Books Under $2.99 - Dear Author
    Aug 04, 2011 @ 08:08:24

    […] Whistlin’ Dixie by Lisa patton * $2.99 * | This is recommended by Jayne […]

  12. What Jayne is reading/watching in mid August
    Mar 25, 2012 @ 09:31:32

    […] 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 […]

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