Gimme Some Sugar
(Book #6 of Southern Eclectic)
By Molly Harper
Publisher Simon and Schuster | Gallery Books
April 2, 2019
Length: 304 pages
I voluntarily reviewed an advance reader’s copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
A young widow returns to Lake Sackett, Georgia to face the ghosts of her past—and decide if she’s ready to take another chance on love—in the third sparkling Southern Eclectic novel that “goes down as easy as honey on a deep-fried Twinkie” (Library Journal, on Sweet Tea and Sympathy).
Lucy Brewer would never have guessed that her best friend, Duffy McCready (of McCready’s Bait Shop & Funeral Home) has been in love with her since they were kids. Fear of rejection and his own romantic complications prevented Duffy from confessing his true feelings in high school, so he stood by and watched her wed Wayne Bowman right after high school. Wayne had always been a cheapskate, so it comes as no surprise when he suffers a fatal accident while fixing his own truck.
Even as her family and friends invade Lucy’s life and insist that the new widow is too fragile to do much beyond weeping, Lucy is ashamed to admit that life without Wayne is easier, less complicated. After all, no one knew what a relentless, soul-grinding trudge marriage to Wayne had been. Only Duffy can tell she’s hiding something.
In need of a fresh start, Lucy asks Duffy to put his cabinet-building skills to use, transforming the town’s meat shop into a bake shop. As the bakery takes shape, Lucy and Duffy discover the spark that pulled them together so many years ago. Could this finally be the second chance he’s always hoped for?
Once again Molly Harper “writes characters you can’t help but fall in love with” (RT Book Reviews) in this charming and entertaining love story. https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Gimme-Some-Sugar/Molly-Harper/Southern-Eclectic/9781501151354
After a week of influenza, I am back. Now, of course my husband is also sick – but with a different bug. Hopefully I won’t get his bug as well as the flu.
I confess that as soon as a publisher sends me a Molly Harper novel, I pretty much drop everything to read it — few authors get to me as much as Harper with her feel-good, small town Southern charm style in either regular romance or in her paranormals.
It was no differnt with Gimme Some Sugar, her most recent book in the Southern Eclectic series. I read this a while ago and what has stuck with me is the sweetness of the love story between Duffy and Lucy, the lost time and bad marriages they both experienced, and are there really people as crazy as Duffy’s ex, and Lucy’s In-laws.
The upshot is this: if you in love with someone from childhood you may regret not telling him or her.
There’s a lot to be said for the kind of growing up that Lucy goes through in her bad and sad marriage without which she would not have her adorable son, but the balance is that she loses years of a good life married to a bad seed.
The relationship to her late-husband’s family is bizarre, well they’re bizarre; like the scariest tale of the very weirdest in-laws ever. And a big part of this is Lucy growing a spine and standing up to them. But, it takes a near tragedy for it to happen. I did feel Lucy was a tiny bit unsympathetic to their loss, for a chapter or so, but then, the crap they pull had me wishing they would all go drown in Lake Sackett.
I really liked how Lucy finds her employee, and what it represents as far as her innate goodness. The reactions of others represent the missing decency in them. She comes into her own sense of strength and personal agency when it was withheld from her for a long time.
The way this small, southern town is portrayed is one part Petticoat Junction, and one part L’il Abner, with a soupçon of The Andy Griffith Show (I date myself rather badly here as these were TV shows in my youth) — the use of a hyperbolic and simplistic convention in representing the American South allows her a little more time and space to develop personality and plot in her main characters, Duffy and Lucy. The town, with it’s community events is a fantasy world, and perhaps that is why it feels like the above-mentioned icons of the 1960s (and earlier).
As always, when I finish one of Molly’s books, I always put it away with a sigh: don’t we all fantasize a lovely town where the adults get together for a dance, your neighbors are a good kind of crazy, and cupcakes don’t make you fat.