Friday, July 31, 2015

Beginning ~ with "no burial's"

Opening lines:
In the cemetery tucked behind First Baptist Bible, next to the broad-leaf tobacco patch twelve miles south of town, scrawled-out writing on a buckled, tin sign reads:  "NO BURIAL'S WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION."  Those words piss off Mama — dead men don't need no rules — but she obliged.
Simmer and Smoke: A Southern Tale of Grit and Spice ~ by Peggy Lampman, 2015, fiction (Georgia)
1. Assemble ingredients:  Shelby Preston, a young, single mother trapped in a hardscrabble life in rural Georgia, escapes her reality as she fantasizes herself a respected chef in a kitchen of gleaming stainless steel and pans shimmering with heat.  Mallory Lakes, an Atlanta newspaper food writer, may lose her job and searches for her muse in a shot glass of illusion.

2. Simmer:  Mallory secures her job by crafting a zealous doppelgänger to satisfy the expectations of an illusive cyber audience.  This also mollifies the memories of her lover who recently bolted with no warning.  Shelby persuades her mother to take care of her daughter so she can pursue her dream of going to chef school in Atlanta.  She cooks them a special dinner said to bring good luck; Lord knows her family could use a pot of something good.

3. Smoke:  Chasing desires and ambitions, the women’s lives unravel down a path beyond the kitchen, then weave together in an unsettling culinary landscape of organic farms and shadowy borders, some borders not meant to be crossed.  As Mallory combats her demons with booze and pills, and Shelby battles the odds stacked against her for becoming a chef, the women discover what’s really worth fighting for.
Ten percent of net proceeds from the sale of this book are donated to The Southern Poverty Law Center.  Short review (added later):  I rated this book 8 of 10 (Very Good) because it was fun to read and has recipes the reader can use.

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

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