Monday, September 12, 2011

Book Review: "Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter"

"Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter" by Lisa Patton
Published in 2009
My rating: 4 out of 5

Lisa Patton's debut novel, "Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter," surprised me. The writing wasn't all that spectacular and the story was rather predictable -- two things that normally turn me off a book -- but I still loved it. I was attracted by the charming title, which suggests a Southerner out of place in Yankee country, and by the cover picture depicting hand-knitted mittens. (I might as well admit that, when simply browsing for books, cover art has a HUGE impact on what I'll pick up.) And that's just what the novel turned out to be -- cute, heartwarming, funny. It was an easy, pleasurable, cozy type of read.

The main character, Memphis-born mother-of-two Leelee Satterfield, follows her husband to cold country after he gets it in his head to leave the insurance business and buy a Vermont inn. Leelee's journey to become a Vermont innkeeper is filled with adventures, mishaps, culture shock, temperature shock and, of course, some heartbreak. The novel follows Leelee as she transforms from a softspoken, confrontation-avoiding, always-pleasant Southern belle to a strong woman who isn't afraid to stand up for herself. Readers might be annoyed with Leelee during the first segment of the novel, when she's basically a doormat. But you'll be proud as she struggles through adversity and comes out on top.

I didn't find the ending of "Whistlin' Dixie" to be completely satisfying, but then I saw that Patton has a sequel, "Yankee Doodle Dixie," which is (coincidentally) due out tomorrow. I'm already looking forward to diving into Leelee's next adventure!

Leelee's character reminded me of myself in several ways, some serious and many humorous. I thought I'd leave you with my favorite passage from the book, which descibes something I would do exactly. Both my husband and I had a good laugh over it! This event happens while Leelee and her husband are driving from the airport in Albany up to Vermont to look at the inn for the first time.

On the way between Bennington and Fairhope I got a thrill that made the whole trip worth it. If I had been looking down at my map, navigating for one more split second, I believe I would have missed it. There, on the right hand side of the road, was the most extraordinary road sign I had ever seen.

"OH MY GOSH!" I shrieked.

Baker swerved our rented Blazer over to the right like he was trying to avoid hitting something in the road. Gravel on the shoulder kicked up underneath the tires and spit off to the sides.


"What? See
what? Dammit, Leelee, are you trying to get us both killed? You scared the shit out of me. What is it?"

"The sign back there. Didn't you see it? It said moose crossing. Turn around, Baker, please. I want to get my picture made in front of that sign. Virginia and them are gonna die! Turn around."

"Okay, I'll turn around. But I don't want to be late for our appointment." I knew he didn't want to turn around at all, but he was trying to be extra nice.

"Why didn't you tell me I was gonna get to see a moose? I've never seen a moose
in person. I can't wait."

I jumped out of the car and Baker hopped out to take my picture. "Smile," he said. I stood right next to the sign and put my arms around it. It was the most unbelievable sign
I'd ever seen and I knew my friends would feel the same way.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fun read. You'll have to let me know what you think of the 2nd book in the series.


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