Review: Christmas in Dogtown by Suzanne Johnson

Christmas in Dogtown by Suzanne JohnsonFormat read: ebook provided by the author
Formats available: ebook
Genre: Paranormal romance; Holiday romance
Length: 35 pages
Publisher: The Story Vault
Date Released: October 15, 2012
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble

A woman who spent years escaping her rural past learns that Dogtown, Louisiana, hides more family secrets than just the recipe for boudin blanc.

Resa Madere’s on the verge of losing it all. The boyfriend’s gone. The job’s history. Her beloved house is on the brink of foreclosure. She’ll do anything to save it–even spend a long Christmas holiday working in St. James Parish, Louisiana, helping her uncle run the family meat business. But the community of Dogtown, which has been home for seven generations of the Madere and Caillou families, has deep roots and deeper secrets. For Resa, going home is one thing. Getting out might not be so easy.

My Review:

Christmas in Dogtown is a short and spicy (in the Cajun sense, not the sexy sense) holiday story that argues that, contrary to the title of Thomas Wolfe’s famous novel, you really CAN go home again. But only if you want to.

And maybe only if you get there in time.

Resa Madere comes from the long line of Maderes that founded the small bayou community of Dogtown in St. James Parish, Louisiana, right beside the Caillou family. There are entire pirogues full of traditions and expectations in Dogtown that revolve around all the things that the Madere and Caillou families have done together over the generations.

One of those many expectations was that Resa Madere would marry Chandler Caillou. Everyone in both families and all over town shoved that expectation down her throat for as long as she could remember. Along with the expectation that she would take over her grandfather’s meat business, and stay in Dogtown for her entire life. Resa had other plans, plans that involved the big city, the Big Easy called New Orleans.

But Katrina and the Great Recession meant that her dreams were running into some financial difficulties. So she was back in Dogtown for three weeks at Christmas to work in the family meat business, earn enough money to make a couple of mortgage payments, and then escape as fast as she could.

She knew that if she stayed in Dogtown too long, that she wouldn’t be able to escape at all.

What she didn’t know was why. This Christmas Chandler Caillou was back in Dogtown. And her grandfather decided that it was time that Resa knew the truth.

The truth could set her free. Or it could make her part of Dogtown forever. But it was time for Resa to choose.

Escape Rating A-: Christmas in Dogtown is a marvelous little Christmas story that packs quite the paranormal punch at the end.

The reader thinks that the story is about “roots and wings”. A story about Resa deciding what her dreams really are, whether she belongs in her hometown, or whether she really wants to be back in New Orleans.

She loves her homeplace and her people, it’s obvious. As she spends time at home, she starts to question where she belongs, so does the reader. She starts wondering whether she coming back really means giving up, or finding her right place.

And then she gets hit with the whammy. And so do we.

I just wish this story were longer. Because that whammy is one heck of a big reveal. I would love to know a whole lot more about what’s behind the myths and legends of Dogtown. There seem to be a lot of stories hidden in those bayous. I, for one, would love to read them.

Bewitching Book Tours

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