Formats available: ebook, paperback
Genre: women’s ficton
Length: 338 pages
Publisher: Camellia Press
Date Released: August 5, 2014
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo
Princess, Southern belle, and spoiled-rotten social climber Searcy Roberts swore on a stack of Bibles she’d never return home to Fairhope, Alabama. After marrying her high school sweetheart and moving to Atlanta, Searcy embraces big-city life—Carrie Bradshaw style.
But now, Searcy has a teeny, tiny problem. Her husband’s had a mid-life crisis. He’s quit his job, cancelled her credit cards, and left her for another man.
Searcy returns to Fairhope, ready to lick her wounds. But when her mother falls ill, she’s is thrust into managing the family business—only to discover the beloved bakery is in danger of closing its doors forever.
Enlisting the help of the adorable bike store owner next door, an array of well-heeled customers, and her soon-to-be ex-husband, Searcy hatches the plan of the century to save Pie Girls.
There are two completely opposite literary tropes about going home. One is the title of the Thomas Wolfe novel, You Can’t Go Home Again. The other is the quote from Robert Frost, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”
For Searcy Roberts, home is definitely Frost’s version. She has to go back to tiny Fairhope, Alabama, and it has to take her in. Not initially because either she loves it or it loves her, but because they both love her mother Maggie, the owner of Pie Girls.
And Searcy has no place left to go. Considering the amount of glee she expressed on seeing Fairhope in her rearview mirror 10 years ago, there’s more than a little schadenfreude around town that she got stuck coming back.
The person Searcy is at the beginning of the story deserves every bit of that karmic payback, too. She’s vain, shallow and using conspicuous overconsumption to fill in the huge holes in her life and, frankly, her personality.
Searcy is a woman who not only can’t live without regular consultations with her personal shopper, but she expects champagne (her favorite and in her signature style) while she does her consultation. And then she feels fully justified in dropping $3,000 on “just a few things”.
Searcy isn’t mean or bad tempered, she’s just chosen to become high-maintenance to make up for everything lacking in her life. Like any relationship at all with her husband. Or much relations, ever.
When Alton finally does the very late but ultimately couragous thing and calls both their marriage and his advertising career, over and done, Searcy answers a call from her mother and realizes that her only option is to go home to Fairhope and regroup while she checks in on her mother’s health and on the family business, Pie Girls.
Both the shop and her mother are ailing. In fact, they are both terminally ill, and they need Searcy to give them both a new lease on life, every bit as much as Searcy needs to go back to her roots and find herself a new purpose.
it’s too late for Searcy to rescue her marriage (in fact, it was too late on her wedding day), but it isn’t too late for Searcy to make a fresh start on the rest of her life.
Escape Rating B: As a heroine, Searcy is a study in contrasts. The woman she is at the beginning of the story isn’t a person I liked very much. She felt like a caricature of one of the stars of Real Housewives, rich and pampered and completely shallow. She wasn’t bad or mean, she just wasn’t really there.
Then her marriage finally gives up its last ghost, and she’s depressed and desperate. And completely self-absorbed. She’s ashamed to let her friends know what happened, so she hides and covers up.
When her mother calls, it’s a rescue. Not in any financial way, but simply because it adds purpose to an otherwise purposeless life. It’s only when Searcy stops feeling sorry for herself and gets herself re-involved with Fairhope and Pie Girls that she becomes a person that you’d want to know.
Because of this, the first half of the book moves a bit slow. I wanted Searcy to see the clue-by-four way earlier than she did. It actually takes her soon-to-be-ex-husband bringing his boyfriend around to meet her that she finally gets that he’s gay, and has been all along. (The reader figures this out much, much earlier)
Although if I had to deal with his mother, I’d probably hide myself too. Possibly in Greenland. Or Antarctica. Far, far away from his mother and her badly behaved, spoiled rotten purse-dog.
But once Searcy starts taking care of her own mother, the store, and her old friends in town, her life perks up and her story gets much more interesting. And fun. I liked Searcy at the end, quite a lot, and I was rooting for her happy ending.
Lauren is kindly giving away a $20 gift card for Amazon. To enter, use the Rafflecopter below, and for more chances to win, visit the other stops on the tour!