Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Grab a glass of sweet tea and enjoy "Chin Up, Honey" by Curtiss Ann Matlock

Have you ever sat down with a book, and it felt like you were sitting on a porch swing, chatting with good friends and catching up on their lives?

That’s exactly the feeling you get when you pick up a book by Curtiss Ann Matlock. Her stories about the folks in Valentine, Oklahoma make the reader feel like they’ve come home for a family reunion. And everybody’s there – the sweet old uncle who has the delightful radio show everyone loves, the aunts who cluck about making sure everyone is fed, and the kids running in and out between everyone’s feet.

In the latest in the Valentine series, “Chin Up, Honey,” the story focuses on Emma and John Cole Berry. Emma and John Cole have been having some marital problems, to the point that John Cole has not been home in a while. But when their son, Johnny, announces that he and his sweet girlfriend Gracie are getting married, Emma knows that she has to put aside her disagreements with her husband in order to plan the wedding of the year. After all, there are parties to plan, invitations to design, a pool to be installed – you know, important things.

But when Emma finds out that Gracie’s mother, the elegant businesswoman Sylvia from up North, doesn’t approve of Johnny – well, let’s just say the mother lioness instinct kicks in and Emma goes into overdrive trying to prove to Sylvia that their family is just fine and dandy. But her anxiety may prove to be unnecessary. All it takes is getting the stuck-up lady down to experience the loving ways of the folks in Valentine to get her to loosen up a bit. A day at the Glorious Women’s retreat, a few glasses of sweet tea and Sylvia’s good to go! (If only it were that easy.)

Meanwhile Brother Winston’s radio show is getting noticed by the folks at the “Today Show,” there is a pack of kids running around town stealing things, and down at the drugstore there is a raging debate on whether you are supposed to wear panties underneath your pantyhose or not. Yep, it’s always exciting in Valentine, Oklahoma. Never a dull day passes.

Curtiss Ann Matlock has a unique gift of bringing her readers right into her stories, making them comfortable and wanting to stay a while. With just the right touch of Southern hospitality, a heaping helping of love and a generous dash of humor, her novels are instant classics. “Chin Up, Honey” is one of the best of the series, which is saying a lot since the others are delightful as well. I can’t wait until it’s time to visit Valentine again.

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