Tag Archives: Sally Kilpatrick

Review: Orange Blossom Special by Sally Kilpatrick

Orange Blossom Special“As everyone had long feared, it was Tennessee football that finally killed Jerome Malcolm.”

With an opening line like that one, how could I possibly resist Sally Kilpatrick’s Orange Blossom Special?

The short answer is that I couldn’t.

When her husband of sixty year passes away, Edie Malcolm discovers that he has some very specific thoughts on how he and his estate should be distributed. In addition to leaving behind funding for two neighborhood friends to pursue a college education, Jerome wants to be cremated and have his ashes sprinkled in three places – the Ryman, General Robert Neyland’s grave and the orange and white checkerboard of the University of Tennessee end zone. And Jerome wants his wife, sister and the two college scholars to complete the scattering together.

So, the four of them pack into Jerome’s orange and white checkerboard painted hearse with Jerome safely stored inside a Carmen Miranda cookie jar and set out to fulfill his final wishes. Continue reading

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Review: Better Get to Livin’ by Sally Kilpatrick

 ByBetter Get To Livin'The Happy Hour Choir made me a fan and Bittersweet Creek put Sally Kilpatrick on my “must read” list. With her third novel Better Get to Livin’, Kilpatrick has ensured that her books join the likes of Stephen King, Elizabeth George, Laura Lippman and Peter David on my list of “authors I will read their latest offering first no matter what other books are on the to-be-read pile.”

Presley Cline left her small hometown in Tennessee for the bright lights of Hollywood. But just as her fortunes are about to take a turn toward that goal, she’s caught up in a Hollywood scandal that has her not only embarrassed but headed home to try and hide out with her mother for a while. Those plans quickly go awry when her mother’s trailer is destroyed by a tornado and Presley and her mother take refuge at the local funeral home, run by Declan Anderson.

Like Presley, Declan has his own “big dreams in a small town.” He’s been holding down the fort on the family business for a couple of years now while his brother is off in Atlanta, going to school. The two had an understanding that once school was over, the brother would come back to town, take over the day-to-day funeral home operations and let Declan pursue his own dreams. Continue reading

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Musing Mondays: I Want To Tell You About The Happy Hour Choir

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Time to kick-off this week with Monday Musings hosted by A Daily Rhythm.   Instead of answering the random question this week, I thought I’d take the opportunity to recommend an upcoming book.

The Happy Hour Choir by Sally Kilpatrick

happyhourNow, let me start this off by saying that I’m probably a bit biased when it comes to this book because it’s written by a friend of mine from college, who shared a couple of interesting classes with me — from short story writing to anthropology.   (I don’t think any of us will ever forget that anthropology class, if only because it was in the auditorium of our university’s museum during the spring and the heat was kept on despite the fact that it was wonderfully spring-like outside!  It didn’t always make things conducive to staying awake, much less learning about anthropology).

I’d lost track of Sally and her husband Ryan after they and I moved away from our college town but thanks to the wonders of Facebook and Twitter, we’ve been able to re-connect after all these years.  It was when we reconnected that I found out that Sally had a)written a book and b)was having it published.   And so, like many of her friends, I was eagerly waiting the novel to hit stores later this month (I almost felt like haunting book stores on the off chance they might put it out on shelves early).    But thanks to the good folks over at NetGalley, I was able to get a copy of the book and read it early.  That way I can let all of you know the books is coming and encourage you to pick up a copy.

I ask this for several reasons.   On a purely selfish level, Sally has written such an enjoyable book that I can only hope it’s a first installment in a series and I want to spend more time with her characters.   So, if getting some of you to buy a copy (dead tree, digital, carving it on a cave wall) means that we get more books with these characters, then I’m all for that. (I see that we’re getting a second installment later this year, but dang nabbit, I want more!)   On a less selfish level, I will admit I was moved Sally’s forward and talking about all the steps of encouragement she got from the important people in her life along the way.   I want this book to do well because I think it proves their faith in her was completely and totally on the money.   And finally, I ask this because I think if you pick it up, you’re going to enjoy it.

One of the highest praises I can give a book (or any form of artistic output for that matter) is that in our world of a myriad of choices and demands for my free time, it caught my attention and held it.   I read this book despite having a stack of other books that were piling up to read, a DVR loaded with movies I should watch before I pass away and new installments of some of my favorite TV shows and while in the midst of binging on season two of Orange is the New Black.  And yet, The Happy Hour Choir was a novel that held my attention and kept it focused there instead of all these other distractions for my free time.   It’s a story that is rich and highly authentic with characters that I loved and a story of redemption and forgiveness that had me getting a lump in my throat similar to the one I get every damn time I watch the end of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

If you’re still on the fence, let me give you the blurb for the book.

From author Sally Kilpatrick comes a hopeful tale of love and redemption in a quiet Southern town where a lost soul finds her way with the help of an unlikely circle of friends…

Life has dealt Beulah Land a tough hand to play, least of all being named after a hymn. A teenage pregnancy estranged her from her family, and a tragedy caused her to lose what little faith remained. The wayward daughter of a Baptist deacon, she spends her nights playing the piano at The Fountain, a honky-tonk located just across the road from County Line Methodist. But when she learns that a dear friend’s dying wish is for her to take over as the church’s piano player, she realizes it may be time to face the music…

Beulah butts heads with Luke Daniels, the new pastor at County Line, who is determined to cling to tradition even though he needs to attract more congregants to the aging church. But the choir also isn’t enthusiastic about Beulah’s contemporary take on the old songs and refuses to perform. Undaunted, Beulah assembles a ragtag group of patrons from The Fountain to form the Happy Hour Choir. And as the unexpected gig helps her let go of her painful past—and accept the love she didn’t think she deserved—she just may be able to prove to Luke that she can toe the line between sinner and saint…

So go and pre-order your copy now.  And then you can join me in the long wait until the next book hits the market later this year!

Congratulations Sally! I just wish I could be there to get a copy at your launch party later this month.   I will be there in spirit.

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