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Rocky Rates It! The Wildflower Girls by Mullen Dale

wildflowerMullen Dale captures female adult friendship poignantly and effectively in her romantic thriller. Never campy, but always relatable, I found myself wanting to be admitted into the circle of Wildflower Girls. This is decidedly not the “it” crowd at the high school lunchroom table all grown up and vamping it through adulthood to be seen. This is a group of women tempered by experience facing both the best and worst life has to offer head on. From the imprudent Harlyn who fights for respect in a male-dominated career to the indomitable Chrysanthemum who powers through grief and a mother’s horror, the Wildflower Girls are multidimensional.

The banter between the Wildflower Girls and the men who claim them is authentic, at times either heartrending or hilarious, and quintessentially Southern. I am reminded of a darker, grittier version of the Steel Magnolias. The pacing of the novel is quick and the sequence deftly avoids the pitfall of miring up in backstory. I am very much looking forward to Dale’s next installment of The Wildflower Girls saga.

Rocky Rates It! Paula by Isabel Allende

Paula

I expected Paula to be wrenching, but what I did not expect was the equivalent of a graduate course in both effective description and the melding of the personal and public. I stopped multiple times in the reading to just sit in awe of the literary skill on display. Allende is a true master who made me feel the anguish of a mother, both for a diseased daughter and a diseased nation. This memoir is a must-read, not just for the story itself, but for its artistic expertise.

I gave this book 5 stars!

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