Some families are filled with so much love they can’t help but drive each other crazy
Shay Henke has mixed feelings about going to her family’s next reunion. On the one hand, she’ll get to see everyone in her mama’s family—folks she loves unconditionally. On the other hand, she knows there’ll be more drama than you can shake a stick at.
The days leading up to the event bring one surprise after another. First Shay must deal with her sister-in-law’s deep, dark secret. Then she has to contend with the childish ways of her business-mogul twin cousins. And when her high school crush wants to be her date to the reunion . . . well, it may have been a dream come true for Shay’s teen self, but the woman she’s become doesn’t know what to make of this.
Shay’s contentment is challenged, and she’s determined to shake things up a bit. But will she find the excitement she’s looking for, or will Shay realize she prefers her quiet and predictable life? One thing is certain: Life in the Bucklin family is never boring.
Debby Mayne is the author of more than 40 novels and novellas that have received the "Top Pick" award from Romantic Times Magazine and been among the "Top 10 Favorites" in the Heartsong Presents book club. She writes family and faith-based romances, cozy mysteries, and women's fiction. She has also written more than 1,000 short stories and articles as well as dozens of devotions for busy women. She has worked as managing editor of a national health publication, product information writer for a TV retailer, creative writing instructor, and copy editor and proofreader for several book publishers. She is currently an etiquette writer for The Spruce, one of the DotDash (formerly About.com) companies.
Debby grew up in a military family, which meant moving every few years throughout her childhood. Debby was born in Alaska, and she has lived in Mississippi, Tennessee, Oregon, Florida, Hawaii, and Japan. Her parents were both from the Deep South, so she enjoys featuring characters with southern drawls, plenty of down-home cooking, and folks with quirky mannerisms.
She and her husband currently live in the Charleston, South Carolina, area.
You can find Debby on:
Book Review by Bree Herron
Families are all unique, but I think the Bucklin family takes the cake. I really loved all the different characters and the way the chapters were from different character perspectives. I am not from the South but I felt like I was while reading this book, sweet tea and mason jars spoke to my soul, meeting this family will surely be a highlight in your reading year. So come settle in on the porch swing and meet the family.
This book gives you a taste of a realistic and charming family. Many of the memebers make appearances throughout the novel, either sharing with the reader their thoughts and perspective, or by being in another character’s chapter. And really you can’t go wrong with a character named Puddin’. She is truly called that and I loved it (even started calling my cat that). Beyond the names, these characters truly act like a family.
Shay is one of those that would be the pink sheep of the family. Not married, a hard working gal, Shay is unsure of the reunion and her feelings on being home. I can relate to Shay trying to find herself and spread her wings but home is where our hearts are. Puddin’ is married to Digger, her love is strong but she does have a secret part of her life. She holds this secret in order to not hurt Digger. Digger is a true southern man, a provider for his family. Missy and Sally are other characters that give perspectives in assigned chapters, I love these ladies, and their insight in the novel.
These characters may get their name for a chapter but the entire family play large roles in each character’s life and thoughts. If there is anything to take away from them all is that families can be weird,but there is love and love will survive.
I really like how the stories are woven together. I loved when Shay was in funk (rightly so) and said to Sally and Sara how tea won’t even help her. I have been there, when the tea (my favorite to drink) can’t settle my mind. This may not have been a moment to other readers, but to me I could see the ladies talking and watching Shay wondering what was swirling about in that mind of hers.
Another great part of this book is the conversations. I really could envision a southern accent to each character, creating this gloriously vibrant play in my mind. It was as though I could hear them, speaking and rubbing off on me.
A southern novel set with the perfect charm. I was transported to the reunion, and interacted with each character. It was a bit humid in my mind while visiting, don’t worry my brain found a fan to cool off with. I think a family reunion idea is a great setting as well, we all have had at least one in our lives, and those that are lucky (or cursed) to have more can relive their memories.
I don’t know if there is a better southern novel out there, but if you think there is this book here will give it a run for the stars. Readers will feel right at home with the Bucklin family, they are warm, cooky, and yet people we can love. Why is it easy to love these characters? Well, we probably all have a Puddin’ or Shay in our lives, and we love them for being them. I encourage you to slow down, watch the fireflies and sip from a mason jar. Come home to not only comfort but love with High Cotton.
Sweet Tea or Yankee Tea (unsweetened)?
**DISCLAIMER: I was provided an opportunity to read this book as an Advanced Reader Copy in return for a fair and honest review.
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