REVIEW: THE OLEANDER SISTERS, BY ELAINE HUSSEY

18812464It was 1969, and a man had just walked on the moon. In Biloxi, Mississippi, the town is ready to celebrate and ponder the possibilities.

For the Blake sisters, Beth (Sis) and Emily, family and those bonds are everything. Together, along with their grandmother Lucy (Sweet Mama), they run the town café, specializing in down home recipes, including one famous for miles around: the Amen Cobbler. Helping out at home and in the café is Beulah, Sweet Mama’s oldest and dearest friend. To round out the family, Emily’s twin brother Jim has come home from the war in Vietnam, minus one leg, and his emotional scars are deep. But they all hope that time will heal these wounds.

As they struggle to deal with adversity and death (the girls’ parents), and rise above the shame of Emily’s illegitimate son Andy, age six, this new era seems to promise only good things.

Like the man Emily is planning to marry, someone she hopes will lend her the respectability she has sought.

But Sis has a bad feeling about Larry, and before long, there is evidence that she was right.

What will Emily have to survive in order to finally put her life back together? How will the Category 5 Hurricane headed their way change everything? And will the turmoil and new problems keep them from their happiness?

The Oleander Sisters was filled with wonderful characters that made me smile and root for them, and when they came up against the evil that would stand in their way, their strength would see them through. A story of courage, hope, and sacrifice…not to mention some very deep secrets, kept me reading. Recommended for those who enjoy family drama, and stories set in the South. 5.0 stars.

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