Betty Sweet Tells All

Betty Sweet Tells All

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by Judith Minthorn Stacy

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Scandal has rocked the small Southern town of Poplar Grove, and it all seems to be about Betty Sweet's daughter, Maggie. She's gone and left her husband of nineteen years and taken a job in the local beauty shop...and she's reconnected with her old high school sweetheart!

No one is more shocked by Maggie's behavior than her tight-knit Southern family. Her twin

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Scandal has rocked the small Southern town of Poplar Grove, and it all seems to be about Betty Sweet's daughter, Maggie. She's gone and left her husband of nineteen years and taken a job in the local beauty shop...and she's reconnected with her old high school sweetheart!

No one is more shocked by Maggie's behavior than her tight-knit Southern family. Her twin seventeen-year-old daughters are mortified, and her grandmother is refusing to speak to her. Of course, Betty is stuck in the middle of it all.

But, unexpectedly, Betty meets someone special and soon discovers for herself that the course of true love is never smooth. With a little encouragement from her best friend and some newly discovered inner strength, Betty comes to grips with her own happiness and helps Maggie do the same.

Hilarious and heartwarming Betty Sweet Tells All proves even in the most troubled times, true love and family prevail.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The many fans of Styles by Maggie Sweet will find equal riches in the second installment of this multigenerational saga, and newcomers to the adventures of the Poplar Grove, N.C., family will feel at home at once. Betty, a nurse who works with Alzheimer's patients, "wonders if it's her destiny to be surrounded by contrary, confusing people." Her daughter, Maggie, has just left her husband, the irksome but reliable Steven, and their twin daughters, Jill and Amy, who have recently graduated from high school. Adding to Betty's stress is her live-in mother, Mama Dean, a widow with a will of iron. Betty not only has her hands full trying to reconcile two equally stubborn women, she has to deal with being the town scandal when it becomes clear that Maggie has run off with her high school heartthrob, Jerry. And is it all Betty's fault? After all, she left her own husband when Maggie was a tot. But thanks to her longtime friend, Annie, who lures her out to the coast, and a charming Australian named Charlie, Betty renews her own life while managing her mother's and learning to accept her daughter's. Stacy knows when to switch from one point of view to another, and she captures the vivacious banter of her characters with ease. (May) Forecast: The recent sale of the film rights to Styles by Maggie Sweet suggests a bright future for the series, which will appeal to readers of Ann B. Ross's Miss Julia books. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In this follow-up to humor columnist Stacy's Styles by Maggie Sweet, it is summer in Poplar Grove, NC, and Maggie has left her husband of 19 years for high-school boyfriend Jerry. Her mother, Betty, grandmother, Mama Dean, and Maggie's teenaged twin daughters all have opinions they're not afraid to express. As Maggie struggles for independence and happiness, so does Betty, sandwiched between Maggie and the domineering Mama Dean (reminiscent of "Mama" on the Carol Burnett Show). This novel involves some rehashing of the first, making it a ho-hum sequel; libraries should buy only where demand merits. Don't miss works by the best of the new Southern women writers: Jeanne Ray's Step Ball Change, Catherine Landis's Some Days There's Pie, and especially Pamela Duncan's multigenerational Moon Women. Rebecca Sturm Kelm, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Harper Perennial
Edition description:
First Perennial Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.57(d)

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Chapter One


June 5, 1985

Dear Annie,

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to answer your letter, but the worst thing in the world has happened.

Maggie has gone and left Steven! Nineteen years of marriage and she just up and left him the day after their girls graduated from high school. The whole town's talking and I'm just sick about it. I never in all my life thought she'd do such a thing. I mean, she's my daughter and I love her, but I don't understand what she's thinking.

I don't know what's going to happen next -- what Maggie thinks life is all about. She's thirty-eight years old, but sometimes I think she had better sense in her twenties. It's probably one of those midlife crisis things all the magazines write about, but when the dust settles and she gets back to her old self, she's going to regret this for the rest of her life.

I always thought I knew Maggie, knew her to the core. Now, I wonder if anyone ever knows anyone else. I mean, to leave a perfectly good husband for a job at the Curl & Swirl and that dinky little apartment behind the shop! It just doesn't make sense.

But when I try to talk to her about it, all she'll say is, �You don't know, Mother. You just don't know.�

Well, she's right about that! I sure as the world don't know. But I'd like to jerk a knot in her tail.

I'm sorry this is such a depressing letter. But I wanted you to know why I haven't written and why I won't be coming for a visit like I promised.

Mama Dean's about to go crazy and about to drive me crazy, too. I know she's just as sick about this whole thing as I am, but it'd be a whole lot easier if she wouldn't let me know morning, noon, and night �I told you so.'

You've been like a sister to me since high school. I just wish you didn't live so far away. You're the only one I can confide in and I need someone to talk sense to me. Tell me what to do to stop all this mess before Maggie ruins her life forever. It seems like I'm supposed to do something, but when I think about it my mind goes round and round in circles and I get slicing pains in my chest.

Please write back soon. I need a friend!


Dear Betty,

I am shocked in my heart! I always thought Maggie had this perfect life! Every time my kids did something crazy, I'd always think about Maggie never giving anyone a bit of trouble.

You asked me what I thought Maggie wanted, what she thought life was about? The truth is, I don't know. I don't know what anyone is thinking -- what anyone expects out of life. Used to, I thought I did. But the older I get the less I seem to know.

I do know about small-town gossip though -- what everyone must be saying about Maggie leavinga perfectly good husband. (Though, I've yet to meet a PERFECTLY good husband! Ha Ha!)

I know blood is thicker than water and you want to be there when she is ready to talk. But there isn't much you can do until then. She's old enough to live her own life and pay the consequences if she's made a mistake. Worrying yourself to death won't change a thing.

Maybe it's easy for me to say, since Maggie isn't my daughter, but you sound so torn up. Your job, Mama Dean, and now Maggie! As Matt Dillon said on Gunsmoke, �It's time to get out of Dodge.�

Wait 'til you see my new double-wide! There's a great room with a fireplace, a huge country kitchen with built-in everything, two bedrooms, each with its own bathroom and garden-tub, all done up in mauves and blues. Say you'll come and you can have the �mauve suite� for as long as you want.

We could walk on the beach, feed the sea gulls, and talk. I can't wait for you to meet my friends in the Brunch Bunch.

It's hard to believe I've lived here at Ocean Isle for three years now -- even harder to believe it's been that long since my Ed passed away.

The other day, I heard K. T. Oslin's song �80's Ladies.� It reminded me of how we used to be. Especially the part about, one was pretty, one was smart, the other was a borderline fool. Well, you were the one who was pretty and smart. I'm still the borderline fool.

Remember when we used to sneak cigarettes, play Patsy Cline records, and talk all night?

I know you Capricorns are practical and long-suffering. But promise you won't be an old Capricorn about this. You need a vacation. There's more to life than work, worry, and wondering what the neighbors might say. Knowing you, you've probably got a couple of hundred vacation days coming, so I won't take no for an answer.


�I never thought I'd say such a thing about my own granddaughter,� Mama Dean says, as she wads up her church bulletin and stuffs it into her purse. �But Maggie Sweet always did admire wildness. She takes after her daddy that way.�Betty pulls the car into the driveway and parks.

Preacher Poteat's sermon seemed to go on forever this morning and she already has a headache. �Lord, Mama. She isn't the least bit like Smiling Jack. I don't know much, but...�

Betty Sweet Tells All. Copyright � by Judith Minthorn Stacy. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Judith Minthorn Stacy, a native of Michigan, married a Southerner right out of high school, had four children, and at various times worked as a salesclerk, a waitress, and a respiratory therapist. She does not style hair. A humor columnist for several newspapers, she has published articles in national women's magazines and regional anthologies. She and her husband ilve in Mooresville, North Carolina. Maggie Sweet is her first novel.

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Betty Sweet Tells All 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up, knowing nothing about the author, from the regional section of the book store. This is one of those books that makes you forget you're actually reading. You'll find yourself looking forward to coming back to it, like a friendly conversation you want to resume. While the book is sometimes categorized as 'divorce,' I thoroughly enjoyed it even though I am happily married. The book ambitiously touches on four generations of women -- their sentiments, differences, strife, and ultimately, their enduring love for one another that transcends traditional expectations. The author deftly captures the spirit of the south with natural language that makes the book charming and genuine. This isn't deep reading, but it's the best kind there is. Now I've got to read the prequel: Maggie Sweet.