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Meanwhile, to her own amazement, Betty has met someone special ...
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Meanwhile, to her own amazement, Betty has met someone special and she too is finding out that the course of true love is never smooth, especially when it has to run the gauntlet of four generations of women in a small Southern town.
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.
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!
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.
It's the hottest June on record, the close-knit Southern town of Poplar Grove is astir with the latest gossip, and everyone seems to be talking about Betty Sweet's daughter, Maggie. She's gone and left Steven, her husband of nineteen years, and Amy and Jill, her twin teenage daughters, and taken a job in the local beauty shop, the Curl & Swirl. And she's reconnected with her old high school sweetheart, Jerry, too.
No one is more shocked by Maggie's behavior than her by-the-book Southern family. Maggie's scorned husband Steven won't pass along her messages to the twins, and he's been spotted around town with a local widow. Amy, about to leave for college, consoles herself with frequent shopping trips to the local mall. Jill throws herself into her wood carving, hoping that her efforts will convince her parents to pay her tuition for classes with Chief Too-Tall, a local master carver. Maggie's beleaguered mother, Betty Sweet, is in the middle of all of the madness. When the invincible matriarch of the Sweet family, Mama Dean, gives Maggie the silent treatment, voicing her disapproval in a series of heavy-breathing prank phone calls, Betty encourages Maggie to smooth things over with a peace offering of an Impossible pie, but it seems that even that won't do the trick.
Through her correspondence with her best friend Annie, and an unexpected encounter with a new friend, Betty discovers for herself that the course of true love is never smooth. With a little encouragement from Annie and some newfound inner strength, Betty comes to grips with her own happiness and helps Maggie do the same. In its heartwarming and uplifting finale, Betty SweetTells All proves that even in the most troubled times, true love and family prevail.
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Posted January 3, 2005
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.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.