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A journey to Myrtle Beach, S.C., gives an elderly Southern mother the heartrending opportunity to share a painful, long-held secret with her gay son in Villas's eloquent fiction debut. The veteran food and wine writer (My Mother's Southern Kitchen) concocts a savory dish in Ella Dubose, a feisty 73-year-old widow who smokes, drinks, carries a gun in her purse and does what she wants, when she wants-just so long as Goldie Russell, her Cherokee companion, is riding shotgun. While vacationing at a seaside inn, and waiting for her famous author son to join them, Ella stumbles on a romantic surprise, vacationing Yankee Dr. Edmund O'Connor. When her son, Tyler, does arrive, Ella yearns to tell him about his real father-not her husband, Earl Dubose, father of Tyler's two siblings-but a Jewish WWII veteran driven to suicide. Tyler, however, also has a secret and a struggle of his own. Villas depicts Ella's dilemma and relationships with flair and a perceptive eye, capturing the Low Country's nostalgic allure with loving skill. (Oct.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.