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Posted June 14, 2007
The Friday Afternoon Club is a group of women who get together for some R&R from their busy lives. Liz is a stay-at-home mom who is in the club. She also writes a newspaper column. One of their members doesn¿t come to meetings for a few weeks, so they seek her out to discover the problem. Lucy is recovering from the deaths of her husband and mother in the past year and has gone into depression. Her aunt recently left her a Civil War style home in a nearby town. The club decides to have a get-away weekend to decorate and restore the home. Lucy isn¿t too sure at first. Once there, they have some startling discoveries including a diary. This is a very good book, but it is not your normal mystery with a death to be investigated. Once you understand that, you can relax and really enjoy the camaraderie of the club and how they rally around Lucy to help her out of her depression. This is a great book and I recommend it!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted October 24, 2006
Dying to Decorate by author Cyndy Salzmann, is the first in the Friday Afternoon Club Series. The narrator of the story is a woman named Liz, a stay-at-home mom who writes a newspaper column (think Martha Stewart meets Flylady). The friends in the Friday Afternoon Club, or FAC, get together weekly to get a little R&R from their all-too busy lives. They support each other with fierce devotion, and when one of the members goes AWOL from the club for a few weeks, they go on a rescue mission. The group learns that their friend Lucy, recovering from the deaths in the past year of both her husband and her mother, has slid into a depression. She has also recently inherited an old Civil War style home from an elderly aunt, and the FAC thinks it will be the perfect diversion to nudge Lucy away from her slump. The group determines to have a decorating party/get-away weekend to help restore the lovely old house. Startling discoveries and a secret diary found hidden in the house from Civil War times raise serious questions about the history of Lucy¿s past relatives. With help from the diary and Lucy¿s Aunt Bette, the group learns about true strength of character and sacrificial heroism that begins at home. While the novel isn¿t a `mystery¿ in the classic sense, it has great sense of suspense as the story unfolds. Add to that a wonderfully refreshing humor intertwined in a very satisfying story. If that isn¿t enough, the book includes many wonderful recipes that tie into each chapter. To a book-loving foodie, it¿s the ultimate in reading. With recipes like Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pot Roast, I¿m So Sorry Snickerdoodles, and Liz¿s Triple Chocolate Pecan Brownies, it¿s a struggle to decide whether to finish reading or to hit the kitchen to whip up some of the goodies laced throughout the book. It¿s a fantastic read all around, and I can¿t wait for the next installment in the series. Her next book, Crime and Clutter (A Friday Afternoon Club Mystery) is scheduled to be released in April 2007.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 29, 2009
I've said before, I love reading books about food. Reading a novel that has the recipes it mentions is even better. As soon as I'm done with the book, I want to start making the food. What's even better is when the recipes are super easy for non cooks like me. Dying to Decorate has all this and more. I really want to be able to find friends like the ladies in the Friday Afternoon Club when I reach that age. The friends meet every Friday (hence the name) for a time of fellowship, fun and food. Each woman has a very different personality that meshes well and doesn't clash with other. One of the members inherits a Civil War era house from her great aunt and the FAC goes to help her renovate it. During their stay, they discover the history of the house and how it will eventually change their own outlook of life. I enjoyed the book tremendously. My favorite scene was when John and Liz go out to dinner and stop by a coffeehouse. They order their coffee and John thinks he is splurging by ordering a grande. His reaction to the actual size of his cup as compared to Liz's venti is hilarious. I've been in Starbucks lots of times to hear people get confused and complain about the sizes. Sooooo relatable. I'd recommend this book for fans of The Potluck Club or The Yada Yada Prayer Group. I really related to this book even though I'm the same age of the characters' kids! This book has it all: food, mystery, fun and even a history lesson! I am definitely looking forward to the next FAC adventure. I'm thinking about making that coconut cream pie or the baked potato soup...although i think i might pass on the pioneer mush :)Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 29, 2009
This story is so unique. It starts out hilarious, sucking you in with the witty internal dialogue from Liz--the main point of view character--when she refers to 'the hag' in her that's dying to be unleashed. Then the story transitions to the women's Friday night club group and their concern for their dear friend Lucy who is in a total funk and depressed (and for good reason.) They rally to cheer her up and part of that is through helping her renovate a home she recently inherited. With that home came intrigue found in the pages of a young girl's diary during the era of slavery and the Civil War. This story held my interest and I must say I hated it when the story ended. I want the author to write a historical now about the content in that awesome diary. That was some great stuff! In addition, though the story ended sooner than I'd hoped, it ended on a positive and uplifting note, making me a guaranteed fan of the author for years to come. She really knows how to draw the reader into the lives of the characters. Oh, and if I were a culinary woman, the recipes are to die for. I think I'll lend them to my husband as he's the chef in the family, and more than one concoction within its pages has piqued his interest. I highly recommend this novel. I hope to see a sequel in the future. There is so much potential for more drama with this incredible cast.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted January 16, 2006
Liz Harris and her friends, Jessie, Marina, Mary Ann, Kelly, and Lucy, initially form the Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) to keep ¿the hateful hag¿ that resides in each of them in check. They begin with no agenda or projects, just the goal of ¿girl time¿ to ¿relax, recharge, and reconnect at the end of a long week.¿ But as the years roll by, and the women go through various crises, the club becomes a vital force in each of their lives. When Lucy loses her husband to a freak accident and her mother dies soon afterward, she goes into a tailspin. Her once-strong faith in God weakens, and she falls into depression. Then the FAC decides it¿s time for a weekend trip to help Lucy renovate the Civil-war era house she inherited from her mother. The women are prepared for leaky pipes and rotted wood, but when they find a hidden prison room behind one of the old house walls, they get more than they bargained for. Lucy¿s aunt gives her a journal found in the house years earlier, and the FAC members are soon reading it aloud between bouts of redecorating. The journal unravels the house¿s mystery, and brings a new realization of God¿s love to each of the women. Cyndy Salzmann¿s debut novel is a light, enjoyable read that includes scrumptious-sounding recipes the FAC enjoy preparing and eating. The story provides surprising food for thought about civil disobedience. Nice interjections from the old journal, Liz¿s regular narrative, and Liz¿s newspaper column all contribute to the richness of the tale. Liz¿s metamorphosis from ¿super woman¿ to ¿real woman¿ in her newspaper column made me realize it¿s okay to be who I am, and not pretend to be super woman, as I am wont to do. That said, I did encounter a few challenges with this book. First, after an opening chapter that had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes, the remainder of the book just didn¿t deliver at the same level. Salzmann has the potential to write a screamingly funny novel, as evidenced by Dying to Decorate¿s first few pages. I¿d love to see her tap into her superb sense of humor consistently in her next book. Second, Marina and her helper start tearing out kitchen cabinets right away, in the belief that these cabinets conceal a secret room. This unexplained leap of logic had me wondering how they could have known exactly where to search, for a room they didn¿t know existed. These issues aside, I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next installment of the FAC.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 27, 2005
What can beat a mystery story that not only keeps you laughing out loud but is interspersed with to-die-for recipes? Dying to Decorate, Cyndy Salzmann¿s first novel, and the first book of the new Friday Afternoon Club Mystery Series, combines both. Salzmann has a unique voice--and an attitude any mom can relate to. Her observations on life, parenting, and friendship will keep you smiling, nodding with agreement, and turning those pages. And the recipe that begins each chapter will tempt you to race to the kitchen to whip that delectable dish up for dinner. And there's the dilemma--read the next chapter to find out what happens or try out that luscious recipe? Either way, this book is going in the kitchen on my cookbook shelf where it'll be close at hand! Bravo, Cyndy! Can't wait for the next one in the series--but first I HAVE to try Drucillina's Death by Chocolate...!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted December 1, 2005
Cindy Salzmann's 'Dying to Decorate' will have you laughing out loud from the first few pages, then fully engrossed as the mystery enfolds. Join the Friday Afternoon Club, a group of housewives, mothers, and career women as they gather to help one of their own (Lucy) through a tough year. When Lucy inherits her Aunt's old home, the group decides to help her spruce it up, uncovering a family mystery that goes back several generations. Told through the eyes of Liz, FAC's resident reporter and lifestyle columnist, this novel is sprinkled with fun recipes that go with each chapter. A great read for anyone!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 19, 2005
What a treat! This is a peek into the lives of a group of women who get together every Friday afternoon for fellowship, fun, food and plenty of laughter. When one of the group inherits a run-down house, we get to step back in time when they find a hidden room complete with shackles and bloodstains. And best of all, there are yummy recipes throughout the book - I've tried out two of them already!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 16, 2005
Dying to Decorate is an unexpected mix of tempting recipes, friendship, and history. I laughed out loud, and--for better or worse--strongly related to some of the scenes. Buy this one for your cookbook shelf!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted August 1, 2005
Cyndy Salzmann has written a clever and memorable book--with recipes to boot. The recipes introduce each chapter and are cleverly woven into the story. I can't wait to try them! The story is intriguing, and I appreciated Cyndy's attention to historical detail. I can't wait to read the next in the series!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.