Red Hat Club Rides Again

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Georgia, SuSu, Teeny, Diane, and Linda are back in a new celebration of life and women’s friendships from the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Hat Club

The Red Hats are back, in rare form. When childhood friend Pru Bonner—black sheep of the group—falls off the wagon so hard it shakes the Red Hats’ world, “the girls” rally to get her into rehab with a hilarious kidnapping in Vegas, and act as her family for group therapy whether Pru wants it or not. Then Teeny ...

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Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. 2005 Good Ex-Library Unabridged; read by Cynthia Darlow.

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Georgia, SuSu, Teeny, Diane, and Linda are back in a new celebration of life and women’s friendships from the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Hat Club

The Red Hats are back, in rare form. When childhood friend Pru Bonner—black sheep of the group—falls off the wagon so hard it shakes the Red Hats’ world, “the girls” rally to get her into rehab with a hilarious kidnapping in Vegas, and act as her family for group therapy whether Pru wants it or not. Then Teeny celebrates Pru’s successful release with a one-month, carte blanche plastic surgery cruise for all six of them, after which Diane explores the unpredictable world of Internet dating. As always, laughter and heart are spiced with secrets, surprises, and pitfalls aplenty, including a pregnancy test for a fiftysomething, a fight for life for one of them, a gold-digging romeo, and a surprise wedding that proves it’s never too late for love.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for The Red Hat Club:

“A gossipy, engaging read, full of witty Southern characters readers will be unable to resist the urge to cheer on.”—Florida Times-Union

“Smith’s celebration of comradeship is a loving tribute to those lifelong relationships that may defy logic...a joyous, joyful ode.”—Booklist

Library Journal
For three decades, no matter what, the Red Hat Club has met for their monthly luncheon. They religiously adhere to the Twelve Traditions, but each of these fiftysomething Southern belles is delightfully unique. In this sequel to The Red Hat Club, Smith's intrepid ladies are a bit older, but even drug addiction, alcoholism, cancer, and a pregnancy scare hasn't destroyed Georgia, Teeny, SuSu, Linda, Diane, and Pru's spirit. Now they're ready for their next group project: a mock kidnapping in Las Vegas, where they check Pru into drug rehab. Engaging flashbacks help tell this charming story. Readers who enjoy friendship-themed books, such as Rebecca Wells's Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, will definitely go for this, too. A welcome addition to libraries of all sizes. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 12/04.]-Shelley Mosley, Glendale Community Coll. Lib. Media Ctr., AZ Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A spicy sequel offers an engaging ode to the lasting bonds of southern sisterhood and life-begins-at-50 optimism that will melt the most cynical of Yankee hearts. What is it about the water down south that makes women bond for life as solidly as Fixodent to gums? This follow-up to the Red Hat Club (2003), with its references to adult toy stores, booze, 12-step programs, and Dr. Atkins, proves that even if Smith's is a well-explored genre, her adventurous tale of six middle-aged Atlanta women remains a welcome ride. The Red Hats, dressed accordingly, are still meeting for their monthly ladies' luncheons, but, thanks to the disposable income of millionaire member Teeny, they're soon off on a series of wacky, husbandless sojourns-to Las Vegas, to Florida, even a monthlong Bahamian plastic-surgery cruise for extreme makeovers. Each exploit is threaded with earnest sentimentality as the women tout their 12 sacred traditions (though tradition 5, "Mind Your Own Business," is rarely observed). When the gang heads to Sin City to kidnap wayward and substance-abusing sister Pru and steal her away to a Rocky Mountain rehab, the trip culminates in a laugh-out-loud episode as morally fixated narrator Georgia, unprepared for the sound of sirens when she hits the jackpot, flees her winning slot machine. Nostalgic flashbacks to the women's sorority-sister youth illuminate each character's past and hopefully render the story more relevant to those unfamiliar with AARP guidelines and More magazine. Smith's lilting twang and kitchen-sink wisdom permeate every paragraph, making the suspension of disbelief surprisingly easy. Even a late-in-the-game Elton John cameo can be dismissed as well-intentionedoverzealousness before you turn the page to see what will happen next. Potty humor worthy of the Golden Girls, plus musings on friendship and the metaphysical as true religion-all rolled into one. Author tour
Toronto Sun

The Red Hat Club ladies are just Bridget, older, wiser, and with husbands who may or may not be faithful.
Tennessean on THE RED HAT CLUB

A humorous, cathartic coming-of-middle-age story of five feisty women who refuse to throw in the towel--or the hat.
Romantic Times on THE RED HAT CLUB to read.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593975999
  • Publisher: Macmillan Audio
  • Publication date: 3/15/2005
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 4.06 (w) x 6.26 (h) x 2.66 (d)

Meet the Author

Haywood Smith

HAYWOOD SMITH is the New York Times bestselling author of The Red Hat Club and Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch. She lives in Buford, Georgia.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Anne Haywood Pritchett
    2. Hometown:
      Buford, Georgia
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 21, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Atlanta, Georgia
    1. Education:
      One year of college and several professional real estate degrees and appraisal certifications
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Swan Coach House tearoom,Atlanta.April 8, 2003. 10:55 a.m.
As always, I got to the Swan Coach House Restaurant before the valet parking, so I saved myself a tip and pulled into a slot under a canopy of blooming dogwoods and towering, newly tasseled oaks across from the main entrance. Spring-a precious, unpredictable event in Atlanta-had come early this year, confusing the plants into a glorious, out-of-synch display that sent the pollen count soaring along with the spirits of the populace.

As I crossed to enter, I savored the warm air perfumed by narcissus and hyacinths. The clouds of oak and yellow pine pollen would come later, driving everyone inside and providing a bounty for car washes and sellers of antihistamines, but for now, the day was perfect.

Once inside the gift shop, I made my usual cursory circuit to see what was new since last month in the tempting array of gorgeous things. Fortunately for my budget, nothing sang to me, so I proceeded down the short flight of stairs to the restaurant foyer.

Funny, how you fall into ruts without ever realizing it till they're interrupted. I've always liked to get to our Red Hat luncheons first, before the tables fill and the floral padded walls rumble with a polite roar of female chatter and chairs scraping on the dark wood floors. Our regular waitress, Maria, always seats me at our usual banquette in the back corner and brings me fresh, no-cal hot lemonade right away, which I load with Sweet'N Low and sip slowly, taking advantage of the waiting quiet to shake off the mundane concerns of my life and focus on friendship.

But that morning when I entered the dining room from the bright yellow foyer, I saw that SuSu had already beaten me there for the third time in as many months-a total turnaround from her pathological lateness of the past two decades. I shook off a tiny stab of disappointment that I wouldn't have my settling-in time.

She waved, looking like a just-ripe Lauren Bacall in a red cashmere beret and bulky black turtleneck sweater over slim black slacks. She'd finally gotten with the program about wearing a red hat a year ago, but the purple clothing thing was still a no-go.

Talk about a makeover. Gone were the brassy red hair and too-young clothes from SuSu's bitter, wayward years following her divorce. With the help of Teeny's generosity, she'd aced her LSAT, gotten into Emory Law School, and adopted a whole new, professional look. Classic to the core in her smooth, shining, dark-honey, chin-length hair and elegant wardrobe (most of which came from Teeny's Perfect line of real-woman clothes) SuSu already looked like the domestic relations lawyer she would be when she graduated in another two years. Every time I saw her this way, it made my heart swell with pride for her.

As always, an aura of smoke-tainted perfume surrounded her.

She'd reformed, but not completely.

"How's school?" I asked.

We'd been busy praying all year for good grades, though SuSu had always been brilliantly book smart. It was just men she didn't have a lick of sense about.

"Brutal," she grumped. "And, Georgia, you'll never guess what my study group did to me."

I knew it was major; she rarely called me by name.

After all our years as friends, I fell instantly into the tried-and-true rhythm of our conversations. "No. What did your study group do to you?"

"They invited in a new guy without even asking me, then stuck me with him as a study partner for tort review," she fumed. "Probably stuck me with him because he's even older than I am. I guess the legal eaglets think it's pretty funny, but I sure don't."

The old SuSu would have cussed a blue streak next, but the new SuSu bottled that all up and minced out a tame, "I am so annoyed."

Maria arrived with warm mini muffins and took advantage of the break in conversation to ask me, "Excuse me, but would madam like the usual, or perhaps some fresh-brewed coffee this morning?"

Mmmmm. Coffee sounded good for a change. Iced tea season was still a few weeks away. "Coffee, please."

I returned to our conversation, surprised that SuSu would mind studying with a man "full-growed." Last fall she'd solemnly sworn off stud puppies, a resolution she'd already broken several times, but Tradition Eight (No beating ourselves up-or each other-when we blow it) had kept us from mentioning her "slips."

"Is he a problem?" I asked her.

"I'll say." SuSu adjusted her beret with her perfect American manicure. Gone were the red talons of the past. "He's the stupid, embarrassing Mattress Man!"

I tucked my chin. "The guy on those cable ads?" The one who stood there dressed in a blue baby bonnet and matching footed pajamas, singing mangled lullabies with his ukulele to promote his chain of mattress stores?

"Yes," SuSu bit out. "And he's as big an idiot as he looks."

Having been the gullible brunt of many a prank over the years, I eyed her with suspicion. Last time I looked, they didn't let idiots into Emory Law School. "You're kidding. This is some April Fools' joke, isn't it?"

SuSu glowered. "Do I look like I'm kidding?"

Mouth pursed, I shook my head.

"The joke's on me, kiddo, and the only April Fool is him. The guy's totally annoying. Always joking around when we should be studying." Her nostrils flared. "Not everybody has a photographic memory like he does."

I injected logic, futile though it was. "Ah. A photographic memory. Maybe that's why your study partners thought he could benefit the group."

SuSu would not be appeased. "Maybe so, but they at least should have asked me first."

I had to bite my lips to keep from laughing at the idea of SuSu, trapped, studying with a man who was famous for wearing a blue baby bonnet and footed pajamas on late-night TV ads. "I always thought he was kind of cute, in an older sort of way. Nice dimples."

"Well, he's bald as a mango under that baby bonnet," she grumbled.

"How can he go to law school and run those stores?" I wondered aloud.

"He doesn't. He sold them."

"But I just saw him on a new ad a few days ago."

Her mouth flattened. "That was part of the deal. They paid him a fortune to keep making the ads. At his age, you'd think he'd be embarrassed."

This, from the woman who'd come back from the bathroom at a charity fund-raiser at the Piedmont Driving Club dragging a toilet-paper comet, with her dress caught up in her sheer pantyhose, exposing half her fanny to high society. But SuSu's memory worked in adverse proportion to her alcohol consumption, so she probably didn't even remember it.

I looked up to see Linda stomping toward us, her usually sunny round face grim as thunder and her broad-brimmed red hat askew on her soft gray curls.

SuSu abandoned the subject of the Mattress Man. "Whoo," she murmured as Linda approached. "Looks like she's got a bee up her butt."

Very out of character for our level-headed Linda.

Linda dropped her open-topped Kate Spade bag by her chair as she plunked down into her regular seat beside me, then started fanning herself vigorously with her napkin, her plump neck red and mottled.

SuSu and I exchanged knowing looks, recognizing the symptoms immediately.

"At last," I crowed. "She's having a hot flash. Coming to join the rest of us on the shady side of the hill."

Linda glared at me like a bull eyeing a toreador. "It is not a hot flash," she snapped out. "And just because y'all have all gone through the change before me doesn't mean I have to."

"Oooooh," SuSu gloated. "Moody, moody, moody. Been there, done that. It's the hormones talking, baby. Estrogen in the major minuses." She patted Linda's arm. "Time to crank up the old HRT, and you'll be right as rain."

Linda recoiled from her touch, irate. "Contrary to your personal experience, SuSu," she snapped, "some people don't try to solve everything with a pill. Or a drink."

Whoa! Serious personal foul! We never discussed SuSu's drinking. Granted, it had grown progressively worse since her second husband had left her in the lurch, but SuSu was still fully functional. We accepted the drinking as her problem, and hers alone, to deal with. "Fixing" each other (unless it was a life-or-death situation) was strictly taboo.

Why Linda had said that was beyond me. I doubted even menopause would have sent her for the jugular that way. There had to be something else.

A look of deep concern overrode whatever offense SuSu might have felt. She leaned closer. "Linda, honey, what's the matter?"

Linda looked like she was about to burst into tears.

Copyright 2005 by Haywood Smith

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Reading Group Guide

1. The fifth Sacred Red Hat Club Tradition prohibits butting in and trying to fix each other. How do you feel about the Red Hatters' going after Pru? Were their actions justified?
2. What do you think about Georgia's reaction at the slot machine after playing that fateful coin? Put yourself in her place and discuss what you might have done.
3. (I don't drink, but this question is best answered with wine or margaritas.) How did you feel about Georgia's forays into adult toy stores and her reasons for going?
4. Is there anyone in your life who could benefit from an intervention? If so, keep the names to yourselves, but discuss how, based on the Twelve Sacred Traditions, you might stage your own intervention. ("Lighten up" is a great AA expression, so you can be as wild and funny as you like.)
5. Each of the absolutely fictional Red Hat Club members represents an archetypal composite of women facing midlife challenges. Which character do you relate to most, and why? The least, and why? Without naming names, do you know anyone like each of the characters? (If so, Haywood would love to hear from you at with specifics.)
6. How do you feel about Linda's reaction to her "pregnancy" and subsequent revelation? How would you react?
7. (Another wine / margarita question) Personally, I think every woman should be putting away money for a lift or liposuction in her sugar jar. I certainly am. Would you ever consider plastic surgery?
a. If so, what procedures would you like to have?
b. If not, what if someone offered it to you for free?
c. If you've already had it and kept it a secret, would you be willing to "come out of the closet" with your friends? And do you honestly believe they don't already know? (Have another glass of wine before you answer.)
8. In the end, what chances do you see for happiness for each of the characters, and why?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 12 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2015

    Fun Read

    This was a perfect vacation type of story. The characters were all interesting & mostly humorous.

    I loved the part about Las Vegas "kidnapping."

    These ladies loved and looked out for one another, very endearing!

    It was a page turner, to be sure!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 21, 2010

    all of Haywood Smith's books are great.

    Haywood Smith writes books that have such hysterically funny portions that I laugh out loud and my husband wants to know what is funny, so I read him portions of the books and he always laughs, too. All of these books are eagerly awaited.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 21, 2009


    When I click on author's website, it appears that this author's website is no more (same goes for keying in author's website directly). Does anyone have any additional info on what's going on?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2007

    Things that make you go 'hmmmm'...

    Is it me, or does the author tries just a bit too hard to make this book as funny and hard-to-put-down as the first one?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2006

    Disappointed In This Sequel

    After reading The Red Hat Club I was anxious to continue reading about what has transpired with the characters Georgia, SuSu, Teeny, Diane, and Linda. I was very disappointed in this sequel. I think Haywood Smith went too far out on a limb with Teeny having all that money and treating the 'girls' to extravagances. The Vegas kidnapping was funny but the one-month, carte blanche plastic surgery cruise that she arranged for them all was unbelievable and really ruined it for me. The internet dating part was good, the pregnancy test hillarious but it's just that gosh darned extravagance with Teeny is hard to take. Not a world that we the readers can relate to. The party at the end also was unbelievable and far fetched. I was very let down after having finished this book. Is there a sequel? If so, I hope it will be more down to earth than this one. I'm still a fan of Haywood Smith and the Red Hat Girls, I hope I can get caught up in the lives of these women again.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2005


    Most are familiar with the historic warning cry, 'The Redcoats are coming! 'The Redcoats are coming!' Today, according to author Haywood Smith (born Anne Haywood Pritchett), the rallying cry should be 'The Red Hats are coming! The Red Hats are coming!' What is it about Southern women (Steel Magnolias, Being Dead Is No Excuse, etc) that makes them such fascinating protagonists? Don't know what their secret is - just that it works. 'The Red Hat Club Rides Again' is a tribute to all women in midlife who have suffered a few setbacks and bounced back. (It's a bit like the bravado song 'I'm Still Here.) Of course, not all in that age group are fortunate enough to have a multi millionairess gal pal who can grease any number of wheels and make life a lark. So, reality isn't an issue here. If you enjoy an imaginative romp, give a listen to this group as they set sail for a plastic surgery cruise and jet off to Las Vegas to rescue a friend. Cynthia Darlow deserves a sequin embroidered red hat for her entertaining voice performance - never too much drawl, always pinpoint articulation and timing. - Gail Cooke

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2005

    Good read.

    I picked this up as a followup to the first book. While I did enjoy it, it does not stand out among the better books I have read. Probably better for an older crowd.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    fine contemporary tale

    Though the membership are all in their fifties, the Red Hats still meet every month for lunch though their choice of locale has changed somewhat since Teeny has twenty million earned during the Clinton stock market boom to waste. Instead of always a high class Atlanta area location, the group also meets elsewhere incuding the Bahamas though that was part of a month long plastic-surgery extreme makeovers cruise.--- When member Pru breaks the substance abuse tenet of the twelve commandments, her southern sisters (Georgia, SuSu, Diane, Linda, and of course Teeny ¿ someone has to pay for this extravaganza) ignoring tradition 5 of minding your own business, converge on Las Vegas. Sin City is not prepared for the invasion of the Red Hats who plan to intervene and kidnap Pru so that they can take her to clean herself up in the Rockies at an exclusive rehab center, but first they must play the slots.--- The Red Hat Club once again proves that life begins at fifty as these Southern steel magnolias refuse to allow time or family relationships to interfere with their long time friendships. The current tale is intriguingly deep yet irreverent as the members satirically assault anything in their way, just ask Elton John, who will surely wear a red hat in his next public appearance. Haywood Smith provides a warm delightful tale of strong friendships that mean helping one another live life to the fullest.--- Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted June 30, 2011

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    Posted July 22, 2011

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    Posted April 23, 2009

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