Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes

Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes

4.1 25
by Cathy Holton

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kud • zu \kud-zü\ n: a ubiquitous vine/weed found in Southern climes that, left uncontrolled, will grow over any fixed object in its path, including trees, power lines, and the entire state of Georgia.

deb-u•tante \de-byu-tänt\ n: a young woman making a debut into society, easily spotted in white dress and pearl necklace. Common


kud • zu \kud-zü\ n: a ubiquitous vine/weed found in Southern climes that, left uncontrolled, will grow over any fixed object in its path, including trees, power lines, and the entire state of Georgia.

deb-u•tante \de-byu-tänt\ n: a young woman making a debut into society, easily spotted in white dress and pearl necklace. Common names include Muffy, Bootsy, and Bunny.

Eadie Boone is no shrinking violet. An artist and former beauty queen who married into one of the first families of Ithaca, Georgia, she tackles everything with gusto and flair. But tailing her wayward husband proves to be, well, an exasperating chore. If only Trevor would just see the light, dump his twenty-two-year-old hussy, and return home, Eadie’s creative energy could be put to better use. Now all she has to do is convince him.

Nita Broadwell, a good Southern girl from a good Southern family, is jolted out of complacency when she discovers condoms in her husband’s shirt pocket (“Maybe he’d found them on the ground and picked them up”). Between clinging to denial and dodging her overbearing mother-in-law, Nita is also trying to break her addiction to steamy bodice-ripper novels. Only now it appears she’s authoring her own real-life romance tale with a hunky handyman thirteen years her junior.

Lavonne Zibolsky–a transplanted Yankee, bless her heart–is saddled with planning the annual Broadwell & Boone law firm party. That and her lackluster marriage have her seeking solace in the contents of her refrigerator. If she could just put down the Rocky Road ice cream and peach pie, she might get around to finding a caterer, dropping sixty pounds, and figuring out how to fall in love with her husband again. Not necessarily in that order.

Bonded by years of friendship, these three women discover what else they have in common: lying, cheating spouses. So they heed their collective betrayals as a wake-up call and band together to exact sweet revenge. The take-charge trio will see to it that the punishment is just, exquisitely humiliating, and downright hilarious.

Cathy Holton’s debut novel is a delicious yarn of friendship and marriage, secrets and retribution, and how nothing stays hidden for long. Against a Southern backdrop of gentility and decorum, Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes dares to abandon Junior League social graces in ways that would make even Scarlett O’Hara blush.

"It’s great fun reading about these women as they trade their tea for tequila and get smart, get out, and get even, with amusing, and surprising results." —Nancy Thayer, author of The Hot Flash Club

"Sly, smart, and full of great characters — and then there’s that sweet, sweet revenge. Getting even has never been so creative. Or delicious." —Louise Shaffer, author of The Ladies of Garrison Gardens

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Irresistibly entertaining, hilarious, a cunning, rollicking addition to the popular Southern ‘steel magnolias’ genre . . . Not since the Ya-Ya Sisterhood has there been a group of good ol’ gals to rival Holton’s trio of scorned Southern women.” –Booklist

Publishers Weekly
Three 40-something women married to partners at an Ithaca, Ga., law firm form a First Wives Club south of the Mason-Dixon line in Holton's slapstick revenge tale with serious undertones. Affluent housewives Nita Broadwell, Eadie Boone and Lavonne Zibolsky try to fill the emptiness of their lives: quiet Nita devours soft-porn romance novels and lusts after her carpenter to assuage the hurt caused by her controlling husband, Charles; artistic Eadie stalks her husband, Trevor, who's about to leave her for his 20-something secretary; and formerly career-minded Lavonne, a brassy Northern Jewish transplant, gobbles ice cream and bagels to compensate for her passionless marriage to Leonard. At a disastrous, margarita-fueled holiday party for the firm, they discover the truth about their husbands' annual hunting trip and realize they're united by more than friendship and disgruntlement: all of their husbands have been chasing hookers, not wild game, on this getaway. With Eadie as the ringleader, they plot to sabotage the good ole' boys' trip. Adventure and comeuppance ensue, culminating with the gals' rebellious attendance at the subversive Kudzu Ball, where time-honored Southern traditions are parodied. Though this debut strives to entertain while skewering idiosyncratic social mores in the New South, it lacks real drama. (May 16) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Three Southern Belles wreak havoc in the lives of their cheating husbands in this light, likable debut. Good manners and good breeding are one and all in small town Ithaca, Ga., making it hard for a lady to get a little breathing room. That's what wild child Eadie Boone has been fighting for all her life. Eadie, who spent her childhood in a trailer park and now shares an antebellum mansion with husband Trevor Boone, is blindsided when he announces plans to marry his secretary. Trevor's sanctimonious law partner Charles Broadwell, meanwhile, has no intention of leaving his little wife-he's spent too long browbeating meek Nita (who is secretly addicted to the raunchiest of romance novels) to train someone new. And finally there is Lavonne; oblivious that husband Leonard (third partner in the prestigious Boone and Broadwell law firm) is hiding his assets to better swindle her when he gets around to filing for divorce. One night after the firm's annual garden party, the three friends discover that their husbands' yearly hunting trip to Montana has included the comfort of call girls. They decide on revenge, and so unfurls a complicated plan requiring female impersonators, the sale of house and goods and Ithaca's best wives-only divorce attorney. For Eadie, this is a bittersweet scheme, because though Trevor has cheated on her (and she on him), the two are as perfect together as any couple could be. And while Lavonne could care less about leaving shlumpy old Leonard, it is proper Nita who surprises all by falling in love with Jimmy Lee Motes, a sexy young carpenter. Though the novel has its fair share of conventional devices (of our heroines, one is wild, one sensible, one shy) and upliftingfemale bonding, it also has some genuinely hilarious moments (particularly during the lawyers ill-fated hunting trip) and characters that would make good friends. Enjoyable (and a little predictable) summer fare.

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Kudzu Debutantes Series , #1
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.16(w) x 7.94(h) x 0.66(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

One week before the dinner party where she found out the truth about her cheating husband, Eadie Boone sat in her car outside the offices of Boone & Broadwell waiting for Trevor and his new girlfriend to appear. She was parked in a no-parking zone across the street from the old columned mansion that housed her husband’s law firm. It was five o’clock in the afternoon and Ithaca’s thin stream of rush-hour traffic moved sluggishly along the street.

Sunlight fell from a wide blue Georgia sky and slanted through the arching branches of the live oaks. The air was cool and sweet with the scent of wet grass. Fall was Eadie’s favorite time of year. It reminded her of football games, and new school bags, and the hope and promise of good things to come. Other people think of spring as the season of renewal, but there was something about autumn’s dark wet corruption that appealed to Eadie’s nature. In the damp sunshine of an autumn afternoon Eadie felt there was nothing she could not do. Even become one of the greatest artists of the twenty-first century. Even make her husband love her again.

Not that Trevor had ever stopped loving her. Eadie knew, deeply and intuitively, that he had not. Eadie believed a good marriage was a fight to the death, a long slow clamp on the jugular by two equally determined adversaries, and given this definition, she and Trevor had one of the best marriages around. Trevor liked a good fight as much as she did. But somewhere along the way, he had forgotten all this. Waiting in her car, protruding like a jetty into the slow-moving stream of rush-hour traffic, Eadie felt it was her duty to remind him.

Still, the sight of the girl with her husband stunned her. They appeared minutes later, walking arm in arm, heads close while they shared some secret moment. Looking at the two of them, Eadie realized how much reminding Trevor needed. The girl could not be a day over twenty-two. She had the pliant, eager look of someone with low self-esteem. Eadie bet she didn’t even argue with Trevor. She probably listened intently and did as she was told and wasn’t even selfish in bed. Poor Trevor must be bored senseless.

She watched them disappear around the back of the building, and a few minutes later Trevor’s old Mercedes rattled past, shooting out a plume of dark smoke that disappeared lazily among the arching branches of the trees. Eadie started her car and followed them. Five minutes later Trevor parked in front of the Pink House Restaurant, and Eadie pulled to the side of the street and watched them cross between traffic, holding hands and laughing like a couple of teenagers. A woman with less self-confidence than Eadie Boone would have been crushed, seeing how much they seemed to enjoy each other’s company. But Eadie was feeling nothing more than a growing sense of impatience with Trevor’s stubborn stupidity.

She waited for thirty minutes, until she was sure they were seated and beginning to enjoy their meal, and then she picked up her cell phone and called the Pink House and asked to have Eadie Boone paged. It was one of her favorite tricks. She’d follow Trevor and then have herself paged, knowing he would spend the rest of the evening looking over his shoulder to see if she was there. She also liked to call his apartment when she imagined him in the middle of sex, and leave loud messages on his machine—Bad news, Trevor. The sheriff called. That client who vowed to kill you has jumped bail, or The lab called with the results of the herpes test. You might want to call me.

Her phone beeped. Eadie checked the caller ID but stayed on the line with the Pink House hostess. The call was from Lavonne Zibolsky, who was ringing, no doubt, to beg Eadie to help her plan the Boone & Broadwell party that had been dumped on Lavonne just a week before. The annual dinner party that was only a week away, and that Eadie wasn’t even invited to, now that Trevor had left her for his secretary. She could hear the hostess’s footsteps and a minute later her tired voice. “Sorry, there’s no Eadie Boone here.”

“Thanks,” Eadie said and hung up. She had her work cut out for her, but she wasn’t discouraged. She hadn’t dragged herself up out of a life of poverty and adverse destiny by thinking like a defeatist. She hadn’t overcome a tragic childhood and become an artist by thinking it couldn’t be done. To admit she might have made a mistake about Trevor Boone would have been like admitting the whole code by which she had lived her life up to now was wrong, and this was something Eadie Boone just wasn’t willing to do.

She waited ten minutes and then called the restaurant again. She imagined the two of them crouched guiltily over their entrées, afraid to look around. Not laughing now, she thought, closing up her phone. She considered going inside and causing a scene, but decided against it. She was tired. She decided to go home and take a hot bath instead.

Following a wayward husband was hard work. Trying to convince that same husband that what he needed was not a change of wives but a change of careers was even more exhausting. Trevor would never be happy until he quit practicing law and moved home to write the Great American Novel he had always promised himself he would write.

Eadie knew this even if Trevor didn’t.

Nita Broadwell sat in the car-pool line reading Captive Bride of the Choctaw. The love scenes were graphic, and made her feel restless and slightly queasy. She had started out reading Harlequin Romances but had quickly progressed to the harder stuff, and now she read about masters and slave girls, Indian braves and captive white women. No matter how hard she tried, she just couldn’t stop. She had seen women like herself on afternoon talk shows, sad women who were addicted to alcohol, or food, or the Home Shopping Network. She wasn’t sure what a woman addicted to soft porn romance novels would be called, but she was pretty sure there was a name for it. She was pretty sure Oprah or Dr. Phil would know what it was called.

Nita slid the novel down behind her steering wheel so Susan Deakins couldn’t look in her rearview mirror and see what she was reading. Nita was certain there must be other women in town hopped up on soft-porn romance novels; she just didn’t know who they were. Being addicted to soft-porn romance novels in Ithaca, Georgia, was like filling a prescription for head lice or genital herpes. It just wasn’t the kind of thing you went around bragging about, not if you were a good Southern girl, anyway, from a good Southern family.

Nita read for a while and then closed her eyes and leaned back against the headrest of her seat. Her heart pounded like a piston. There was a sound in her ears like water running in a sink. Lone Wolf, a full-blooded Choctaw Indian chief, had his captive white slave, a red-haired beauty named Lydia, staked out in the middle of his teepee. Nita imagined herself as Lydia. She imagined Lone Wolf’s hard, muscled chest. He reminded her of Jimmy Lee Motes, the twenty-six-year-old carpenter she had hired to fix her pool house. Jimmy Lee had dark hair and dark eyes. He looked like he could be part Choctaw.

Behind her a horn honked and Nita opened her eyes and sat up suddenly and slid the novel into her purse. She put the car into drive and followed the slow-moving traffic as it inched toward the school portico, trying to clear the gyrating images of Lone Wolf and Lydia that drifted through her mind like an X-rated hologram.

She had started reading soft-porn romance novels with the idea of trying to put the zip back into her sixteen-year marriage to Charles Broadwell, but so far the only person Nita had been able to fantasize about was Jimmy Lee Motes.

Sunlight glinted off the Gothic towers and red-bricked façade of the tall buildings circling the courtyard. A throng of bored children stood around the school fountain, an exact replica of the Little Mermaid of Copenhagen, lethargically tossing quarters into the foaming water and waiting for their mothers to come. Nita searched the crowd anxiously for her children but could not see them. Far off in the distance, past the polo field and the lacrosse practice field, the sharp-edged shape of a scull glided on the river, oars moving rhythmically.

Nita’s children, Logan and Whitney, attended Barron Hall, the old and prestigious prep school for which Ithaca was famous and which Nita’s husband and his father before him had attended. Nita, born Juanita Sue James, had grown up in Ithaca, too, but she had attended public school. Charles Broadwell was four years older than she, and she’d known who he was, of course, but he had existed in a world so alien to her own that she’d never paid much attention to him. The Broadwells lived in a big columned house out by the river that Judge Broadwell had built and filled with the mounted heads of numerous murdered animals. They belonged to a small select group who lived in big houses, sent their children to Barron Hall and weekend dances at the country club, then off to small liberal arts colleges in Atlanta and Richmond and Birmingham. If growing up with money and attending one of the finest prep schools in the Southeast had been enough to guarantee happiness and emotional stability, then Nita’s husband and children should have been happy and well-adjusted people. Unfortunately, life was not that simple.

She could see her children waiting beneath the school portico. Logan stood with his jacket slung over one shoulder, his fourteen-year-old face fixed in its usual expression of disappointment and adolescent rage. Whitney stood with Miss Carlton, the car-pool monitor, idly plucking at the torn hem of her uniform skirt that hung down around her plump legs like a flag at half-mast. She saw her mother and launched herself off the sidewalk, stumbling toward the car with an odd rolling gait, laboring beneath her overfilled backpack and holding her arms out stiffly in front of her as a counterweight. Logan saw Nita, and scowl- ing, slouched toward the car. Watching her children drag themselves toward her, Nita smiled and gave a hopeful little wave. As a child, she’d dreamed of a happy family, the way some girls dream of wedding days and Miss America crowns and award-winning performances on the silver screen.

“Shotgun,” Whitney shouted breathlessly, reaching the car.

“Get in, retard,” Logan said to his little sister.

They followed a long line of expensive imported cars and SUVs through the expansive school grounds to the highway. Nita glanced at Whitney and adjusted the rearview mirror so she could see Logan. Still smiling, she said tentatively, “Did you have a good day?” Other than trying to put the zip back into her marriage, the one thing Nita wished she could do above all else was to make her children happy.

Logan slumped against the door and stared bleakly at his reflection in the window glass. A pimple had risen in the thick brush of his left eyebrow, he had not made the cut for the fencing team, and he was too cynical to believe that life would ever get any better than this. His mother’s false enthusiasm brought out the worst in him. “I flunked my algebra test,” he said despondently. “And Mr. Johnson gave a pop quiz in history and I probably flunked that, too.”

Whitney, at eleven, was only slightly more encouraging. “Madison DeVane’s having a slumber party,” she said, “and I’m not invited.”

They drove for a while in silence. Nita was pretty sure that whatever was wrong with her children had something to do with her. In between her soft-porn romance novels she had read numerous books on childrearing written by psychologists and psychiatrists and counselors and experts who didn’t even have children but who had managed to pick up a lot of information by studying them in labs. Nita must have read over fifty books on how to raise happy, well-adjusted children, and so far the only thing she’d managed to learn from these books was that she had done everything wrong.

Someone had asked her once if she was raised Catholic, and she’d gotten kind of confused and flustered and said, “No, Baptist,” and the woman said, “Because you wear your guilt like a hair shirt.” Nita didn’t know what in the world she was talking about. She didn’t even know what a hair shirt was. All she knew was that when her children felt sad or lonely or got left out of slumber parties, she felt bad.

“How about some ice cream?” she said brightly. “We can stop for ice cream if you like.”

“Can I go to a different school?” Logan said. “I hate this place.”

“Rocky road, bubble gum, mint chocolate chip—it’s my treat,” Nita said, holding tightly to the steering wheel.

“I’d give anything to go to a public school,” Logan said.

“Butter pecan, almond delight, blue moon . . .” Nita felt like a drowning woman clinging to debris in the middle of a stormy sea. “How about you, honey?” she said, looking desperately at Whit- ney. “Would you like some ice cream?”

Meet the Author

Cathy Holton was born in Lakeland, Florida, and grew up in college towns in the American South and Midwest. She attended Oklahoma State University and Michigan State University and worked for a number of years in Atlanta before settling in the mountains of Tennessee with her husband and their three children.

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Revenge of the Kudzu Debutantes 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and not knowing who the author, Cathy Holton was. I read this one of and bought all of the books that Ms. Holton has wrote. Her books make you laugh and see the characters in your mind she now is my favorite author. This is a book about friendship, getting even with those who go beyond your boundaries. The women in this series are true to their compass and will make you cheer for them during their failures and successes.
Guest More than 1 year ago
'Love is blind, but marriage is a real eye-opener.' -- So says Ms. Lavonne Zibolsky, as she is fixin' to be crowned Kudzu Queen -- right after she enacted sweet revenge on her two-timing husband. I had so much fun reading this book. Seldom does a read make me laugh out loud, but this one did, and often. Three fantasic women find strength they never knew they had, with such hilarious results. You will love the Kudzu Ball, complete with a recliner race, a Betty Cracker Cook-Off, a variety of games including the Hubcap Throw, and of course, the crowning of the Kudzu Queen. This is a fantastic read, and I can't wait to read the next book from this very talented author. If you missed taking this one to the beach this year, read it anyway, it will bring back fond beach read memories!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Revenge of the wives is in poor taste all around the hunting trip and the grizzly bear is made for a national lapoon vacation
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I truly enjoyed this book. It was a wonderful, light read for a quiet day off work and away from the husband, kids and other real world responsibilies. At times I laughed so loudly while reading this book thatmy poor, startled cat ran to check on me! I am so glad I stumbled on this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this story a little boring it dragged in places but the revenge was sweet.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had high hopes for this book, but it fell a little flat. It kept my interest enough for me to finish it, so that's good. I wouldn't suggest it to anyone, though. Very light, easy read before bed.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was looking for something well-written yet lighthearted, and this book didn't disappoint. I immediately purchased and read the sequel, which was equally entertaining. Cathy Holton is a wonderful writer who truly understands "southern" women.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I personally love all of Cathy Holton books. I love that these women were so clever and good friends. It was just a funny entertaining book to read. I honestly read her book Beach Trip first, saw that she lived in Chattannoga and was anxious to read a local womans book and loved it so much that I looked up the Kudzu books after. All of them are great can't wait until she writes another. I am hooked.I have passed mine on to all my friends and they are hooked as well.Such fun books with neat suprises.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TulaneGirl More than 1 year ago
This book passes time but lacks the depth to be anything more than an easy read. Although trying to emulate other books about southern women (think "Fried Green Tomatoes") this book falls short. The women plotting their revenge against the men in their lives can be overbearing. And more than once I wondered whether they would ever be anything more than miserable women. Having said that, it's fine summer reading. And is probably best suited to reading right after a horrific break-up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great. I really enjoyed it and could see it being made into a movie. The characters are enjoyable and the writing makes you laugh. You can actually visualize these characters in action. A truly fun read for women. Can't wait for her next book.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Ithaca, Georgia, the three housewives Nita Broadwell, Eadie Boone and Lavonne Zibolsky are married to three partners at the same law firm. However each of the women feel life is passing them by. They fill the void they feel in different ways. Nita loves erotic romance novels while lusting over carpenter Jimmy Lee Motes at the same time she detests her husband, Charles who hurt her. A shocked Eadie refuses to let her spouse Trevor leave her for his twentyish secretary whom he blithely announces he will marry soon. Finally Lavonne eats ice cream by the ton out of the carton to assuage her lack of appetite for her indifferent husband Leonard.---------------- During the annual holiday office party the three wives learn that their husbands¿ annual getaway hunting trip is more about tracking expensive hookers. Angry the female trio vow vengeance on their womanizing mates when they go off into the wild chasing game this time they will hook female impersonators as the trio sets in motion a complex strategy that the Pentagon would envy..----------------------- Though the story line seems straightforward with no surprises, chick lit readers will enjoy this peachy version of the First Wives Club as the dangerous femme fatales plot vengeance with military precision. There five-step revenge methodology proves quite reliable starting with their satirical escapades at the Kudzu Ball and continuing the parody until the infamous hunting trip. REVENGE OF THE KUDZU DEBUTANTES is a fun tale starring female buddies enacting revenge southern style.----------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I laughed till I cried. Well written with characters that are familiar! The ride back to the ranch well worth the read. Would love to see this on film!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Defitely recco tjlight hearyed read....funny.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stayed up to read it and will pay for it tomorrow. Worth evert minute. No discriptive sex scenes was a bonus.