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Sweet Olive

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Overview

Camille Gardner is trapped in the middle when a unique Southern town collides with the “outside world” and big oil.

A talented negotiator, Camille Gardner agrees to take on one last field assignment for her uncle before she settles down to pursue her real passion—working at an art gallery. But she’d rather be anywhere than Samford, Louisiana, the small southern town where she once spent the worst weeks of her life.

To fulfill the obligation she...

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Sweet Olive

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Overview

Camille Gardner is trapped in the middle when a unique Southern town collides with the “outside world” and big oil.

A talented negotiator, Camille Gardner agrees to take on one last field assignment for her uncle before she settles down to pursue her real passion—working at an art gallery. But she’d rather be anywhere than Samford, Louisiana, the small southern town where she once spent the worst weeks of her life.

To fulfill the obligation she feels to her uncle, Camille needs to entice a group of rural landowners to sell their mineral rights—and allow use of their precious water for the drilling of natural gas. Instead, she finds herself drawn to the local folk art created by those same landowners and attracted to Marsh Cameron, the attorney representing the landowners.

The charming residents and the traditions of this small community leave Camille conflicted about her family obligations—and her own plans for the future. Perhaps she needs to give Samford a second chance.

"Christie populates her story with a varied cast of Southern small-town characters. Her tendency for unresolved suspense is occasionally unsettling, but, overall, her stories have enough warmth and humor to keep her readers coming back for more." — CBA Retailers + Resources

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Laden with Southern charm and Louisiana flavor, the first of Christie’s new Trumpet and Vine series introduces a town full of riches seen and unseen. Camille Gardner reluctantly arrives in Samford to close a drilling contract for her uncle’s oil and gas company. She wants to honor and conclude her family business obligation and return to her first love, curating art. But local folk artists and Marsh Cameron, their intriguing and too-likable lawyer, have banded together to save their community from intrusive drilling. Camille finds herself torn between fulfilling her debt to her uncle and respecting the town’s down-home values of family, faith, and art. As she navigates tricky politicking and traitorous emotions, she reconciles painful memories and rediscovers her own spiritual identity. The story’s fluid, Mitford-style pace perfectly matches the easygoing ambience of smalltown Louisiana. Fans of the author’s Green series will feel they’ve met new friends just down the road who share the same humidity, fragrance, and foliage that Christie so effortlessly recreates. Agent: Janet Kobobel Grant, Books & Such Literary Agency. (Sept. 24)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310330547
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 9/24/2013
  • Series: Trumpet & VineSeries Series
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 958,892
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.60 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Judy Christie writes fiction with a Louisiana flavor. She is the author of the Green series of novels including Gone to Green. A fan of primitive antiques and porch swings, she blogs from her green kitchen couch at www.judychristie.com. She and her husband live in northern Louisiana.

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Read an Excerpt

Sweet Olive

Trumpet & Vine


By Judy Christie

ZONDERVAN

Copyright © 2013 Judy Christie
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-310-33054-7


CHAPTER 1

Camille Gardner debated whether to use valet parking as she approached the winding driveway, aching to be somewhere else.

Anywhere other than Samford, Louisiana.

Her head had not stopped pounding since her uncle had yanked her out of the Houston office late yesterday. With a threat and a jab at her honor, he had thrown her to the one town she had vowed never to visit again.

She glanced down at her heels, already pinching her feet, and felt her back grow damp against the scratchy truck seat. The damp September air, mixed with teenaged memories, made her claustrophobic.

Unsure about how she would be received at the fancy oil-and-gas gathering, she hesitated. If she self-parked, she'd sweat through her silk shift by the time she arrived at the door. If she surrendered her keys, she'd have to stand around and chitchat with people she didn't know when she got ready to leave.

A Mercedes sedan with an LSU sticker and a Lexus SUV with a tiny Ole Miss flag pulled around her and interrupted her pondering. A BMW convertible with a license plate that read TOY4VAL followed, the driver tapping her horn.

"Sorry." Camille offered a wave. The striking driver acknowledged her with a slight frown and a toss of long, blond hair.

The pickup looked like a mule compared to the purebred sports car, and Camille exhaled. Her contact lenses burned her eyes, and her short hair stuck to her neck.

She confirmed that the puny air conditioner was set on maximum cool and watched young men in black pants and white shirts park cars and run back up the hill, like participants in some sort of sporting competition.

For a moment, she wished she could trade places with them—but running wouldn't bring peace. She had tried that, dashing from this assignment to those all over Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas, anywhere J&S wanted to send her.

And still she had wound up back here.

She might as well get this over with.

Letting her foot off the clutch, she shook her head and coasted past the regal house, envying prime parking spots occupied by luxury cars and shiny SUVs.

As guests strolled by, she inspected their clothes, relieved to see her short dress and high-heeled slingbacks would blend right in. The engraved invitation had read Louisiana casual, conjuring up an image of shorts and camouflage T-shirts, but this was most assuredly not that kind of crowd.

Her corporate wardrobe, purchased for the job she hoped she hadn't lost for good, should handle Samford perfectly. Jewelry was the only real difference between her attire and that of the women who walked past. Make that Jewelry with a capital J.

Camille preferred to spend her extra money on art and relied on a single strand of pearls for these events, a gift from her uncle when she had closed her first big deal. But even Uncle Scott's blustery generosity could not temper her irritation at his bullying these past few days.

After two blocks with no hint of a parking spot, Camille eyed the clock on her cell phone and conceded her mistake. Tossing her keys to a valet, even in the ancient pickup, would have been more professional than a tardy hike up to that imposing entrance.

With gritted teeth, she whipped onto a side street.

A dead-end street.

Cars lined both sides, and Camille allowed herself a groan.

In the time it took a moth to flit across the hood of the truck, she considered returning to her hotel room.

But that sort of thinking had gotten her shipped here in the first place. Her goal was closer than the vehicles jamming the boulevard, and she refused to give up now. She could do this.

Identifying the most welcoming home on the block, a Craftsman-style cottage, she pulled into the driveway. The house had a screened porch and an oversized hanging basket exploding with impatiens.

A lone lamp shone from a front window near the porch. A large bright painting hung over the sofa—a primitive watercolor, although the distance and dimness made it tough to tell more.

A gnarled magnolia tree covered in glossy green leaves sat near the driveway. Even after fifteen years, Camille recalled the light and lemony smell of the blooms in summer and was tempted to roll down her window.

Before she could act on the thought, though, a movement caught her eye.

A man knelt to adjust a lawn sprinkler a few feet from her and turned just as she noticed him.

Muttering a "sorry" he couldn't possibly hear, she gave a quick wave and put the vehicle in reverse. Popping the clutch too quickly, she lurched and killed the engine.

She gave what she hoped was an "I'm not a nut" smile, started the truck, and coasted back a few feet, unsure of her next maneuver.

The vehicle might be a collector's dream, but it had the turning radius of a cement mixer. She couldn't wait for her corporate SUV with its rearview camera, power steering—and frosty AC.

The guy in the yard watched, his eyes hidden by a pair of classic Ray-Ban sunglasses, as Camille rolled back a few more inches, pulled forward, rolled back, and then pulled back up a few feet to reposition the vehicle.

Between her agitation at running late, handling this monstrosity of a vehicle, and the amused stare of the man, Camille felt sweat trickle down her arms. She didn't have to look to know her shift was now wrinkled.

She put the pickup in reverse and sucked in her breath, as though that would help squeeze through the tight space.

"Stop!"

In surprise, she slammed on the brakes, skidding across a patch of carefully tended grass. Her purse slid off the seat, emptying onto the floor. She glanced down to see her lipstick roll out of sight, while the truck moved an inch or two closer to a crape myrtle, its blooms the color of a slice of watermelon.

"Wait! Stop!" the man in the yard yelled again and threw a hand up. He started toward the truck, gesturing for her to lower the window. Camille fumbled for a button to ease it down before realizing she had to use the old-fashioned handle. The stubborn crank brought the glass down about an inch before sticking.

Fooling with the handle, she let off the clutch again, causing the man to take a quick step back when the truck lurched forward. Her face felt flushed.

"Sorry." She turned off the motor. She threw her weight against the heavy door and shoved it open a few inches, breathing as heavily as if she had just run a race.

"No offense," the guy said, ambling closer, "but do you know how to drive that thing?"

His southern voice didn't sound as aggravated as Camille, infused with embarrassment, would have expected.

In his thirties, probably a year or two older than she was, he wore a baseball cap, cargo shorts, and a T-shirt advertising a New Orleans triathlon. Tanned and trim, he seemed to be holding back a smile.

Camille swatted the steering wheel with the palm of her hand. "What a lousy week!" she blurted—and immediately would have traded her favorite sculpture to have the words back. Glad she couldn't see past his sunglasses, she delivered an apology so convoluted that even she didn't know what she was apologizing for.

"No big deal." He let loose a smile that made his face even more appealing. "This isn't an easy street to navigate. With that fund-raiser around the corner, it's chaotic."

His words—delivered again in that delicious, deep drawl—relaxed the knot in her stomach.

She exhaled an unsteady breath. "I traded my car in ... This is a company loaner." She tapped on the steering wheel, annoyed anew at the trick Uncle Scott had played. "Me and the White Witch haven't exactly bonded."

He tilted his head, as though puzzled. "That's not your usual corporate vehicle."

"Not your usual corporate assignment," she said, her tone light. "I'm only in town for a few days, and my SUV will be delivered after that."

Knowing she was babbling, she opened her mouth to introduce herself, but before she could speak, he glanced at the sports watch on his tanned wrist.

"I'm sorry. I'm holding you up," she said.

He threw another of those knee-weakening smiles at her but didn't disagree. "If you cut your wheels hard, you'll miss that tree and that line of cars."

Camille turned the key in the ignition and inched back, stopped, inched back more, and looked over at the guy, checking his watch again.

"Why don't you let me ..." His voice trailed off as he gestured at the street.

Camille, despite another feeling of defeat, nodded.

He offered his hand to help her out of the cab, his touch sending a tingle down her spine. She smoothed her skirt when she got out.

"Nice." He eased into the driver's seat. She thought for a second that the compliment was aimed at her, but then she noticed him rubbing the old leather on the steering wheel. "She's a stunner."

Camille folded her arms across her chest and muttered under her breath, resenting for an instant how easily the man maneuvered the truck.

When he jumped out, he held the door for her. "Don't feel bad about this. I flattened that recycling bin once in my father's pickup." An easy laugh accompanied the words. "My brother will never let me live that one down."

"I owe you." She gave a small salute as she climbed back into the truck. "Thanks for the help."

"Any time."

She turned her head as she drove away and watched him walk into the house. With his killer smile and almost palpable charm, he was the antithesis of the people she was about to encounter. She wished she were spending the evening on his porch.


* * *

Camille made the block and approached the party with renewed resolve, feeling like a general headed into battle.

Drawing from her mother's kindness and her uncle's tactics, she'd be out of Samford in a few days, back to her corner office, and shopping for her first house, about a tenth the size of this place.

She smiled when the college-aged valet opened the truck's heavy door, claim check in hand. "Cool. What year is it?"

"Older than you and me."

"It's a beauty." His eyes widened as he looked inside. "Three-on-the-tree?" He didn't wait for her answer, hopping into the truck as though it were the Porsche in front of them. "Long-bed too. You don't see many of those anymore. Sweet ride."

"Lucky me," she murmured and then spoke louder. "It's a 1970. Give it a little extra gas to get going."

Watching the blue-and-white Chevy sputter down the hill, Camille headed toward the entrance. Sweet ride. She'd have to tell her mother that one.

As she approached the entryway, a large man in a brown sport coat stepped out. A woman who looked like a middle-aged hippie trekked up the hill. A younger, Hispanic man stood at the massive front door, his sleek tux complementing his rugged good looks.

"I'm Camille ... Camille Gardner." She looked from the handsome guy to the man in the sport coat. "Thank you for hosting me this evening."

The older man swiveled, a half smile on his face. With the look of an over-the-hill college football player, he was one of those men whose age was hard to determine. "The famous Camille Gardner!" He grabbed Camille's hand, jerking her arm up and down as if it were a pump handle.

"I'm Senator Slattery Richmond. Welcome to Louisiana!" His deep, gravelly voice sounded both hoarse and booming at the same time, almost like a barker at a fair.

"Thank you, Senator Richmond." She plastered on her civic-function smile. "I'm here to represent—"

"I know exactly who you are. You're that hotshot troubleshooter from J&S Production." He looked around and lowered his voice. "It's about time you got here. With our deadline, we need action." More loudly, he said, "Call me Slattery."

Camille ran her hand through her hair, noting the curious stares of those nearby. "Tonight's about raising money for a good cause ... and thanking Louisiana for all its support." She threw him a pointed look. "There will be plenty of time to talk business in the next few days."

She gazed past him to the hippie woman, who had made it to the top of the hill and looked as out of place as Camille had felt in the stranger's driveway. "I'm Ginny Guidry," the woman blurted out, as though called on in class.

Wearing a flowing skirt that almost touched the sidewalk and a pair of Birkenstocks, she was younger than Camille had first thought, maybe in her early forties. Her brown eyes were framed by classic black horn-rimmed glasses, which added a scholarly look.

Ginny's large mouth, with bold red lipstick, moved into a tentative smile. She dabbed her forehead with a Kleenex as she spoke. "We hoped J&S might send someone tonight ..."

Her southern drawl trailed off when Slattery stepped closer, nudging her out of the way. "If you'll step inside ..." He turned and headed up the brick steps.

With Ginny on her heels, Camille fell in behind him, but she stopped midway and held out her hand to the man in the tux, giving him a smile. "I'm Camille Gardner from J&S."

Taking two quick steps down, Slattery, agile for his size, stepped right in front of her. "That's Larry," he said, as though the man were one of the stone lions that flanked the walkway. "If you need anything tonight, let him know."

Uncomfortable, Camille stepped around her host, extending her hand again.

For a brief second, Larry stood rigid, his brown eyes going from Camille to Slattery. Then he shook her hand, his palm calloused. "My pleasure," he said in a voice so deep it felt like it tickled her ear, a trace of a Spanish accent underneath. He threw Ginny Guidry a quizzical look as he spoke.

Ginny laid her hand on Larry's arm for a second as she moved past, her rumpled blouse brushing against the shoulder of his flawless tux.

By now a cluster of guests had stacked up, and Slattery cleared his throat. "If I may?" he said, his tone impatient as he grabbed Camille's arm. The old-fashioned gesture struck her as an effort to corral her, but she forced a smile and stepped into the home.

Slattery steered Camille as though her elbow were a rudder, doing a quick round of introductions to the crowd a few feet inside the Richmonds' door.

Camille said little more than "hello," smiling as she studied the crowd. The Guidry woman had stopped a few feet away, fidgeting with a cocktail napkin from a small mahogany table. She glanced from Camille to Slattery and back to Camille, her expression even more unsure than it had been out front.

Camille, who had spent more than her share of time alone in the midst of a crowd, considered how she could break away to chat with Ginny. When Camille smiled, though, Ginny merely peered at her through the glasses and meandered off, scanning the room as though looking for someone.

Slattery's gaze followed with a frown, and he harrumphed under his breath. Then he turned his attention back to Camille.

Their procession through the large foyer, with its marble floor and crystal wall sconces, stalled with the arrival of each new guest, and Camille studied the space as Slattery called out to one person and then another.

What attracted her attention the most was a large landscape painting in the stairwell and a smaller modern piece on the landing above. She tried to step closer for a better look, but Slattery herded her toward a bar in the formal dining room.

"I haven't seen this much excitement over an oil-and-gas deal in decades—and the party ... what a touch." Slattery beamed. "Leave it to Scott Stephens to come up with something like this."

"Louisiana has been good to J&S," Camille murmured.

"Stephens says you'll do damage control—and make us a lot of money."

Camille cocked her head. She'd pegged Slattery Richmond correctly from those first moments out front. The man wanted something.

This part of the business she would miss.

She waited.

"My colleagues down in Baton Rouge are watching a little too closely," he said. "How soon do you expect to drill?"

"That depends on the landowners," she said mildly.

"Those crazy artists can't hold out forever." Slattery punctuated the sentence with a smug smile. "You'll be the perfect person to handle their attorney."

"I understood they didn't intend to retain counsel." She kept her voice steady, although her mind was whirling. The addition of an attorney would likely make the deal harder—but thankfully that part of this mess didn't involve her.

"Someone convinced them they needed a lawyer to get a better deal." Slattery gave a slight shake of his head. "You may get a little trouble out of him."

"Sounds interesting."

The faint vibrating noise of a cell phone interrupted them, but before she could check her purse, Slattery pulled his phone from inside his jacket. He glanced at the screen and back at her.

"Excuse me," he said, grabbing a drink from the bar as he passed. "I need to take this."

As he walked away, Camille stepped into the living room and forced her attention to the handful of polished guests. Most people threw her openly curious looks, but no one approached. She kept her expression neutral.
(Continues...)


Excerpted from Sweet Olive by Judy Christie. Copyright © 2013 Judy Christie. Excerpted by permission of ZONDERVAN.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Hott Synopsis: Twelve years. When Camille¿s father deserted her

    Hott Synopsis:
    Twelve years. When Camille’s father deserted her and her mother Uncle Scott swooped in to save them. Camille has been trying to pay him back ever since she was able. At some point the debt has to be paid right?
    Camille is ready for her dream. Ready for her community center. Ready for her house. Ready for her family. When will Uncle Scott let her be who she is instead of who he wants her to be.

    Hott Review:
    I didn’t love this book. The beginning was terribly confusing and I felt like an eavesdropper that missed most of the conversation. Then it just seemed to mosey along. I read the whole thing because the characters were very interesting and I liked them but I kept getting everyone confused because there were so many.
    There wasn’t much of a “Christian” aspect to this book. No pronouncement of faith or anything like that just the absence of violence, foul language, and intimacies.

    More…
    Author: Judy Christie
    Source: Zondervan via Netgalley
    Grade: C
    Ages: 14+
    Steam: YA
    Setting: Samford, Louisiana
    Series: Trumpet & Vine

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 24, 2014

    Sweet Olive by Judy Christie is a most delightful book and a joy

    Sweet Olive by Judy Christie is a most delightful book and a joy to read. Camille Gardner is a “landman” which is someone who works for an oil company and whose job it is to get property owners to sign over the mineral and water rights to their land. Camille is in Samford, Louisiana, against her wishes but her uncle Scott, and boss, forced her to accept the job. Camille once spent the worst weeks of her life in Samford so her plan is to get the signatures in record time and get back to Houston where she plans to work in an art gallery. After meeting the artist in the Sweet Olive area of Samford, Camille definitely has a problem for she has fallen in love with the artists and greatly admires their works of art which are proudly displayed in their yards and she completely understands why they do not want oil drilling on their land. Shortly after arriving in Samford, Camille meets Marsh Cameron who just happens to be the attorney representing the Sweet Olive landowners. Sparks begin to fly between the two and all of them are not about the oil deal.




    The author did an excellent job in the development of this story. The characters were so well developed that they came alive on the pages of the book. I especially liked all the artists and was hoping that they would not give in to the oil company. When the author was describing the homes and art of the residents of Sweet Olive, I could very clearly see each one in my mind’s eye. And then add the descriptions of the personalities and lives of the artists, and I immediately felt as if they were close friends. Camille was very realistically portrayed and I could feel her doubts and pain and her growing affection for Marsh. I definitely liked that the author had Camille finally turn back to God and let Him lead her life. She found what had been missing in her life—faith, friends, and love. There were several twists and turns in the plot and quite a bit of suspense . The story had a great ending and proved that honestly is the best policy. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series.




    I highly recommend this book to anyone that likes a great story set in the south, Louisiana to be exact.




    I received a complimentary copy of this book from Zondervan via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to give a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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  • Posted April 2, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Big oil companies, small-town Louisiana setting, and a small com

    Big oil companies, small-town Louisiana setting, and a small community of artists combine in Sweet Olive, a book by Judy Christie that I greatly enjoyed. I've always been drawn to stories with a small-town setting and quirky characters, and would have to say that Judy shines at this. I easily connected with these characters and hope to see more of them in future books. Writing and characterization are strong, Marsh and Camille make compelling lead characters - but it's the ensemble cast within the artists' community that steals the show.




    Oil-and-gas negotiator Camille Gardner must entice a group of rural landowners to sell their mineral rights and, instead, finds herself drawn to the folk art created by those same landowners. To oil companies, these people were a vital commodity in the race for gas production - and while Camille initially thought of them in terms of the number of acres they had to offer, soon they became real people to whom there were more important things in life than money.




    Marsh, a lawyer representing the artists, was charming, handsome, and determined - yet "he wanted a chance to work more with everyday folks, people whose lives could be changed by the right champion at the right moment." Romance seemed secondary to plot, but Camille and Marsh being on opposite sides of the oil issue added good conflict to a sweet romance.




    The artists' community - with their folk art that included metal sculpture, whirligigs, watercolors, glass, pottery, woodcarving, and oil paintings - are at the heart of this story. And it was Camille who became a catalyst for change in their lives, helping them to believe in their own abilities and discover a renewed passion for their art.




    I loved how Judy used fiction to shine the light on two completely different attitudes toward money:  those whose lives are motivated by greed, and those who realize some things are more important than money. "The beauty of their Louisiana land, earned through hard work and family tradition, would not be sacrificed for oil-company cash." The theme of God's provision is woven throughout the narrative, and that's something I never tire of being reminded of.




    That God might have had a purpose in sending Camille to a town she never wanted to revisit made me smile as I thought of times I found myself thrust out of my comfort zone, only to eventually see God's hand in the situation. Camille's growing friendship with Ginny was one of my favorite parts, and it was through Ginny's leadership that the community pulled together - and therein lay their strength.




    I fell in love with the Sweet Olive community and am eager to see where Judy takes us in the next book of the Trumpet & Vine series, Magnolia Market, which releases in the fall of 2014. Sweet Olive is a cozy, feel-good read that I thoroughly enjoyed and am glad to recommend.




    This book was provided by BookSneeze and Zondervan in exchange for my honest review.

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  • Posted November 27, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Sweet Olive is about a tough, independent woman working in the o

    Sweet Olive is about a tough, independent woman working in the oil business and wrestling with a moral dilemma when the residents of Sweet Olive, Louisiana are reluctant to sign over their land rights.  Camille Gardner wants to be fair and generous with the landowners, but she also wants to get it done and get out of town.  With no interest in settling down in a small town, Camille finds herself drawn to the landowners, to their small town sense of community and especially to the handsome attorney representing the landowners.
    In the charming community of Sweet Olive, Camille finds her tough exterior refined and her faith revived from a painful past.  Camille navigates the fine line between humanity and big business without minimizing her career and goes on to find love in unexpected places.
    Sweet Olive is a great book.  I’m thrilled to find Christian fiction that is current and well written.  The characters brought the book to life and I enjoyed every minute of it.
    Sweet Olive is available in print or electronic format.

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  • Posted November 11, 2013

    Sweet Olive, by Judy Chrisie, is a story that showcases the life

    Sweet Olive, by Judy Chrisie, is a story that showcases the lifestyle of a quaint town in Louisiana.  The author does a wonderful job developing the characters in this book.  I had the privilege of reading it while away on a vacation in Hawaii.  I began reading it on the airplane during the long flight and then picked it up pool side, anxious to find out how it would all turn out for the people I was becoming attached to. 
    Sweet Olive is a small town community in Louisiana that is in the midst of a controversy among the residents around the selling of their mineral rights to an oil company.  The book gives the reader a peek into this “artsy” community that is filled with good folk who care about their art, their neighbors, and even come to love and appreciate this outsider who brings disorder into their orderly world. 
    If you, as the reader, live a hectic lifestyle or feel the rush of a big city, you will enjoy escaping in the pages of this book.  The pace of the story, as it unfolds, is refreshing.  The characters are diverse and you will find yourself hoping for a positive outcome for all that you meet.
    I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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  • Posted November 5, 2013

    While I've heard of Judy Christie before, Sweet Olive is the fir

    While I've heard of Judy Christie before, Sweet Olive is the first of her books that I've read. I can assure you that it won't be the last. Camille arrives in Samford, Louisiana at the insistence of her uncle, who also happens to be her boss. Her job is to negotiate with a group of residents who are refusing to grant mineral rights to the gas and oil company that Camille represents. Camille assumes this will be a quick and straightforward job, but once she meets this unique group of residents, she realizes this will not be the usual job.

    Sweet Olive is full of the sweet, southern, small town charm that I just love. Small towns often make the perfect setting, and Samford, Louisiana is no exception. There are plenty of unique townspeople, local politics, and jealousy that you wouldn't believe. And when Camille gets plopped down in the middle of it all, she begins to see what she's been missing—friends, faith, love.

    Camille is the perfect "leading lady." I love that she had a career in a male-dominated industry. And boy is she feisty! She definitely knows what she wants and goes after it. I loved watching her heart change throughout the book as she made friends with various characters. Marsh was a great guy as well. I wasn't sure how their relationship was going to develop since they were on opposing sides of this intense case, but it was great to see their friendship grow naturally—despite their differences. I absolutely loved all of the artists in the community. Reading about their art and their simple lifestyle made me curious to know more. I'm super excited to read more about this community in the rest of this series ... and I'd really like to visit in real life!

    Sweet Olive is a great read. I'm glad I took the time to read it and look forward to more from Judy Christie! [4.5 stars]

    I received a free copy of this book from Zondervan in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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  • Posted October 29, 2013

    Camille Gardner feels obligated to her Uncle Scot for rescuing h

    Camille Gardner feels obligated to her Uncle Scot for rescuing her and her mother after her father was killed. Scot paid for Camille’s art education and also training as a ‘landman’, someone who gathers signatures from property owners for mineral and water rights to their land.

    The people of Sweet Olive do not want to sell their mineral and especially their water rights. Uncle Scot expects Camille to act as he would--bully them into compliance. But Camille’s real dream is to run an art gallery and she’s fascinated by the talented folk artists of Sweet Olive. She seeks to become their friend.

    The small town of Samford holds sad memories for Camille, which she admits to no one. She makes several serious mistakes in dealing with the local people and honestly admits her fault. Her assistant undercuts Camille’s work and gains the job Uncle Scot had promised his niece.

    Camille and lawyer Marsh Cameron discover some surprising past ‘deals’. Will they stop Uncle Scot and an officious senator from stealing the Sweet Olive mineral rights? An unexpected catastrophe pushes everyone’s agenda in an unwelcome direction.

    The surprise ending proves in a most satisfying way that honesty wins.

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  • Posted October 3, 2013

    Judy Christie is back with a new series! If you enjoyed her Gree

    Judy Christie is back with a new series! If you enjoyed her Green series you are sure to delight in this new tale. Judy's books are very character driven and the personalities that make up the town of Samford, Louisiana are a great mix.




    This is a story of a group of eccentric artists that take on a big oil company. The artists are represented by the beloved local boy Marsh Cameron. Camille Gardner is representing her uncle's oil company. The oil company is interested in acquiring rights to the minerals and water of the artist's land. The artists are very leery of having oil rigs on their land. They've seen what can happen when the oil companies come in and they don't want to risk losing what they have in Sweet Olive.




    Camille is known for her amazing abilities to close a deal. Unfortunately for her uncle she's also very interested in art and the people who produce it. As she gets to know the residents of Sweet Olive her heart becomes torn and she has to choose to do what is right, which isn't always what her boss wants.




    I really enjoyed the dynamic relationships that were formed during this first book in the series. We are given a brief description of the corner of Trumpet and Vine and I am looking forward to seeing what all takes place in that location. This was a great start to what promises to be a wonderful series!




    I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.

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