Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter

( 52 )

Overview

Leelee Satterfield seemed to have it all: a gorgeous husband, two adorable daughters, and roots in the sunny city of Memphis, Tennessee.  So when her husband gets the idea to uproot the family to run a quaint Vermont inn, Leelee is devastated…and her three best friends are outraged.  But she’s loved Baker Satterfield since the tenth grade, how can she not indulge his dream?  Plus, the glossy photos of bright autumn trees and smiling children in ski suits push her ...

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Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter: A Novel

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Overview

Leelee Satterfield seemed to have it all: a gorgeous husband, two adorable daughters, and roots in the sunny city of Memphis, Tennessee.  So when her husband gets the idea to uproot the family to run a quaint Vermont inn, Leelee is devastated…and her three best friends are outraged.  But she’s loved Baker Satterfield since the tenth grade, how can she not indulge his dream?  Plus, the glossy photos of bright autumn trees and smiling children in ski suits push her over the edge…after all, how much trouble can it really be?

But Leelee discovers pretty fast that there’s a truckload of things nobody tells you about Vermont until you live there: such as mud season, vampire flies, and the danger of ice sheets careening off roofs.  Not to mention when her beloved Yorkie decides to pick New Year’s Eve to go to doggie heaven-she encounters one more New England oddity: frozen ground means you can’t bury your dead in the winter.  And that Yankee idiosyncrasy just won’t do.

The inn they’ve bought also has its host of problems: an odor that no amount of potpourri can erase, tacky décor, and a staff of peculiar Vermonters whose personalities are as unique as the hippopotamus collection gracing the fireplace mantle.  The whole operation is managed by Helga, a stern German woman who takes special delight in bullying Leelee for her southern gentility.  Needless to say, it doesn’t take long for Leelee to start wondering when to drag out the moving boxes again.

But when an unexpected hardship takes Leelee by surprise, she finds herself left alone with an inn to run, a mortgage to pay, and two daughters to raise.  But this Southern belle won’t be run out of town so easily.  Drawing on the Southern grit and inner strength she didn’t know she had, Leelee decides to turn around the Inn, her attitude and her life.  In doing so, she makes friends with her neighbors, finds a little romance, and realizes there’s a lot more in common with Vermont than she first thought.

In this moving and comedic debut, Lisa Patton paints a hilarious portrait of life in Vermont as seen through the eyes of a southern belle readers won’t soon forget.  Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter is a charming fish-out-of-water tale of one woman who learns to stand up for herself-in sandals and snow boots-against the odds.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Patton's plucky debut, naïve daddy's girl Leelee Satterfield acquiesces yet again to her spoiled husband, Baker, who wants to move the family of four from Leelee's beloved Memphis to middle-of-nowhere Vermont to buy and run an inn. Leelee grudgingly agrees to keep the inn as is for a year while the former owners, less-than-personable German siblings Helga and Rolf Schloygin, dictate how the delicate Southern belle should run her home and the business. Though readers will initially agree with Helga's stern pointers, they will inevitably adore Leelee as she weathers each storm, gaining backbone while simultaneously shedding the helpless princess persona. Her transformation is (of course) accomplished with the aid of boisterous best friends, unlikely new allies and a heaping helping of girl power. The author is none-too-subtle about the changes (Leelee, for instance, “never, ever would have had the nerve to say any of the things I did if Daddy were still alive”), and, though owing heavily to formula, Patton's novel delivers on its feel-good moments and inspiring fantasies of finally making it on your own. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
Patton debuts with a peachy-keen summer read about a Southern woman's misadventures as a Vermont innkeeper. Leelee Satterfield is a bona fide Memphis gal of the country-club variety, part of the ladies-who-lunch set and not at all eager to leave behind this privileged society. But when her gorgeous, sweet-talking husband Baker wants to buy an inn in Vermont and move up north with their two young girls, Leelee reluctantly acquiesces. She may be slightly spoiled, but she is devoted to her man right down to her well-manicured toes. Vermont proves to be everything she feared it would be-cold and lonely, for a start. As Leelee and Baker take on their misfit roles as innkeepers, predictable comedic chaos and challenges ensue; then an unexpected darker twist leaves Leelee alone and for the first time in charge of her own life. This adds weight to the otherwise just-for-kicks narrative and creates a nice balance: Leelee grapples with major life changes, but she's also as fun and flaky as the peach cobbler she whips up in her inn's restaurant. The book overflows with Southern charm, and although our heroine at times appears flighty and superficial, the obvious importance and profundity of her friendships and her love for her daughters are her saving graces. Leelee slowly comes around to her less fashion-conscious Vermont neighbors, heavy snowfall and actually lifting a finger to make a living. The appearance of a very cute new head chef adds a flirty element of romance, and her colorful best friends from Memphis provide a whirlwind of animated comedy. This sassy, lighthearted romp twists and turns toward a conclusion that is not at all foregone, but is immensely satisfying. Dixie chicks and damnYankees alike will enjoy seeing the world through Leelee's eyes. First printing of 75,000. Agent: Holly Root/Waxman Literary Agency
From the Publisher

Advance Praise for Whistlin’ Dixie in a Nor’easter:

"Funny, heartfelt and loaded with southern charm…You'll laugh out loud at as Leelee Satterfield plants her debutante flag on the snowy fields of Vermont.  You'll be whistlin' "more, more!" by novel's end.  I promise. "

--Adriana Trigiani, bestelling author of the Big Stone Gap series and Lucia, Lucia

“Just when you think there's nothing new under the sun, here it comes---the North/South split as seen from a brand new perspective. I absolutely DEVOURED this yummy novel, all at one sitting.  Lisa Patton serves up genuine romance, wisdom, and humor at this B&B---with plenty of smart social observation on the side. Sweet, sassy, and very entertaining!”

--Lee Smith, author of The Last Girls

Lisa Patton draws you into each moment of this wonderfully heartbreaking yet hilarious journey of self-enlightenment.  Whistlin’ Dixie is truly a page-turner from beginning to end. --Jeff Bridges

“Memphis belle Leelee heads for Vermont, trading iced tea and kudzu for black ice, black flies, and a winter that lasts well into May. The results? An amusing, touching novel about a steel magnolia who faces an extreme culture clash and must decide if she wants to set down roots in red clay or snow.  Whistlin’ in Dixie in a Nor’easter is a fabulous, feel-good read.”

--Karin Gillespie, author of Dollar Daze

"Lisa Patton brings Northerners and Southerners together in this heartwarming and funny tale."

--T. Lynn Ocean, author of the Jersey Barnes series

"In her debut novel Lisa Patton paints a beautiful portrait of friendship, and one woman's journey finding herself, with tears and laughter along the way. I loved it."

--Christopher Cross, Grammy Award-winning Singer-songwriter

Lisa Patton knows her way around "Southern Belles" and "Vermonsters" alike-and spares neither with her humor and wit in this fun romp....a promising debut for comic fiction.

--Tracy McArdle, author of Real Women Eat Beef

"Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter gives you a heroine to root for and a book that keeps you turning pages.  A delightful read." 

--Linda Francis Lee, bestselling author of The Ex-Debutante

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312658892
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2010
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 207,876
  • Product dimensions: 6.94 (w) x 11.28 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Lisa Patton

LISA PATTON is a Memphis, Tennessee native who spent three years as a Vermont innkeeper until three sub-zero winters drove her back down South. A former promotion director for both radio and TV in Memphis, Lisa also worked as a manager of the Historic Orpheum Theatre. She has over 20 years’ experience working in the music and entertainment business, including several years with five-time Grammy Award-winner Michael McDonald. A graduate of the University of Alabama, Lisa guides walking tours of Historic Downtown Franklin, her hometown in Tennessee. Currently at work on her fourth novel, Lisa is the proud mother of two sons and a little Havanese puppy dog named Rosie. To learn more about her, you can visit Lisa’s Web site.

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Read an Excerpt

A Miserable Freezing Cold New Year’s Day – Willingham, Vermont
 
     No one ever told me you can’t bury somebody up North in the wintertime. 
     So when my little fifteen-year-old Yorkie, Princess Grace Kelly, decided to pick New Year’s Eve to go to doggie heaven, we had a problem.  My handyman Jeb had the nerve to tell me that Gracie would have to wait in a shoebox on a garden-shed shelf until spring, or “The Thaw” as the Vermonters call it.  I told him, in no uncertain terms, that I could never make Gracie do that and his solution was simply not an option.  I mean the least I could do was give her a proper burial with a funeral and all, after dragging her 1,473 miles away from home, in her golden years no less, to a place where tee-teeing outside for her was not an option.  The first time I ever set her down to go on top of the four-foot snowdrift outside our door at the Inn, she was nearly buried alive.
     The first thing you need to know about me is that I am not a pushover.  I’ll admit to being a little naïve, maybe, but I am no doormat.  My girlfriends thought I was a huge doormat, but moving all the way to Vermont changed that forever.
     Anyway, here I was living in sub-zero Vermont, but bound and determined to get Gracie into that ground.  My nose was completely stopped up from crying when I called my best friend Virginia to give her the news.
     “Gracie’s gone,” I wailed into the phone as soon as she answered.
     “What’d you say?  I can barely understand you.”
     “PRINCESS - GRACE - KELLY - IS – DEAD.”  I screamed.
     “Gosh Leelee, you scared me.  I thought something catastrophic had happened.” 
     “This is catastrophic.”
     “I know, I know.  I’m sorry.  When did it happen?”
     “She took her last breath in the middle of New Year’s Eve dinner at the Inn.  The busiest night of the whole year.  It’s all my fault!” I sobbed.
     “It’s all what?  You’re gonna have to blow your nose.”
     I reached over for another Kleenex and honked into the phone.  “I said . . . it’s all my fault!”
     “What do you mean?  Gracie was old, Leelee.  It was her time.”
     My bottom lip started to quiver.  “She hated it here.  And that’s only the beginning.  Not only did Gracie just drop dead out of nowhere but four of my guests at the Inn caused a blackout in the middle of dinner.”
     “You’re kidding!” 
     “I wish I was.”  I sniffed a few times more.  “Then - to top it all off - this couple showed up just before midnight to check into their room.  I didn’t have a room for them, Virginia.  I overbooked the Inn by mistake and there wasn’t a room to be had in all of Southern Vermont.” 
     “Wha’d you do then?” Virginia sounded scared for me.
     “I did the only thing I could do.  I made room for them.” 
     “Oh my gosh, Leelee, this would only happen to you.  Don’t tell me they bunked up with yall.” 
     “It’s a long story.  Have you got an hour?” 
     “I’ve got all the time in the world, but before you get started I wanna know one thing.”
     “Okay, what?” 
     “When are you gonna finally give up this ludicrous notion of being the only Southern Belle innkeeper in the state of Vermont and come home?” 
     “I’m always thinking about home, Virgy. Always.”
 

A Wonderful Hot July Evening - Memphis, Tennessee
 
Chapter One
 
     Memphis is my home.  It always will be no matter where I live.  In the South we
have a tendency to be possessive of our hometowns.  A Memphis girl can marry a Birmingham boy, raise her family there and live out the rest of her days in Alabama.  But when her obituary runs in the Birmingham Post-Herald, it will still claim Memphis as her home. 
     The only other place I’d spent anytime at all was Oxford, Mississippi. Going to college at Ole Miss was more like “a four-and-a-half year vacation,” according to Daddy.  But the point is I had no desire to ever leave my home again.  I was perfectly happy.  
     Memphis gives me a peaceful feeling just thinking about it.  Downtown sits way up on a bluff overlooking the Mississippi.  The city itself is as flat as a pancake, which makes it the most beautiful place in the world to watch the sunset. Pinks, reds, yellows and oranges streak the sky and you can watch the entire fireball melt into the cotton fields of Arkansas right across the river.
     When you drive down parts of Poplar Avenue with the windows rolled down and smell barbeque cooking, it’s impossible not to turn in to Corky’s or Little Pig’s for a sandwich.  Daddy would order his “white pig strictly lean.”  I order mine the same way all because of him.
      If you come to Memphis it would be well worth your while to visit in the springtime. Azaleas and dogwoods color the town white, pink and red as far as the eye can see.  It’s nice and warm, with the temperature hovering between seventy-five and eighty-five degrees.  I know people say the summer is sweltering, but it never bothers me.
     Probably our biggest brag is Elvis.  Everybody over the age of thirty has some sort of an Elvis story, whether it’s driving by Graceland and seeing him in his front yard or knowing somebody who knows one of his step-brothers personally - or even still, knowing someone who went to his doctor, Dr. Nick.  Elvis drove a truck for Daddy once before he was famous.  That’s our claim to Elvis fame.
     I fell in love with a Memphis boy when I was sixteen-years-old and married him eight years later.  I first had a huge crush on him way back in the tenth grade.  Baker Satterfield hardly knew I was on this earth until my bosoms finally popped out our senior year in high school.  I went from an A-cup to a D-cup in nine months.  No wonder I attracted his attention.
     At our graduation party Baker spent most of the evening trying to flirt with me.  He ignored his date and threw popcorn at me and pinched my butt, very sneakily, every chance he could.  But too bad for him.  I had a date with one of his best friends, Jimmy Hudson.  Jimmy Hudson didn’t ignore me and I certainly didn’t ignore him.  When we weren’t talking or slow dancing . . . we were making out.  I’d have one eye shut and the other slightly open trying to see if Baker was watching us.  Without fail, he’d be boring a hole right in our direction.  So I’d lay it on extra thick.  I’d start giggling at whatever Jimmy said and run my hands though his hair or kiss him playfully on the neck.
     You should have seen the way I gloated when I got home that night, just thinking about finally having one up on Baker Satterfield.  It served him right for overlooking me just because my chest was flat.  Baker told me later that he spent four frustrating years at UT dreaming about my newly blossomed bosoms.  
     We met up again after college graduation and two years later his dreams were nestled right next to him every night in Memphis.  As far as I was concerned they could stay nestled that way forever.  But when Baker decided to chase another dream, my life was transformed from an unswerving line onto a collision course at the Indy 500 almost overnight.
     The evening Baker shared his new dream with me occupies a permanent place in my memory.  He was in a terrific mood, like he’d just hit a hole-in-one on the back nine at the country club with all his buddies watching.  He was whistling and snapping his fingers, and sliding his loafers across the kitchen floor as he helped me clear the dinner table.  Normally he would have had the remote control in his hand by this time, flipping through the channels for any show remotely connected to sports.  He never actually sat down to watch until the kitchen was clean.  He’d stand in front of the TV like he was pausing just to get the score.  “I’ll be right there, honey.  Hold on.  Scores up next,” he’d shout from the den.  But I always knew what he was doing. 
     I was an all-sports widow.  What really gets me is there is never a break from sports.  In the summer it’s baseball, which slides into fall, overlapped by football, which passes into basketball before anyone has a chance to breathe.  Football and basketball run side by side for a while, and as if that’s not enough, golf has to iron its way in between the two every Saturday and Sunday afternoon. 
     But this particular July night, he never even turned on the TV.  He took Gracie out for an evening stroll instead of opening the back door and letting her run outside for her final potty break.  I was reading to the girls when Baker returned from the walk and popped his head into their bedroom. 
     “Honey.”  There was a hush to his voice. “Come on out to the porch when you’re done. I’m making peach daiquiris.”
     “Peach daiquiris.  Yum.  What’s the occasion?”
     “No occasion really, I just thought you’d be in the mood for a daiquiri as hot as it’s been lately.” 
     “Can I have one too, Daddy?” Sarah, our not quite five-year-old, perked up and said.      
     Baker stood in the doorway and blew her a kiss.  “Not tonight.  It’s already past your
bedtime.  But I’ll make a special one just for you tomorrow night.”
     “But I want one today, Daddy.” She sat straight up with a pout.  Sarah takes after her father - thick black, wavy hair and indigo eyes. 
     “Tomorrow.  Look, your sister is already asleep and if you don’t go fast Mr. Sandman will be visiting Isabella before you.”  Two and a half year-old Issie was on the side of the bed next to the wall, already conked out.
     Sarah plopped back down, buried her face in her pillow and put her arm around me.
     “Night Sarah,” Baker said, in a teasing way.  When she wouldn’t answer him he turned to me, “I’ll meet you outside when you’re done.”
     “I’ll just be a few more minutes.” 
     Baker gave me that look.  That incredibly intoxicating sexy look, his I-want-you look, and walked out of the room. 
     We settled on the back-porch swing, swaying back and forth to the croaking rhythm of a toad.  Hundreds of lightning bugs danced all around us and the neighborhood dogs chatted with one another in the distance.  The daiquiri was sweet, just the way I like it, not too much rum and little pieces of peach still large enough to chew.
     “Honey,” Baker said, breaking the silence, as he twisted my curls with his fingers, one at a time, and leered at me with his gorgeous sapphire eyes.  “You know what I want?  I want our girls to grow up in a place where people still leave their doors unlocked and their car keys in the ignition.” 
    “Mmhmm.” I rested my head on his shoulder and pulled my legs up under me onto the swing.  “We could move down to Collierville and have room for horses and maybe even a fishing pond for you.  Sarah’s been begging for riding lessons.  Lots of the girls in her class are taking.” 
     I could already see it – 19th century white farmhouse, long driveway, pond on the right, barn on the left - horses running around and daffodils sprinkled everywhere.
     “Yeah, but even better, we could own our own business and have off four months out of the year.  I wouldn’t have to travel, and I could help you out a lot more with the girls.”  Baker had his arm around me by now, running his hand through my long strawberry blond hair.
     “That sounds good, baby, but what insurance company closes four months out of the year?”  I asked, still sipping on my daiquiri.
     Baker’s tone plummeted to that voice he gets when he’s locked in the bathroom with the Sunday paper and doesn’t want to be disturbed. He moved his arm and looked at me dead on. “I’m sick of the insurance business.  In fact, I’m downright miserable in the insurance business.  It’s boring.  All I ever do is work, and I’m fed up with spending only two hours a day with my children.  Sarah and Isabella are almost five and three and I feel like I barely know them.”
     I should mention he talks with his hands.  Well - we both do, but at this point, Baker’s arms were swinging all over the place.  “I’m thinking big, Leelee, - something completely different and radical.  I say, we should get the hell out of here and move somewhere new and exciting like . . . like . . . Vermont!”
     “Baker, please.  You’ve been reading too many Orvis catalogs.”  Baker has a storeroom off the garage to house his abundant supply of fly-fishing gear, plus every show Bill Dance has ever starred in on videotape.
    “No, Leelee, I have not been reading too many Orvis catalogs.  Vermont is a wonderful state, and . . . you’re right, it does happen to have some of the best trout fishing in the country.  But, there’s virtually no crime at all in Vermont.  The way I see it . . . it’s the perfect place to live and raise a family.”
     He might as well have been talking about Yugoslavia - it was just as foreign to me.  “Vermont.  Vermont!” I bolted straight up from my relaxing position. “You can’t be serious?”
     “I’ve never been more serious in my life.”  With that Baker leaped off the swing, almost upsetting my daiquiri, and ran into the house.  Before the swing even had a chance to slow down, he was bolting back out the door with his briefcase in one hand and a fresh daiquiri in the other.  He plopped back down on the swing, put his drink on the floor beside him and placed the briefcase on his lap, unsnapping the locks.  The briefcase popped open and lying right on top was the latest copy of American Inns magazine.  He grabbed it up, licked his right thumb and started flipping through the pages.  In the back of the magazine one of the pages was dog-eared.  Baker read aloud, with such intense emotion you’d have thought he was auditioning for the role of Hamlet.  “Get a hold of this!” he said.
Located in a village setting near two major ski resorts, Vermont’s Premier Restaurant/Inn is for sale.  Circa 1700’s, The Vermont Haus Inn has nine guest rooms, most with private bath, 7 fireplaces, gracious lawns, 20 acres and historic stonewalls. This magnificent opportunity includes operating a full service, high gross, world gourmet acclaim restaurant along with a lifestyle that most people can only dream about.”
     He looked over at me with a sanguine face before continuing.
“Mint, mint condition. Superb owner’s quarters. Owners retiring.  Price reduced from $555,000.00 to $410,000.00 A must see for anyone serious about owning a quaint Vermont country inn. Ed Baldwin Agency, 10 Hill Street, Fairhope, Vermont. 1-802-CALL-ED-B
     He dropped the magazine on his lap, sat back in the swing and let out a euphoric sigh. “What do you think, honey!”  Baker was beside himself with joy.  “Look at all we could have in Vermont,” he thumped the page with the back of his hand,  “just by selling our house here!  Twenty acres - an Inn - and a business for not much more than the price of this house.”
      I was stunned.  It was the only time in my life that I can honestly say I was truly speechless. 
      Baker used this lull in the conversation to advance to exhibit B.  He must have stopped by the bookstore on his lunch break, because three picture books on Vermont were the next items to emerge from his briefcase.  He started flipping through the pages and showing me the pictures.  “Look, honey, aren’t these beautiful.  Have you ever seen trees come alive like this?  Remember that time you told me you had always wanted to take a trip to New England to see the fall foliage?  Think what it would be like to live there and see it every year.”
     I’m frozen.  No, I’m just not hearing him correctly.
     “I’ve always wanted to own my own restaurant.  You know that.  I’ve managed two or three of them – there’s nothing to it.  And you said yourself that waiting tables was one of the most fun jobs you’ve ever had.”
     “Baker,” I said, springing back to life.  “I was in college when I waited tables.  Yeah, it was fun.  But that’s only because Jay Stockley worked there, too.  He was president of SAE and I had a big, fat crush on him.  Waitressing was not work.  It was a way to flirt with Jay Stockley.”  
     Baker was so busy looking through the pages of that Vermont book, I wondered if he was even listening to me. 
     I put my hand along side his cheek and turned it around to face me. “I couldn’t even tell you if Vermont is the little state on the right or the little state on the left, way up there at the top of the map.  All I can tell you about Vermont is they make good maple syrup there.”
     “Leelee . . . please,” Baker said in his know-it-all voice and looked down again at the pictures.
     “Baker.  What would your daddy say?” I had to dig deep, scramble for anything that might knock some sense into him. “He’s owned Satterfield Allstate for how many years?”
     “Who cares? I never wanted to go into the insurance business in the first place.  Never.  My dad decided that for me the minute he saw something hanging in between the legs of his newborn baby.”
     I considered what he said, and kind of saw his point.
     “I’m bored, Leelee! It’s time to see the world.”
     “Okay, but can’t we just travel around the world? Do we have to move?”
     “Have you any idea what it feels like to wake up every morning, take a shower, shave my face, eat a bowl of cereal, then drive across town to work, where I sit at the same desk, in the same office and look at the same old-woman-secretary who’s constantly telling me ‘I have more seniority than anybody else in the entire office except Mr. Satterfield senior.’ Then she looks over at me like she’s got something big on me. I don’t give a shit how long she or anyone else in that office has been there.”
     “Well, it helps with our lifestyle.”  I was always careful when it came to talking about Baker’s income.  It wasn’t his fault he didn’t have family money.  Daddy’s the reason we had what we had - a beautiful home that I’d spent over a year decorating, and a ski boat that was docked at Pickwick Lake, giving us hours of pleasure in the summertime. Dare I mention that my husband was a sportsaholic with a golf and fishing habit that could have bought us a house to go with the boat on Pickwick Lake. 
     “But it’s driving me crazy in the process.”  Baker was hanging his head now, with his hands on either side of his temples, his eyes closed.  If there’s one thing I hate, it’s to see a grown man in agony.  I put my arms around him and pulled him over toward me so his head was resting on my shoulder. 
     “I don’t want you to be unhappy, Baker.  I’m happy when you’re happy.  But moving all the way to . . . to . . . Yankeeville, I don’t know.  I just don’t know about that.”
     “Honey, look, will you go with me to see the place?  You might fall in love with Vermont.  Just tell me you’ll think about it baby, please.”  He was giving me that look again.  And this time his hand was working its way up one leg of my shorts.
      I reached over, pushed it away and looked him in the eye, my nose about two inches from his nose.  “I’ll think about it.  But that’s all.  And don’t bug me.  I’ll let you know when I’m finished thinking about it.”
     “I’ll get you those diamond earrings.”
     “Are you bribing me Baker Satterfield?”
     “And so what if I am?”
     “I cash in on bribes, that’s what.  Now will you please go get me another daiquiri?”
     “They’re good, aren’t they?”
     “Delicious.  But making my favorite daiquiri is not going to make me move to a place where the people talk like their noses are stopped up,” I said, and stretched out my legs on top of his. 
     “Just consider it.  That’s all I’m asking.”
     “All right, all right.  I’ll do that much.  I’ll consider it.”
     Baker cut his eyes over at me and smirked.  What Baker knew - and what I knew - is that once he got me to consider something, he was usually home free.
     His glass was empty by this time also.  Stopping the motion with his feet, he rose from the swing.  “I’ll be back.”  He leaned over to kiss my lips.  Just before entering the house he turned around.  “By the way, it’s the little state on the left.  Vermont borders New York, not Maine.”
     “Oh thank you, Mr. McNally.”
     “You’re welcome, Miss O’Hara.”
     “Would you go on and get my daiquiri please?”
    
     Falling asleep that night was rough. I lied in bed for hours, staring into the darkness, my husband sound asleep beside me. I wanted to please him.  I loved and adored him. And I had for over half my life. But my goodness, this was a tall order.  Leaving my home - Memphis Tennessee - for a place where I had never even stepped foot? Not Birmingham, not Atlanta, not Oxford, Mississippi even.  Baker was talking about moving all the way up to a place where I didn’t know one soul.  And, as I would later find out, was a heck of a lot farther away than I ever imagined.

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Reading Group Guide

Leelee Satterfield seemed to have it all: a gorgeous husband, two adorable daughters, and roots in the sunny city of Memphis, Tennessee.  So when her husband gets the idea to uproot the family to run a quaint Vermont inn, Leelee is devastated…and her three best friends are outraged.  But she’s loved Baker Satterfield since the tenth grade, how can she not indulge his dream?  Plus, the glossy photos of bright autumn trees and smiling children in ski suits push her over the edge…after all, how much trouble can it really be?

But Leelee discovers pretty fast that there’s a truckload of things nobody tells you about Vermont until you live there: such as mud season, vampire flies, and the danger of ice sheets careening off roofs.  Not to mention when her beloved Yorkie decides to pick New Year’s Eve to go to doggie heaven-she encounters one more New England oddity: frozen ground means you can’t bury your dead in the winter.  And that Yankee idiosyncrasy just won’t do.

The inn they’ve bought also has its host of problems: an odor that no amount of potpourri can erase, tacky décor, and a staff of peculiar Vermonters whose personalities are as unique as the hippopotamus collection gracing the fireplace mantle.  The whole operation is managed by Helga, a stern German woman who takes special delight in bullying Leelee for her southern gentility.  Needless to say, it doesn’t take long for Leelee to start wondering when to drag out the moving boxes again.

But when an unexpected hardship takes Leelee by surprise, she finds herself left alone with an inn to run, a mortgage to pay, and two daughters to raise.  But this Southern belle won’t be run out of town so easily.  Drawing on the Southern grit and inner strength she didn’t know she had, Leelee decides to turn around the Inn, her attitude and her life.  In doing so, she makes friends with her neighbors, finds a little romance, and realizes there’s a lot more in common with Vermont than she first thought.

In this moving and comedic debut, Lisa Patton paints a hilarious portrait of life in Vermont as seen through the eyes of a southern belle readers won’t soon forget.  A charming fish-out-of-water tale of one woman who learns to stand up for herself-in sandals and snow boots-against the odds.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 52 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(24)

4 Star

(10)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 52 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Good Escapism on a Rainy Day

    I purchased the book on a whim (being a Southerner, can't even begin to fathom a Vermont winter). It was an enjoyable read. It wasn't a stay-awake-at-night-to-finish book, but the story and writing flow in the manner of a relaxed, entertaining story from a friend.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2011

    Peachie Keen Book

    I LOVED this book. Interesting, well-written, great dialog between characters, funny, thoughtful, reflective, with great factual information about running an Inn and Vermont. I cannot wait for her next book that is a sequal, and was happy to hear there is one on the way! Why? Because the ending was predictable yet a suprise, and ending but not the end!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2011

    Loved it

    Good book! GREAT STORY was sad when it ended

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2011

    Loved it!

    What a great book! I really enjoyed it. Found myself wishing it wouldn't end.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2011

    Charming andd wittty great characters

    I really enjoyed this book Aa bit of Southern chaarm and Vermont quaintnesss.. Great chharacters!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2010

    Another story of a middle aged man who decides to move his wife and two little girls to become the owners of a bed and breakfast in Vermont in the winter to follow his dreams.

    The story of another mid-life crisis that just proves no good deed goes unpunished.
    Sometimes life just is beyond control and you just have to take it as it goes.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    Recommend

    Really cute chic flick kind of book. Liked it enough to buy sequel

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    ??should i??

    Seeing all of these reviews make me wonder if i should get the book for my daugter to read! I thinkk i will she should enjoy it as much as i did!!:)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2011

    Uplifting and LOL Funny!

    I loved this book! I laughed, I cried! The characters are well developed and fun. I found it fast paced full of page turning events. A perfect book to read on a dreary winter day to lift your spirits. I loved it so much, I am starting to read the sequel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 6, 2011

    Wow

    What I really dislike about all these reviews is that some people want to give a complete book report. This really spoils it for the rest of us. Why buy the book? What a review is for is to let the potential buyer know if they liked or disliked the book and why. We do not need a complete play by play of everything that happens in the book. I am very surprised that there is no word limit on these reviews. I cannot be the only one who feels this way. When you think about it, you are really doing the author no favors. All you are doing is costing the author $$ in lost sales. I for one do not want to purchase a book if I already know what happens. Just saying.....some will agree and disagree. I only ask that you think about it before you launch into a tell all review. Thank you and please try not to be offended. Best wishes to everyone.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2011

    Very highly recommended!

    A very humorous story of a southern belle transplanted to the harsh winter of New England. Lisa keeps you turning the pages and wanting more when your finished reading. Good thing a sequel is on the way!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2011

    Fantastic book!

    loved this book. the characters were wonderful. cant wait to read another book by lisa patton.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2010

    My Thoughts

    I think this book could make into a really cute movie with the right actors/actresses.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2010

    Loved it

    My daughter gave this to me to add to my collection of signed first edition books. I really enjoyed the book I think it would make a wonderful romantic movie. Since I live in the South and grew up in the North, I could relate to the stark differences this gal faced. I also went through a divorce, so I could relate to her issues. All in all, I would reocmmend it for a fun, romantic read and one I am confident you would recommend to your friends to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 24, 2009

    Lisa Patton has the potential to be a great writer.

    From the very beginning the reader is hooked. Both tender and hilarious, the character of Leelee carries us along through her heartbreaks, adventures, and her courage. The characters are well developed and as a reader I fell in love with them all except for Helga (which was the intention). If you are not from the South, you now have real insight to the strength and hiliarity of the Southern woman. A wonderful read!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 19, 2009

    A Southern Belle driven from the comfort and security of friends and fimaliarity to a wintery nightmare of deception, abandonment and despair. Her true grit surprisingly rises up to surprise everyone including herself!

    Moving from CA to TN several years ago made it easy to relate to the sudden change of surroundings, culture and normalcy Lee Lee experienced. Leaving the coccoon of comfort, friends and familarity reveals what we're made of and Lee Lee's advertures filled me with dread, sympathy and laughter at her hilarious dilemmas. Her friends remained close, despite the geographical distance, and truly cheered her on through the hardest of life's hits. Lisa Patton invites us into her thoughts, fears and victories with each page and when I arrived at the end, I wrote her to ask when the sequal would be published. I'm one who enjoys reading about quirky characters, passionate heriones and stories with happy endings...this book met those needs and then some.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2013

    meh

    It was a nice book but it had an awful dated feel to it. stereotypical 1960 homemakers from Memphis etc. yet it was just published. Is Memphis still full of homemakers who boss their rich husbands around and dote on their children and don't seem to have a thought about the world outside their own little bubble?

    nice description of the restaurant business and Vermont in "Mud Season." Been there, done that.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2012

    C No

    Not very interesting. Could not finish it. Not good writing. Sorry.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 31, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Charm, charm, and pure charm

    Lisa Patton has done it again. Her bestseller, Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'Easter, was an absolutely perfect, entertaining, and fun novel. Now, with this second foray into "Dixie whistlin'" she has brought even more humorous, heartwarming, and hilarious characters into a literary world that has been more than a bit depressing for the past year. Our Dixie heroine has returned in Leelee Satterfield. She and her two children have returned to Memphis because her "trip" to Vermont didn't turn out all that well. When she moved to the frigid cold East with her husband and opened up the Peach Blossom Inn, she had no idea that her journey would end with her husband turning into a philandering jerk, and a woman by the name of Helga (who acted like a true Nazi) trying to wrestle away her popular B&B. The only thing Leelee did find that was good in the East was a stunning man, which is the only person that Leelee misses. Coming home, she stays with her old baby nurse, Kissie, for a while before finding her "legs" and getting a place of her own. Her friends are all back around her at the Memphis Country Club listening to Leelee tell of the mysterious Vermont stranger who stole her heart (yet, she can't seem to get him to return any of her phone calls). This trio of women who have loved and supported Leelee all her young life are still standing 100% behind her, and the conversations that they get into over numerous peach daiquiris are absolutely hysterical. In fact, with this type of sisterhood, all readers will find themselves thinking about the women who offer them advice and share each other's lives. Leelee soon opens another restaurant because of want, need, and more than a bit of advice from her helpful friend. Being a single Mom and wanting the "man who stole her heart" to appear in her neck of the woods makes Leelee's life a bit of a mess. Although she's back in the "world" that she knows like the back of her hand, Leelee soon comes to the realization that even though this is "home," she is still going to have to work to make a successful business, figure out her love life, and raise her girls. This second tale of Leelee allows readers to, once again, have a wonderful time. The characters are vivacious, the story is lovely, and the Memphis charm oozes through every page. Quill Says: Charm, charm, and pure charm. Leelee is a Dixie heroine who never goes out of style!

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  • Posted December 7, 2009

    She'll be whistlin' Dixie a long time before I buy another of her books

    I only have myself to blame - I will keep buying books based on the appeal of the cover.

    This book, the content, as well as the cover, will appeal to unworldly souls whose all time favorite movie is Gone with the Wind.

    It's sickly, sappy, implausible and immature. Purchase only if you have money to waste.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 52 Customer Reviews

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