Yankee Doodle Dixie: A Novel

Yankee Doodle Dixie: A Novel

3.8 20
by Lisa Patton
     
 

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A charmingly funny testament to second chances in life and love from the acclaimed author of Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter

Lisa Patton won the hearts of readers last year, her book Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter became a sleeper-success. Building on a smashing debut, Lisa's poised to go to the next level—because

Overview

A charmingly funny testament to second chances in life and love from the acclaimed author of Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter

Lisa Patton won the hearts of readers last year, her book Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter became a sleeper-success. Building on a smashing debut, Lisa's poised to go to the next level—because whether in Vermont snow or in Memphis heat, Dixie heroine Leelee Satterfield is never too far from misadventure, calamity...and ultimately, love.

Having watched her life turn into a nor'easter, 34-year-old Leelee Satterfield is back home in the South, ready to pick back up where she left off. But that's a task easier said then done…Leelee's a single mom, still dreaming of the Vermonter who stole her heart, and accompanied by her three best friends who pepper her with advice, nudging and peach daiquiris, Leelee opens another restaurant and learns she has to prove herself yet again. Filled with heart and humor, women's fiction fans will delight in this novel.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Baker seamlessly expands her 2004 Hugo and Nebula-nominated novella of the same title into tale of nonconformist survival. Widow Mary Griffith and her daughters relocate to an oddly anachronistic Mars, a world dominated by the badly run British Arean Company. Declared redundant by BAC, Mary establishes the first bar on Mars, which prevails despite the moralistic disapproval of her former bosses. Her customers are colorful characters who exist at the periphery of Martian society, from shyster Stanford Crosley to would-be "space cowboy" Ottorio Vespucci. Mary's family, friends and neighbors struggle to survive economic setbacks, the inhospitable climate and BAC's hostility to all forms of eccentricity. Though the international politics are sometimes threadbare, Baker's tale of individualists battling enforced conformity is a worthy evolution of her novella and will especially appeal to longtime science fiction fans. (May)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781429990448
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
09/13/2011
Series:
Dixie Series , #2
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
100,814
File size:
761 KB

Read an Excerpt

Yankee Doodle Dixie

A Novel


By Lisa Patton

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2011 Lisa Patton
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-9044-8


CHAPTER 1

It doesn't take a wizard to figure out the last thing a girl should do is go running hundreds of miles away from home to Vermont just because a man asks her to do so. It also doesn't take a pretty girl with pigtails and a pooch named Toto to tell you that there is absolutely, positively, no place like home.

Just thinking about wizards and terriers makes me wish I were Dorothy — sleepily opening my eyes to Auntie Em placing a cold rag on my forehead. In my case it would be Kissie sitting at my bedside with a jumbo cold compress. "Wake up, baby," she'd say. "You've just had a bad bad dream."

It was a dream all right, it just wasn't mine.

Fourteen months and a mound of heartache later, my compass is pointing south again, and my speedometer is creeping toward eighty. Despite having three unlikely Vermont comrades helping me to find the road back, an old German wicked witch named Helga hindered that road, making it rockier than the Appalachian Trail not twenty miles from the front door of my Vermont inn. Not only did she swindle me out of both my business and my marriage, she despised my own terrier — a small, helpless Yorkie by the name of Princess Grace Kelly. Gracie couldn't stand Helga, either; probably one of the reasons her little heart finally pooped out. Even though she's forever buried up in the freezing cold North, I've got the cross from her grave sitting right here on the passenger's seat next to me on our way back home.

I can see home in the distance. The parallelogram of Tennessee on the welcome sign slowly emerges the closer I get. The February sun is setting to the right of it and as I roll over the state line my heart rate seems to slow down. A calm washes over me like a warm shot of Grand Marnier, sliding down my throat and coating my insides. It's been over a year since I've been home and I wouldn't doubt it if I've given myself early high blood pressure.

We've been driving for three days — my two little girls and me — 1,473 miles due south. Sarah and Isabella are in the backseat and I steal another peek at them in my rearview mirror. Their little heads are resting against the sides of their car seats, the monotony of the boundless pavement finally lulling them to sleep. For the first time all day it's quiet.

Since leaving Vermont, in one heck of a nor'easter I might add, I've paid equal attention to the traffic and my heartstrings. It is a wonder we haven't rear-ended anyone, and an even bigger one that my sultry grin isn't yet a permanent fixture on my face. Between New York and Pennsylvania all I've thought about is the man who stole my heart — and who, only hours ago, sealed our months of longing with a not-so-chaste kiss in George Clark's gas station parking lot. Peter Owen saved my restaurant and my pride when my husband left me for a blond bombshell with a face and bosoms only money could — and did — buy. Helga is the one responsible for their meeting, just one of the many "wicked witch" maneuvers she employed as part of her nasty scheme to repossess our inn.

The rest stops between Pennsylvania and Virginia were punctuation marks in my romantic recollecting. A stream of consciousness brewed in my mind: when Peter and I danced to Van Morrison's "Into the Mystic," the first time I tasted his white chocolate mousse, and the moment in the kitchen after my inn's grand opening when we both knew the sparks flying weren't just from the faulty stove.

And now, in Tennessee, some seventy-two hours have passed but I'm reduced to schoolgirl antics, playing our sole kiss over and over in my mind. I've run that kiss through my head, every minute detail, a thousand times already. How he tasted, how his lips felt against mine, the way his tongue moved slowly around my mouth, and how my heart swirled and danced under his touch. I suppose I'll have to live on that memory until the first time he comes to town. Memphis in May, perhaps? That's the perfect time of year. He'll arrive for the Beale Street Music Festival and stay for the whole month. After all, May means Mud Season back in Vermont. And Mud Season, or "The Thaw" as the Vermonters call it, means there won't be any work for him there. Heck, the whole state practically shuts down during that time.

Springtime in Memphis, however, is glorious. We'll go to the Memphis in May Barbecue Festival and the Sunset Symphony together. We'll watch the ducks walk the red carpet at the Peabody Hotel and we'll hang out with Virginia and John, Mary Jule and Al, Alice and Richard, and we'll ... the girls will die when I show up unannounced. I cannot wait to see the look on Virginia Murphey's face when I pull up in her driveway in oh, about eight more hours. I figure it'll probably be that late by the time my daughters and I go to a drive -through for dinner and take at least three more tee-tee breaks. She and John will be sound asleep but I'll call her cell and she'll answer anyway. It won't be the first time I've dialed her at one in the morning.

Of course Alice, the bossiest of the three, will wonder why in the world I didn't come to her house. Mary Jule might be disappointed, too, but she would never question any decision I make. It's hard having to choose between three best friends. The only reason I'm driving to Virginia's house is because, well, honestly, she knows me the best. You can't room with someone all four years of college, and every summer in between, and not know everything there is to know about each other. Virginia knows that I wax my bikini line, and I know about the few little hairs that grow around her nipples and how she sometimes lets them grow too long and forgets to shave them. Modesty goes out the window when you're living with someone you've known since the age of five.

Alice and Mary Jule know plenty of my secrets, too, but there's just something about Virginia that soothes me. She's got a calming effect on my soul. Perhaps that's because she's never one time judged me about anything, or maybe it's just as plain and simple as the fact that we've never been interested in the same man. Our types are completely opposite. She likes more of a girl's guy and I've always been attracted to the guy's guy. John is perfectly happy to shop with her all day long. He's also the type to wear a Lily tie or lime-green shorts. I prefer the rugged look. I'll take a man who wears a Henley shirt over an argyle sweater, any day of the week.

Virgy — that's what I call her — and I just flat-out love one another. To this day, we've never been in a single fight. Actually, that's not quite true. The closest Virginia has come to scolding me in our twenty-nine-year friendship was when I let my husband talk me into moving to Vermont in the first place. And now, truth be told, she had every right.

I got the idea from Mama. She had always told me that being a good wife meant following your husband. She claimed she didn't really want to move to Memphis, either, away from Greenwood, Mississippi, but she did it because it's what Daddy wanted her to do. "It would have been one thing," she used to say, "to move to Jackson. Several of my best friends from Ole Miss lived there." Kissie told me that she had once overheard a phone conversation between Mama and one of her friends. Said my grandfather told Daddy that he'd teach him to be a great farmer if he'd just dig his heels into the Mississippi Delta and not move to Memphis. He told Daddy that all the cotton land stretched out as far as the eye could see could be his, if he'd just lay his roots down in Mississippi and leave Mama right where she belonged, in her own hometown. Like me, Mama was an only child.

But Daddy's roots couldn't be planted in the middle of a cotton field. Daddy told him, "Mr. Grov'a, I appreciate the off'a, but I don't need your cotton fields. I've got a cotton family business waiting on me two hours naw'th of here and I won't have to get dirt under my finga'nails. I'll buy your cotton and won't ever have to break a sweat." Daddy wasn't the farmer type. He'd rather work out of his old warehouse on Front Street, or Cotton Row as they call it, right in the middle of all the buying and selling.

I was raised in a stand-by-your-man household, and I also happened to fall head-over-heels in love with a football quarterback I first saw in the tenth grade. Even though my red-and-blue cheerleading skirt barely covered my backside, Baker Satterfield never looked my way, all because my chest was flat. That all changed, though, the summer before my senior year. When I ran out onto the football field that fall, pom-poms raised high above my head, my bosoms had blossomed into a natural size D, almost overnight. That man took notice of me then, and after swapping class rings, numerous road trips from Ole Miss to UT, horrendous long-distance telephone bills, and a proposal that would make even Scarlett O'Hara swoon, we finally tied the knot a couple of years after we both graduated from college. We had, at least at first, what I would call a wonderful marriage: two beautiful daughters, a gorgeous home in Memphis, lifelong friends, great sex, and a social life that involved peach daiquiris and other succulent activities. So when my true love told me of his lifelong desire to open an inn in Vermont — well, I had to follow my man.

Turns out my man followed something of his own and left our barely opened B&B, our girls, and our dog, not to mention our dream life, in my (then) manicured hands. Leaving my beloved Memphis had been nearly heartbreaking — so when Baker fell into the arms of a ski resort owner whose cleavage rivaled her black diamonds — I nearly ran right home. But Peter, and a host of Vermonters who saved me from vampire bugs, nor'easter snowstorms, and a Mud Season that was worse than a kudzu jungle, convinced me to finally stand on my own two feet ... and I did.

The Peach Blossom Inn became Willingham, Vermont's hot spot for tourists, skiers, leaf peepers, and anyone who wanted to try Peter's famous shrimp dijonaisse. But when an outside offer came along to buy the operation from my frazzled and overworked arms, it was an honest-to-goodness relief. I may have worn my L.L. Bean duck boots with the best of them, but my heart was always in Dixie. In just two days, I packed up like we'd never even been there and prepared to drive south to return home in surprise fashion. The only thing to temper my utter joy was the fact that I'd be leaving Peter — a man who could wear flannel shirts and jeans and look as dashing as any Southern gentleman in coat and tails I'd ever seen. In between saving my restaurant and nudging me toward restoring my self-worth, he'd become a dear friend and eventually someone I started caring about more than I was prepared for.

Even though I tried to dash away as quickly as possible, an attempt at quickly severing our ties to Vermont, on the way out of town Peter finally made the move I'd both yearned for and dreaded — and that darn kiss just made departing seem so wrong. For as many times as I'd studied his mouth with his full, perfectly sculpted cherry lips, I hadn't anticipated our kiss would happen when it did. Or that it would be so romantic or have the lingering effect it's had as I've crossed state line after state line.

As if to prove my point, a loud horn brings me back to reality and the fact that Peter's kiss has both stolen my heart and, apparently, my ability to drive in a straight line.

I adjust the wheel and my elbow hits a solid object — oh, Gracie's cross from her grave marker wedged in between a pillow and my cosmetic case. If it weren't for me she'd be lying right here in my lap, licking the saltiness off my hands. She no more wanted to move up to Vermont than the man in the moon. I didn't either but I figured it was my place. My responsibilty to Baker.

I can't help but beat myself up for bringing Princess Grace Kelly up to the frigid North, where I had to leave her body for all of eternity. I know she was old and all, fifteen to be exact, but I'm told Yorkies sometimes live to be eighteen or even twenty. I think her body gave out because her blood froze to death. I know mine did, but I'm a lot younger than she was, if you figure she was 105 in people years.

Frankly, I ought to be blaming Baker. He's the one who moved us up there in the first place. I used to be the biggest doormat in America but I am not anymore. I know, I know, I have my own mind, and nobody, not to mention a Southern woman, should do anything just because someone else wants them to. That's called codependency. Stupid's more like it. I will never let a man make my decisions for me again. Never. Well, I haven't been put to the test yet, but that's my plan.

Virginia's house is totally dark when I pull up in her driveway. Nary a light in sight. Sarah lifts her brunette head when I turn off the engine. "Where are we?"

"Virginia's house," I whisper, trying hard not to wake Isabella. Digging into my purse, I fumble for my cell. After dialing her number by heart, the call goes straight to voice mail. What? She never turns off her cell phone at night. I can't ring the doorbell and take a chance on waking up all three of her young children, so I call back, just in case. Same thing. After sitting in the cold only a minute I decide to go ahead and call the home phone anyhow. It rings just four times before I get the same result and pretty soon I'm starting to wonder what in the heck I'm going to do. "Well, shoot. Now what?" I say.

"Who are you calling, Mama?" Sarah asks.

"Virginia, but I guess she's asleep." I'm annoyed and Sarah knows it.

"It is one o'clock in the morning." She's pointing to the red illuminated digital clock next to the radio. My six-year-old, the voice of reason.

I think about trying the windows and doors but no one in Memphis goes to sleep with their doors unlocked, not to mention without setting the alarm. The last thing I need to do is scare them. John, Virginia's husband, doesn't seem like the type to own a gun, but who knows these days? The crime in Memphis seems to be getting worse and worse every year.

I try calling a few times more before finally giving up. Leaving her a message would ruin the surprise so I press the end button, toss the phone back in my purse, and back our mud-coated old BMW down the driveway, turning my car in the opposite direction.

Twenty minutes later, when I pull up in Kissie's driveway, I turn off my headlights so they won't illuminate her bedroom. At eighty-one years old the last thing she needs is to feel frightened. I don't know why I didn't plan on coming here in the first place. After all, she's the closest thing to a mother I've got. Six weeks after I was born, the baby nurse that Daddy hired, in keeping with the standards of Memphis society, placed me in the arms of my white mother, only to be passed over to the arms of my black mother, so Mama could get her beauty rest. Just thinking about snuggling up in Kissie's cushiony arms again soothes me and I open my car door.

Sarah unhinges the belt on her car seat and slides over the console in between the front seats. I step out of the car and she reaches out for me to pick her up. At six, her arms and legs can wrap all the way around me but she still likes the security of my arms. As we walk toward the front porch I notice the black iron on the front door and the windows that have been freshly painted. There's a black urn planted with pansies in front of the stoop and two black iron chairs sit on the small porch in front of the picture window. Kissie sits there during the late afternoons so she can wave to her neighbors when they come home from work. Although her house is tiny, it's made of smooth, uniform red brick and the yard, by far the best groomed on the street, is perfectly clipped and trimmed. Her old Plymouth Fury sits under a small attached carport.

Any rap on the door would be a futile attempt at rousing her elderly ears so I go ahead and ring the doorbell. Several minutes pass before I hear a rumbling on the other side of the front door. Kissie barely pulls back the heavy beige curtains covering the picture window and peeks outside. I hear the dead bolt click. The door opens slightly and her face appears just above the four-inch brass chain, which adds further protection from anyone who doesn't belong.

"Is that you, baby?" Although it's pitch black outside, the crescent moon has illuminated our silhouettes.

"I'm home, Kissie."

She unhinges the chain and opens the first door, the sash on her pink fuzzy bathrobe loosely wrapped around her large middle. The keys on her keychain jingle as she turns the last dead bolt to open the heavy iron storm door. "Lawd, have mercy alive. Who is this?" A big smile spreads across her face as she stretches out her arms. "Come give Kissie some sugar." Sarah and I melt into her huge bosoms. When I reach up to kiss her cheek, it's greasy from Vaseline, her moisturizer of choice. "Where is Isabella?" she asks.

"In the car," I say, not wanting to budge from her embrace.

She snatches her arm back and nudges me away. "You better git her inside, 'fore she freezes or gets nabbed."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Yankee Doodle Dixie by Lisa Patton. Copyright © 2011 Lisa Patton. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.

Meet the Author

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 third 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.


LISA PATTON spent over twenty years in the music industry before discovering her passion for novel writing and is now the bestselling author of Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'Easter and Yankee Doodle Dixie. Both novels have been featured on the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Bestseller List, and in 2010 Lisa was selected by Target as an Emerging Author. Born and raised in Memphis, Lisa spent time as a Vermont innkeeper until three sub-zero winters sent her speeding back down South. When she’s not writing Lisa guides walking tours of Historic Downtown Franklin, her hometown in Tennessee, and also writes for Southern Exposure Magazine. Lisa is the proud mother of two sons and a little Havanese pooch named Rosie.

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Yankee Doodle Dixie 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
JuniperJenny More than 1 year ago
Leelee is a fun and engaging character. I enjoyed reading about her life. After finishing this book, I found myself questioning why she would seemingly take a step back with her job at the radio station. She became so empowered in the first book when she stood up to the German Witch and I was a little surprised that she would tolerate an overbearing boss after being so empowered. After reading this book, I realized that she returned "home" but it was not the same home she had known before, which enabled her to make seemingly silly or redundant mistakes. She had to create a whole new life for the second time in as many years. That's not an easy task, but she should have carried the insight and confidence from her previous experiences with her as she embarked on her new journey back home. Liam and Riley were unecessary distractions in the book. I wanted to see more of Peter! It was a little hard to believe that they were apart for so many months without any contact after they had fallen in love. I kept reading ahead to see when he would appear! The author also did a lot of retelling of events from the first book, which was completely unecessary.
CharlotteLynnsReviews More than 1 year ago
LeeLee Satterfield follows her Husband, Baker, to Vermont, cause good southern girls stick by their man, to open The Peach Blossom Inn. After making The Peach Blossom Inn a huge success, her husband leaves her and their two young girls for his mistress. LeeLee decides to sell the Inn and move back home to Memphis. When she gets back to Memphis she finds out life is not the same as when she left. Kissie, Alice, Mary Jule, and Virginia are all in the Memphis area to help and support LeeLee as she has to learn how to be a single mother and has to deal with the town gossips. She realizes with her best friends by her side anything can be done. LeeLee manages to find a place to live and a job and still have great fun with her friends and family. LeeLee is the true heroine in this novel. She shows her bravery first by leaving all that is familiar to her and following her husband to Vermont to start a new business in a new town with new friends. When her marriage fails, her bravery shows again, she decides she has to take her children and move back home, where she has no home and no job, but plenty of good friends to help her find her way. Yankee Doodle Dixie truly has me cheering for LeeLee and her girls. I loved that her second mother, Kissie, Took her in and helped her with the girls with no questions asked. The fact that her girlfriends never gave her any grief about her lives decision made them be the kind of friends every girl needs. I won’t give away the ending but it was perfect. Lisa Patton wrote an amazing novel that made me smile and laugh. The southern feel to Yankee Doodle Dixie made it a perfect sunny day read. I cannot wait for more stories about LeeLee.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Should have been the middle book of a trilogy. I was expecting the North to come to Memphis and that didn't happen until the last chapter.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was enjoyable. Not a book that I just couldn't wait to read but it was nice. Kept me interested. Nice simple story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
What a great book about friendship and getting another chance at a happy life. Highly recommend it.
DylansMomma More than 1 year ago
Loved Lisa Patton's first novel... but the follow up was a disappointment.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Leelee "Fiery" Satterfield married her high school sweetheart and left their Memphis home to build a successful Dixie B&B in Vermont. When her spouse left her and their two daughters for bigger boobs, Leelee decides Vermont was his dream. She sells the B&B and with her kids returns to Memphis. Her only New England regret is leaving behind Peter the chef. Back in Memphis, Leelee's late parents' former housekeeper Kissie helps her take care of the house and the kids. Leelee obtains a job at Classic Hits FM 99 and reunites with her best friends. At the station she becomes victim to DJ Johnny's pranks and the assaults including olfactory of Stan the jock. Rock star Liam White meets and likes Leelee so he invites her to attend his New York show, which breaks the station's rule of no extracurricular activity with the "guests". The second Leelee comedic escapades are an entertaining southern family drama but lose the edgy cultural war of a Tennessee rebel in Vermont that made the first tale refreshingly unique (Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter). Still this is a fun tale starring a thirtyish woman whose family (including Kissie), friends and professional relationships make for an entertaining migration back to Dixie. Harriet Klausner
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Jerk