High Cotton

High Cotton

by Debby Mayne

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Some families are filled with so much love they can’t help but drive each other crazy 

Shay Henke has mixed feelings about going to her family’s next reunion. On the one hand, she’ll get to see everyone in her mama's family—folks she loves unconditionally. On the other hand, she knows there’ll be more drama than you can shake a stick at. 

The days leading up to the event bring one surprise after another. First Shay must deal with her sister-in-law’s deep, dark secret. Then she has to contend with the childish ways of her business-mogul twin cousins. And when her high school crush wants to be her date to the reunion . . . well, it may have been a dream come true for Shay’s teen self, but the woman she’s become doesn’t know what to make of this. 

Shay’s contentment is challenged, and she’s determined to shake things up a bit. But will she find the excitement she’s looking for, or will Shay realize she prefers her quiet and predictable life? One thing is certain: Life in the Bucklin family is never boring. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781683701316
Publisher: Gilead Publishing
Publication date: 03/13/2018
Series: Bucklin Family Reunion , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 552,055
File size: 5 MB

About the Author

Debby Mayne writes family and faith-based romances, cozy mysteries, and women's fiction. She is the author of more than 60 novels and novellas—plus more than 1,000 short stories, articles, and devotions for busy women. High Cotton is the first book in the Bucklin Family Reunion series.  

Read an Excerpt


When someone mentions family, I think of unconditional love, hearth, home, and all things safe and wonderful. That is, until the word "reunion" is added to it.

Family reunions serve one purpose as far as I can tell — to remind us that we're only one step away from Crazy Town, no matter how hard we've worked to stay sane and make something of ourselves. And I've worked mighty hard to get where I am, regardless of what Aunt Faye says about my being an old maid.

So when I get the message on the family email loop that the next family reunion is coming up in two months, I stare at it and try to figure out a way to unsee it. Unfortunately, as soon as I open the email, the person who sent it knows, making me long for the days when technology wasn't so smart and we didn't have everyone on the same service to see when the email was picked up.

I stare out the window and try to come up with a reason I shouldn't go. It's on a Saturday, and I hardly ever have to work on weekends. I'm not dating anyone, and I have very few friends outside my family, so I can't claim to have other plans. I can't think of a thing to keep me away, unless I lie, and I've never been very good at that, so I quit trying when I was a teenager. Mama used to tell me she got into so much trouble as a kid that she knows all the excuses. And she's not kidding. I've never been able to pull anything over on her.

I turn back to the announcement on the computer screen. We used to get a couple weeks' notice about these events, but that changed to a couple of months when people started overusing the excuse that they had plans. Now there are no excuses — not even when someone has moved away from Pinewood, the small town near Hattiesburg, Mississippi, where my grandparents have lived all their lives. If the people who have to travel don't want to stay with someone who still lives here, there's always the Hilltop Family Inn, or they can stay in one of the chain hotels in Hattiesburg.

I'm about to get up to get a drink of water when my phone rings. It's my brother, Digger, who feels the same way I do about these reunion things.

"I'm not sure we'll be able to attend," Digger says. "It's Jeremy's third birthday, and Puddin' wants to do it up big for him, seein' as it's our last child and all."

"What better way to do it up big than to bring him to the family reunion where you'll have scores of aunts, uncles, and cousins twice removed to give him more attention than he'll ever need?"

"Shay. Seriously."

"Just sayin'."

"What are you going to do?" Digger sounds condescending, and his voice annoys me.

"I thought I'd rent a husband and a Cadillac for the day just to get everyone off my back."

He laughs. "I know you're not going to rent a husband because no one will ever measure up to Elliot."

"Digger." I hope he gets my tone of finality. Digger is the only person who knew about my crush on Elliot Stevens back in high school.

"Okay, let's start over." He clears his throat. "Really, Shay? A Cadillac? Can't you at least get a Beemer?"

"No, Digger, not really. I'm not planning to rent a car or a husband. Are you too dense to recognize sarcasm?"

"I knew what you were doing."

"Sure you did. At any rate, if I go, I think you should, too." I pause. "You know how Mama will be if you don't show up. Besides, she'll want to brag on Jeremy and show him off, he's so cute."

"True. I'll talk to Puddin'." I hear commotion over the phone. "I gotta go, Shay. Puddin' needs me to help put Jeremy to bed. He's been givin' us fits lately."

"Give Puddin' my love." How hard can it be to put a pint-sized person to bed? I laugh. Digger is like a loaf of French bread — crusty and macho on the outside but soft in the middle.

After we hang up, I read the email again. It says to RSVP, but I don't have to do it right this minute. Not normally one to procrastinate, I figure I'm okay just this one time.

I've barely stood up from my computer chair when my phone rings again. This time it's Mama.

"Why haven't you responded?"

"Um ..."

"I know you saw the message. It says right here that you read it almost twenty minutes ago."

"Mama! Are you the one planning this?"

"Not exactly. There's a group of us —"

"Why didn't you warn me?" I pause to try to get the shriek out of my voice. "You know how I feel about these things."

"And that's precisely why you need to go. Everyone cares about you, even though you keep pushing us away."

Do I hear a sniffle on the other end of the line? I clear my throat.

"I'm sure they do care, but last time they showed me how much they cared, a week later I got a half dozen phone calls from guys those caring folks gave my number to."

"They're just trying to help, sweetie. You need to get out there and meet some men."

"I meet plenty of men at work."

"Yeah," she agrees. "They're all stuffy types who have no idea where you come from. Don't you forget for one minute who you are, Shay."

"I know, I know." I find it amusing that Mama thinks the men I meet at work are stuffy. If anyone's stuffy, it's me.

I don't say what I'm thinking — that I've worked hard to hide the redneck in my bloodline. It's one thing to be a redneck and another to be a geek. But being both ... well, it's all a matter of perception. It'll always be there, and I'm not saying it's always a bad thing. I just don't think being a redneck helps encourage respect from the people I manage. Or date.

"So are you going or not?"

"I don't think —"

"If you decide not to go, there's no tellin' what everyone will say about you." Mama blows out a breath. "You know how some of our kinfolk can talk behind people's backs."

"I don't care what —"

"But I do. I care a lot. You're my little girl, and I love you to pieces, and it just kills me when I hear —"

"All right, Mama. I'll go." I'm not in the mood to hear Mama's diatribe about how she suffered the whole nine and a half months she was pregnant with me, how much she worried about the fact that I was a clumsy kid and lived in fear that I'd break my neck doing some daredevil stunt, how late she'd stayed up waiting for me the two times I went out when I was a teenager, and how she feared for my life when I left for college. I mean, isn't that all a part of parenting? It's expected.

"Good girl. Now don't forget to bring something. You don't have to cook anything. We always need potato chips at these things."

"I can cook now. I'll make something good, like maybe deviled eggs," I say before clicking the Off button. I might have agreed to go, but I'm still a rebel. Now let Mama worry that I'll leave the mayonnaise out on the counter too long and give everyone food poisoning. I've tried explaining that it's not the mayo that makes people sick, but she's not one to take lessons from her young'uns.

I plop back down in front of my computer, accept the invitation, and type the dish I plan to bring. My attitude is rotten, and it probably comes through. I haven't figured out why it takes so little these days to annoy me, but I'm praying the Lord will show me so I can do something about it.

I take a deep breath and blow it out. Forgive me, Lord. You know how I struggle with family stuff. I'll try to do better.

This wouldn't be so difficult if I had a man in my life, more because of what other people think than what I need. Although, I have to admit, I wouldn't mind someone to cuddle with on a cold night. Some of my aunts, uncles, and cousins will say something to me about the fact that I'm in my late thirties and still single. The ones who don't will talk behind my back. It always happens. Mama's right about my not showing up. People will assume the worst, and I'll hear about it after the gossip has made the rounds.

An overwhelming urge to find an award-winning deviled egg recipe washes over me. I might be an old maid in some people's minds, but one thing they can't call me is a slacker. When I do something, I do it right.

I turn back to the computer and Google "deviled egg recipes." Most of them are the same — boiled eggs sliced in half, a dollop of mayonnaise, a smidge of mustard, a spoonful of pickle relish, and something colorful to dash them with after they're on the platter. Too common. I want something to wow 'em.

For the next couple of hours, I search recipe after recipe until I finally find the perfect one. It has one secret ingredient that no one will be able to resist. Bacon bits. And who doesn't love bacon?


Puddin' Henke

"I don't care what they say about Shay, I think she's a smart girl," Digger says.

I look at him from above my reading glasses. "Men don't care about smart," I remind him.

"What are you talkin' about? I'm a man. I know what men like." He gives me a scowl. "She's pretty, too."

"In a harsh, corporate-executive, hair-pulled-back-so-tight-her-eyes-are-squinty sort of way. I've told her more than once that she might want to loosen her hair a tad." I put down the book I've been reading, get up out of my La-Z-Boy recliner, and walk over to the man I've been married to for near 'bout twenty years. "Face it, Digger. Your sister has no idea how pretty she is or all the wonderful things she has to offer. I love her to death, but she chose her path in life, and it's not exactly one that'll keep her warm at night."

Digger sighs. "I just don't want her feelin' like she has to apologize for everything she does or chooses."

"She doesn't, sweetheart. Shay will always have us. She's your sister, and that makes her my sister, too." I give him a half-smile. "Besides, I really do care about her. Did you know she's the most trustworthy person I know?"

Digger casts a dubious half-smile in my direction before giving me a clipped nod. "I appreciate that, Puddin'." He lifts the newspaper that he's been trying to read since morning. "Did you see there's a sale on riding lawn mowers over at Jackie's Farm Store?"

I snort. "What on earth would you do with a riding lawn mower?"

"Mow the lawn." He gives me a disapproving glance.

"What else would I do?"

The look of desire on his face is something I haven't seen in a while, and even though it's for a lawn mower, I can't resist. "Okay, Digger, if that's what you really want, I don't see why you can't have it."

"Do you mean that?" He gets up out of his chair and walks toward me.

"Of course I do. After all, I'm finally in my dream house, so who am I to deny you something you want?" He reaches for my hand. I give it, and he pulls me to my feet. I love when Digger shows me some love, and if it takes a lawn mower, well, so be it.

"You know, Puddin', me and you make a great team."

I look up into his eyes and smile. "We do."

My heart aches when he doesn't smile back. He lets go of my hand and shakes his head. "You'd think that between the two of us we'd be able to figure out how to get out of my family reunion that's coming up. I don't get why they keep havin' 'em so close together. Didn't we just have one a few months ago?"

I nod, and as he backs away, I practically throw myself at him. "I think we should go to this one. After all, we finally have something to brag on."

"Jeremy?" he asks.

"Well, yeah, we can brag on him, too. But I'm talkin' about this house. We can take a bunch of pictures and pass 'em around to everyone. They'll all be so impressed that we finally have a brick, ranch-style house with big ol' shutters and a two-car garage."

In spite of Digger's feelings about going to the reunion, he snorts. "I don't know that anyone in my family will be as impressed as you think they'll be."

"Oh, they'll be impressed, all right, even if they don't show it. I know your family near 'bout as well as I know my own."

He lets out a groan. "Well, since you didn't give me any flak about the ridin' lawn mower, I'll think about it."

"You'll think about it?"

"Okay, Puddin', I reckon we'll go."

"And you'll go with a good attitude?" I lift one eyebrow — a skill I've recently learned after countless hours practicing in front of the bathroom mirror.

He grimaces and nods. "If it's that important to you." He yawns and stretches. "I best be headin' off to bed. Mornin' comes mighty early around here during the week."

"I'll be there shortly."

Out of the corner of my eye, I see Digger shaking his head and his mouth moving as he mumbles something about my need to be accepted. As much as I hate to admit it, he knows me all too well.

All my life, I've felt like the poor kid. I remember from a very early age when folks would drop off big bags of clothes that Mama would sort and stack for all six of us young'uns. "This might not fit you now, but you'll grow into it," became her mantra.

Daddy used to say we were too poor to paint and too proud to whitewash, when he talked about the sorry excuse for the crumbling wood house we grew up in. Something was always broken, but we managed to find ways to do what it took to get through life.

Mama tried to put on a positive face when we went out as a family, but I could see her shame behind the facade. It hurt me as much as I'm sure it did her, but there wasn't a thing any of us could do about it. At least not until we became adults.

All of us are doin' just fine now, and we're able to send Mama some money every month to supplement her little social security check. Daddy took sick about ten years ago, and he was finally able to meet his Maker, knowing everything would be just fine with his family, now that we're all grown up and able to tend to Mama.

Every single, solitary one of us is much better off than my parents ever were. My siblings all have jobs and nice homes. My Digger has a great job with UPS, and he gets to wear that cute little brown uniform that makes me tingle all over. I've always loved men in uniform.

My brother Billy Ray is a hauler with his own fleet of trucks that take cargo coast to coast. Mason started out going to college but quickly learned that he was a better salesman than student. Now he sells used cars up in North Carolina, so we don't see much of him since he works seven days a week. Here in Mississippi, most of them close on Sunday, but apparently where he lives now, people never stop shopping for cars. Mason has never been one to miss out on making an extra dime. Once he started making money, he became addicted. Too bad he doesn't take some time off to enjoy it, but at least his young'uns are livin' in high cotton. Tyrell is a maintenance supervisor in a hospital down in Biloxi. My only living sister, Patricia, became a bank teller, married the branch manager, and eventually became a stay-at-home mama just like me. The oldest of us young'uns, Sue Ellen, didn't go to the doctor when she found a lump in her breast, so it spread until she wasn't treatable. We lost her several years ago, shortly after Daddy passed. It still makes me sad, but at least we all have comfort in knowing she loved the Lord. I figure she's up in heaven with Daddy, scopin' the place out for the rest of us.

So now I want to show off what me and Digger have accomplished through hard work, determination, and the desire to pull out of our lowerthan-humble beginnings. Digger was better off growing up than I was, but not by much. He still talks about how they wouldn't have had much on their plates if it weren't for his mama bein' such a good gardener and havin' the ability to squeeze a quarter so tight he could hear the eagle scream. When he tells me I can't buy something I want, I accuse him of takin' after his mama. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't. All depends on the last conversation he and his mama had.

Since we bought this house before the builder put the final touches on it, I still have brochures, swatches, and samples of everything we got to pick out. I open the bottom drawer of the buffet table in the dining room and pull out the box of memorabilia from the pickin'-out stage of our home-buying experience.

I lovingly stroke the square piece of carpet that I'm still in love with. It's not the highest end, but it's not the cheap, not-enough-yarn-to-coverthe-backing quality either. It's much better than what we had in the rental house. Some folks say we should have gone with hardwood, but we couldn't afford that option.

Before I head to my room, I jot down my to-do list for tomorrow, which includes taking pictures of all the rooms in the house so I can pass my phone around at Digger's family reunion. For once, I'll have something besides the kids to brag on.

We were still in the buying stage during the last reunion, so I promised Digger I'd keep quiet about it in case something went wrong. I don't think he believed it would actually happen until it did.


Excerpted from "High Cotton"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Debby Mayne.
Excerpted by permission of Gilead Publishing.
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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High Cotton 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
I was very excited to read this book by a wonderful author. The thought of going to a family reunion when I was younger m ade me ill to think about. My family was not close and family reunions usually meant fights and overall chaos. This book is nothing like that. I loved how everyone in the book talked about the reunion and seemed to be happy to go. Of course there are always the relatives that feel the need to brag. To me its like being at a class reunion. Everyone trying to out do the other. It does make for some laughs and good times. The characters were fun to get to know and if I had to pick a favorite it would be Puddin. I love her name and my heart went out to her. She has some self esteem issues and I wanted to hug her and tell her she is perfect just the way she is. I love the twists in the book and secrets that slowly come out . The southern theme in the book is perfect. I'm from the south and we sure love our sweet tea and get together's. It's true we love to celebrate and have a good time. There are a few surprises in the book which were fun to find out. I loved the foods mentioned in the story and best of all this is a new series, so we will get to know this family really well. It's time to grab a glass of sweet tea and settle in for a charming story. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The review is my own opinion.
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
I was very excited to read this book by a wonderful author. The thought of going to a family reunion when I was younger m ade me ill to think about. My family was not close and family reunions usually meant fights and overall chaos. This book is nothing like that. I loved how everyone in the book talked about the reunion and seemed to be happy to go. Of course there are always the relatives that feel the need to brag. To me its like being at a class reunion. Everyone trying to out do the other. It does make for some laughs and good times. The characters were fun to get to know and if I had to pick a favorite it would be Puddin. I love her name and my heart went out to her. She has some self esteem issues and I wanted to hug her and tell her she is perfect just the way she is. I love the twists in the book and secrets that slowly come out . The southern theme in the book is perfect. I'm from the south and we sure love our sweet tea and get together's. It's true we love to celebrate and have a good time. There are a few surprises in the book which were fun to find out. I loved the foods mentioned in the story and best of all this is a new series, so we will get to know this family really well. It's time to grab a glass of sweet tea and settle in for a charming story. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The review is my own opinion.
Deana0326 More than 1 year ago
I was very excited to read this book by a wonderful author. The thought of going to a family reunion when I was younger m ade me ill to think about. My family was not close and family reunions usually meant fights and overall chaos. This book is nothing like that. I loved how everyone in the book talked about the reunion and seemed to be happy to go. Of course there are always the relatives that feel the need to brag. To me its like being at a class reunion. Everyone trying to out do the other. It does make for some laughs and good times. The characters were fun to get to know and if I had to pick a favorite it would be Puddin. I love her name and my heart went out to her. She has some self esteem issues and I wanted to hug her and tell her she is perfect just the way she is. I love the twists in the book and secrets that slowly come out . The southern theme in the book is perfect. I'm from the south and we sure love our sweet tea and get together's. It's true we love to celebrate and have a good time. There are a few surprises in the book which were fun to find out. I loved the foods mentioned in the story and best of all this is a new series, so we will get to know this family really well. It's time to grab a glass of sweet tea and settle in for a charming story. I received a copy of this book from the publisher. The review is my own opinion.
hes7 More than 1 year ago
Full of family drama and Southern charm, High Cotton by Debby Mayne is a delight to read. Each character brings something unique to the story, through their circumstances, personality, and wants, as it centers around a family reunion and unfolds from different perspectives. There are a few secrets, some learned lessons, a bit of romance, and a whole lot of crazy family quirkiness, and I enjoyed every page. It made me laugh, it made me tear up, and it left me wanting more of the Bucklin family. A quick and heartwarming read, High Cotton is a perfect book for readers of Southern contemporary fiction, and I recommend it. Thanks to Litfuse Publicity Group, I received a complimentary copy of High Cotton and the opportunity to provide an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review, and all the opinions I have expressed are my own.
bellesmoma16 More than 1 year ago
High Cotton (2018) by Debby Mayne is the first book in her Bucklin Family Reunion series. High Cotton recently released on March 13, 2018 through Gilead Publishing. This book comes in all forms including eBook, and is 304 pages in length. With a full-time job and a busy, busy five-year old at home, this story took me three days to read. I received a review copy of this novel in paperback form from Gilead Publishing. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give High Cotton 4.5 STARS. This novel is a Contemporary Christian Romance. I dislike family reunions. I know this is not cool to admit, but they make me SO uncomfortable. Part of it is because I’m one of the biggest introverts God has ever created. The idea of living as a hermit sometimes sounds like a great idea to me. But another part is that I’ve always been the black sheep of my family, and I’m definitely the odd one out in my husband’s family. Being the black sheep combined with my introverted personality means gatherings — family or other — cause me severe struggle. BUT, you do for family. And, that is the main point of this book. Family is messy. Family is judgmental. Family is hard. But, family is also there for you when you need them most. Family is a support system that you should be able to lean on in times of struggle. In this day and age where the notion of family seems to be changing at alarming rates, it is exceptionally refreshing to read a story that shows family as it should be: loud, messy, frustrating, nosy, caring, and loving! The four main characters include Shay, Puddin, Sally, and Missy. Each woman is unique in her own right, but I love Shay the best as she is the character I can relate to the most. Shay has an insecurity that keeps her from living life to its fullest. Somewhere along the way, probably at one of her many family reunions where someone said an unkind and/or judgmental thing to her, she got it into her head that she is less than everyone else, which is exactly the opposite of reality. In reality, she is responsible and dependable. She is the person everyone turns to when they need help. Shay has a well-paying, stable job and she owns her own home. But, none of this matters because running on loop in her brain is this message that she isn’t what she should be. This leads to major doubt when Elliot enters her life. Elliot is a handsome man who sees Shay’s value as a woman, but Shay struggles to believe him when he says things like, “You are an amazing woman,” or “You are so beautiful.” She just can’t believe Elliot because his words go against the message she’s believed about herself for so long. Shay’s character is a good reminder to us women. It is so easy for the devil to whisper into our ears all the ways we are unworthy or less than. Once those words are in, we start to think they are our truth. I can’t fathom how many things I may have missed out on because of the lies I felt about myself. We need to, instead, remember that God made us exactly as He deemed perfect. We need to kick the devil’s silver-tongued words out of our heads and replace them with the loving Words of our Father. His opinion of us is the only opinion that truly matters! High Cotton is an engaging novel that I definitely recommend. If you are looking for a fast-paced, fun, sweet story that has some really timely themes for today, then this book is for you!
BTHM More than 1 year ago
If you live in the South, AND in a small town, then you KNOW EVERY character in this book! Seriously! Reading this booktie, I was picking out family members and applying their faces to all the characters in the book! It was so easy it was scary! While this book definitely falls under chick lit/romance, it's a fun easy read and one that you'll laughing out loud too repeatedly. You might even get some food ideas for YOUR family's next reunion! I'll definitely be checking ut the rest of the books in the series, and you'll want to as soon as finish this book too!
MeezCarrie More than 1 year ago
Sassy, southern, and sweet! In High Cotton we meet a passel of characters – most of them Bucklins by birth or by marriage. However, we see the story from the varying first-person perspectives of four specific women: Shay Henke, her sister-in-law Puddin’, her cousin Missy and her second-cousin Sally (one half of a set of twins). The shift in POVs is clear (thanks to chapter headings & different personalites) and this choice in structure is very effective at adding layers to the story and making the characters come alive. None of these women have it all together, making them easy to relate to and cheer on. Readers become fully invested in each woman, watching to see how the various threads intersect and waiting to see how it all plays out. We start the book watching each of the four main characters react to the invitation to another upcoming – infamous – Bucklin family reunion, and as the book progresses everything is gearing up for the big event – one which each of them are attending rather reluctantly. I enjoyed all four of the women and their compelling storylines – from new romance to conflict within marriage to family interaction, they all involve some measure of forging your own identity apart from the expectations of others and letting God shape your path. High Cotton from Debby Mayne builds up anticipation for a family reunion where anything can happen – and it does not disappoint. Yet, even more than the few chapters dedicated to the family reunion itself, the heart of this novel is the characters and their growth throughout. Four different personalities, four different areas of conflict, four different Bucklin women with authentic and sincere hearts. Their story is fun and southern, with a little sass and a lot of family thrown in for good measure. You will laugh and maybe even cry a little but you will definitely be looking forward to what’s in store in book 2! (I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book)
hjsnyder28 More than 1 year ago
High Cotton by Debby Mayne is a unique book in that each chapter brings a different point of view for the reader. Each chapter is the voice of the main character—the character that is experiencing pain, joy, or growth within that particular scene. Therefore, each chapter is titled with varying names, such as Shay, Puddin’, or Sally. I do not believe I have ever read a book constructed in this manner, but I love it! It was so interesting getting to know each character and how they viewed the world they were in—especially since all of the characters were a part of the same setting and family. I can’t wait to read the next book in this series! Shay is the first person the reader is introduced to, and she is a single girl surround by married family members who want to see her enter the same circle. Love has been challenging for her, but at present, she knows two guys who might be potential boyfriend material. Yet, it is difficult to know and understand who these men really are, and what they want out life, because they seem to be constantly sending mixed messages to those around them. As Shay tries to observe their words and actions, she must come to some sort of conclusion about which path she should follow. Puddin’ is married but sees herself entertaining a different role—besides wife and mother. She wants to be challenged in a different way, and she finds a new kind of fulfillment in a bookkeeping job. Of course, she keeps this a secret from her husband and family, and she dreads the day she must tell them about it. Interestingly, throughout Puddin’s journey, the reader beings to understand how each character wants something different out of life. Each character seems to be unhappy with his or her existing circumstance, and the reader must wait to see how each person will strive to find true contentment—in truth, the reader goes on the journey with them. If you love stories where characters find true happiness, learn something about life and themselves, because they pursue wisdom from others, then you will love this book. I recommend checking it out! Happy reading! This review is my honest opinion. Thanks to Litfuse for my copy.
ChatWithVera More than 1 year ago
From the first page, High Cotton has you jumping into the family with both feet and before you know it you're knee deep in characters with their quirks, smirks, roses and thorns, and pure southern goodness. Be prepared because there are stories within the story and you have to have your bonnet tied on tight to keep them all straight as you switch from one point of view to another. What I like about some of the characters....... "Shay" is a strong young Southern woman who is successful in business. She is single, but recently having encountered former high school crush has the date scene looking a bit promising. She is smart. She is successful. She is considerate and loving. "The Twins: Sara and Sally" are in their early 20's and are highly successful (think large bank balances) with their Etsy business of making large bows! I totally love these two energetic, sentence sharing sweeties! "Puddin'" is the middle aged wife and mother who is hiding a secret and who feels unappreciated and unloved. Nothing bad or sinister here, just simple middle age stuff that some sweet women experience. Lots of other characters, but these hit the spot of favoritism with me. And they and all the others prepare for some southern living that really isn't too much different from northern or western living. This is a delightfully fun book to read full of charm, quirkiness, sweetness, and humor that is a good book to share. Who knows? You just might find yourself written in as one of the characters. Will you find yourself in the pages of High Cotton? i received a complimentary copy from Gilead Publishing to facilitate this review. Opinions are my own and are freely given.
busymomoftwo More than 1 year ago
I just finished reading I read the new book by Debby Mayne, High Cotton. High Cotton is the first in the Bucklin Family Reunion Series. The Bucklin family is a very relate-able family and I really enjoyed the format in which the story is written. The author used the point of view of four female members, by birth or marriage, of the Bucklin family to tell the story, which is set primarily in the weeks leading up to what we learn is a more than once a year family reunion. The use of multiple viewpoints is a great way to engage the reader and provide insight to the family. I love that the reader gets the impression that it is one of those events that no one really wants to go to, but everyone realizes that you can't miss it, or you will be the topic of conversation for the family. This is so real life, how many events and not just family events, do we commit to attend, not out of want but out of obligation. Of course, it also made me appreciative of the family that I have and the closeness we have. I was fortunate to grow up in a family where we spent a lot of time with my grandparents, aunts and uncles and cousins and I actually look forward to seeing the family, but as we have grown bigger (and older), it certainly is harder to get together, making those opportunities so much more important to me. Of course, there are several things I have attended out of obligation, so I can still relate. Another 'challenge' for the Bucklin family is that there seems to be a lot of pressure in the family around success, in life and love, and who can make the most and best food for the event. After all, who wants to be that person that shows up with a bag of chips or stack of plates to the family reunion? All four women had an 'image' concerns that they were facing. Some concerns were stuck in the old-fashioned values (or perhaps southern) - a woman should marry, a man should support the family and others were around perceptions of success - having a great job, owning a house. I feel fortunate that we are more inclined to celebrate success and not dwell on our differences. In fact, I don't always see a lot of comparison in my family, but I also know that there is a little bit of that out there, as with most families...my grandma always told me that she enjoyed my wedding the most and I certainly enjoyed knowing that (whether she told us all or not, I don't know, but it doesn't matter because I know she enjoyed mine for sure. I liked that all four women experienced growth through the course of the story. They came to renewed perspectives on their situation, they learned that the truth is important and that people can surprise you and they recognized that faith is important in their lives. For several of them, they developed stronger relationships with family members. Learning from them and even going into business together. Some entered into new relationships, with promise for the future. The way the story was told was comfortable and friendly. The multiple points of view led to short chapters, which made it easy to ready in short or long installments. The characters were enjoyable and the story was very well written. I look forward to the next reunion story in this series. A complimentary review copy was provided to me through Litfuse, all opinions are my own.
vics49548 More than 1 year ago
Family reunion season is almost upon us so I suggest you read this book. You’ll shake your head. You’ll laugh. You’ll be thankful for your family. High Cotton shows us the quirkiness of families but more importantly shows us that family is forever. They’ll have your back and challenge you, all at the same time. Author Debby Maye conveys the Bucklin family story from four different viewpoints. The top of each chapter tells you who is speaking. Make sure to read those so you don’t get confused. Beyond that, it’s an engaging way to tell this story and I enjoyed it. Her characters were larger than life, at times, which added to the enjoyment of the tale. Not being a southern girl, I found the habits of these women quite entertaining. You’ll never hear a northerner talking about being in high cotton or determining to bring the best (several) dishes to a reunion. But it was all fun and made for an amusing read. I highly recommend it! I received a complimentary copy of this book but was not required to leave a review.
Phyllis_H More than 1 year ago
My review is 4.5 Stars I wasn’t sure what to expect from High Cotton or the author. I really liked the way the story was told from the perspectives of four different women in the Bucklin family of varying ages and life stages. The dynamics of this large Southern family made for an enjoyable reading experience. Each of the four women dealt with a crisis in her life. Shay’s love for her family despite their eccentricities and the way they hounded her about the fact she was an old maid was quite admirable. She got to know Sally and Sara, her younger twin cousins and ended up sharing her condo and her knowledge about life and cooking and buying property with them. Her conflict was related to relationships and work. Sally was one of Shay’s twin cousins. She had always done everything with her sister, Sara but change was on the horizon. Navigating this change and learning to develop her identity apart from Sarah was critical for her to accomplish. Puddin’, Shay’s sister-in-law, had a secret she had kept from her husband out of fear that he wouldn’t approve. Despite their deep love for each other, she was afraid to trust that he would not get mad. Missy felt that her husband just didn’t listen to her anymore. He didn’t seem to hear her or to care about the things that were important to her. It was so sad when she won the chili contest and none of her family was there to celebrate, and especially when her husband didn’t even seem to respond when she told him. These four women needed to learn to trust the Lord through their conflicts and fears. Though the story didn’t speak much about their faith, there was a definite thread of it throughout the story. The way the story was told was comfortable and friendly. The characters were enjoyable and the story was very well written. This review was originally posted on AmongTheReads.net I would like to thank Gilead Publishing for giving me this item. My opinion and review were not influenced by this gift.
ChasRay0 More than 1 year ago
High Cotton is Debby Mayne's first installment in her Bucklin Family Series and it's a hoot! If you loved Steel Magnolias or Fried Green Tomatoes you are sure to love this book. Even if you haven't seen either of those movies, I know you will enjoy this book. Shay Henke loves her family although she could do without the dreaded family reunions. It's hard to be a self sufficient single woman in a family who are all married. You know you're going to be the talk of the reunion if you show up without a date, you will also be the subject of gossip if you don't show up at all. What's a girl to do? You bring your favorite dish and put your best foot forward. Shay loves her job, well she used to, now it's just one boring task after another. She used to feel fulfilled, but now? Now she's wondering where her zest for life has gone. Could she be ready for a change or is it the upcoming reunion that's stirring up all these emotions? Puddin' Henke has everything a girl could wish for. A husband who works hard so she doesn't have to. Coming from a very humble beginning Puddin' is so proud of her home, her children, and her husband. Never wanting to feel poor again, Puddin' takes on a secret part time job at a local boutique, La Chic, helping with the books. She has to keep it quiet because Digger is set in his old fashioned ways and doesn't want his wife to work. She really is a lucky woman. She really wishes her sister in law Shay could find her someone so she could be just as happy as she and Digger are. Missy Wright Montague has been married to the same man, Foster, for most of her life. She loves him and knows that he loves her, but, it seems the spark has died. She doesn't think about it often just when she's lonely. Like when her chili takes first prize and there's no one to share it with because Foster is out on a fishing trip. She tries to tell him about it when he comes home but it's like he doesn't even hear her and goes on and on about his buddies and his trip. Oh well, what can you do? At least she knows what dish she's bringing to this years reunion, her blue ribbon chili. Sally and Sara Wright are identical twins. In fact, most of their family can't tell them apart and just refer to them as "the twins". They run a successful hair bow business out of their home. You'd think it would be difficult to be around your twin all the time but for them it's second nature. They can complete each other's sentences and know exactly what the other is thinking with just a look. There is the occasional squabble, but it's quickly settled and they go on about their day. When Sara elopes and marries Justin, a guy she has been dating for mere weeks, the twins bond is tested. Can they survive this? They've always been "the twins" and did everything together, what's Sally supposed to do now? Never in my life have I laughed so hard while reading a book! It has the perfect blend of humor, romance and southern charm. I loved how Ms. Mayne's was able to capture the southern spirit without making it too hokey. Who doesn't love and dread a family reunion at the same time? She was able to take a southern staple and make you feel as though you had a front row seat to the family's/ shenanigans! I really enjoyed High Cotton and cannot wait for the next book in the Bucklin family series! * I was provided a free copy of this book. All opinions expressed are my own.
Shopgirl152ny1 More than 1 year ago
This was a very enjoyable story about four very different ladies from the Bucklin family. Another Bucklin family reunion is coming up and there's plenty of family drama to go around. The chapters alternated between the women as we were shown what's happening in each of their lives and how they feel about it! Shay's in her late 30's, a career woman who just hasn't met the right guy, much to her family's chagrin. She's feeling bored in her job but not sure what else is out there. Her high school crush shows up acting interested in her, which throws her for a loop. She's ready for some excitement and a change. Her sister-in-law. Puddin', has a secret she's keeping from everyone and she worries her husband will be upset if he found out; she also worries she's not getting everything done she should and that she's neglecting her youngest son. Shay's much younger twin cousins are arguing, especially when one makes an impulsive and huge life decision and we get Sally's side of the story. The fourth lady is Missy and she's having marital problems; she feels like her husband doesn't listen to her and takes her for granted. I really liked Shay and could relate to her the best. I enjoyed seeing the transitions she made throughout the book. Her faith was very important to her and she tried to keep a level head when dealing with two potential love interests. Puddin' was entertaining; it seemed like her life was hectic, what with her secret and a toddler to manage. Missy's story I liked the least. Both she and I got frustrated with her husband as he seemed almost mean sometimes and really clueless the others. I thought it seemed like these wives needed to communicate with their husbands, spell things out for them rather than assume they knew what they were thinking. Sally, the twin, was arguing with her sister about their business, their home and this was before her sister went and made a huge life decision with discussing it with her first. I loved how the family was close to each other and the southern feel of the story. Faith in God and prayer were discussed among the different ladies, especially Shay. I really enjoyed this story and want to see where the next one takes this wonderful family! I received this book free from Litfuse Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.
gccbookworm2 More than 1 year ago
Family Drama Families - you got to love them - eccentricity, unconditional love and all! Shay Henke discovers this with the approaching family reunion in the novel "High Cotton" by Debby Mayne. The reader meets several family members and how Shay becomes involved with their lives, their problems, and the effect these relatives have on her life. The woman we meet at the beginning of this book is changed by the end. There is much drama, just as there is in our own families. But through all the ups and downs, Shay holds on to her faith. Join Shay, meet the relatives, and be ready for a roller coaster ride that you won't want to end!! I received a complementary copy of this book from Gilead Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.
Pamelamo More than 1 year ago
Everyone’s family has reunions – don’t they? I grew up in a family that got together at least once a year, usually at Christmas but often for summer BBQs or other occasions that called for getting together and eating, much like the Bucklin family. As I read “High Cotton” I found quite a bit of familiar ground that brought back good memories. But on the other hand, that Bucklin family was just a tad over the top, weren’t they? This first book of the Bucklin Family Reunion series seems to feature Shay, the family old maid, but several other members of the family share a good bit of page space with her, especially her twin cousins and her sister-in-law Puddin. Y’all, this is a Southern novel after all! Well, before this story is done, Shay finds herself with two contenders as potential love interests and changes her mind about them a time or two. Plenty of other shenanigans pop up in due course including an elopement, a move, and even an explosion. I really liked how the author took all the different elements of this story and wove it all together into one special novel. Despite plenty of humor and hijinks, Shay managed to speak her wisdom and faith into the lives of several of her relatives as she gave generously of her time and heart. You really don’t want to miss reading “High Cotton” and I look forward to the next installment. I hope the wait isn’t too long! I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Gilead Publishing. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
The first word that comes to mind about this book is delightful, yes and the pages flew, a real fast read. We with the author’s help are invited to a family reunion, the Bucklin Family, to be exact, and before we go we get to meet some of this expansive kinfolk up close and personal. You will find yourself really liking some, others will grow on you, and by the end of the book some are still questionable. There is a bit of clean romance here, and so very enjoyable, whether it is among the young single cousins, or the old married folks. Generations are going on here from preschool to grandparents, and these people do reunions up right, everyone brings their best food, as true southerners, and we are deep in the southern Mississippi! I loved being with most of this family, and really can’t wait for the next book, I want to spend more time here! I received this book through Lit Fuse Publicity Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
What do you think when you hear the word "Family Reunion?" For some, it might be the opportunity to get together with those wonderful members of the family that are separated by the miles on rare moments like a family reunion. For others it might be cringe worthy. Those are the times when you know family drama is about to become a full-blown theatrical production and that is just what Shay Henke has on her mind when she receives another invitation to the Bucklin Family Reunion. It seems like her family is always finding a way to bring everyone together even though its not all that it is cracked up to be. But then again, it's probably like that for most families. Time to reunite, share some beloved family memories and traditions and leave the drama hopefully in the closet for now and just smile and get along right? Well if you have read any of Debby Mayne's novels, you know you are about to join in, whether you're ready or not to join in with the Bucklin clan. So grab a glass of sweet tea and sit back and unwind as all the wonderful characters she has created in her latest novel High Cotton is unveiled in the first of her series, the Bucklin Family Reunion! This is truly all about bringing a bit of the South and all it's traditions, sayings, accents and more to those who have never been privy to such a family affair. And you just know its not going to go off without a hitch either. Just the cover alone is what got me wanting to read this, besides the premise of a wonderful drama filled family reunion that doesn't involve me personally and being a fan of anything Debby Mayne rights just makes me pick it up without having to know if it's going to be good or not. That's the thing with exceptional authors that write books that take you into the story line transporting you right in the middle of things. You've got those well-meaning elderly women who are wondering when you are going to find the right man and settle down before one becomes an old maid, the men in the family who would rather be doing anything but attending another one of these lively events and those in the family who believe it is their job to be a personal savior to anyone needing help. I received High Cotton by Debby Mayne compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Gilead Publishing. I can't wait to read the very next novel Fit to Be Tied coming on the heels of this one, but as all exceptional series are, they are never soon enough for those of us that want even more. This is a wonderful summer novel and one I highly recommend and that is why I am giving this a 4.5 out of 5 stars. If this is your first Debby Mayne novel, you will want to check out everything else she has written, they are all wonderful novels that would definitely make it to my summer reading list.
Becky J Miller More than 1 year ago
First, in the Bucklin Family Reunion Series Debby Mayne’s High Cotton is the story of several members of a loving but somewhat dysfunctional Southern family dynamic. For anyone who appreciates sweet tea, names like Digger and Puddin’ and interfering family members, then High Cotton will feel like home. As she prepares for an upcoming family reunion, Shay Henke, a successful but single career woman finds herself strangely uncomfortable with her life. An unexpected grocery store conversation with her twin cousins Sally & Sara kicks off some major disruptions to Shay’s tidy little bubble. Along with Shay, Sally, and Sara, High Cotton intermingles the stories of several members of the Bucklin family to include Digger, Puddin’, Missy, and a few other minor characters. Creating an easy to follow dialogue, each chapter begins with a character’s name; that said, keeping up with all the characters and their family connections does get a bit overwhelming. With a Southern heritage myself, there was much about the story that felt familiar and yet sometimes a bit exaggerated. However, readers will surely appreciate much of the self-discovery experienced by Shay and some of her family members. ***In exchange for this review, the publisher provided a complimentary copy of the book.
lolly-pops More than 1 year ago
HIGH COTTON is southern women's fiction, a whole different culture than say women's fiction set in the north. It's about a family, four different women, Shay, Puddin', Sally, and Missy, and the upcoming family reunion and why they don't all want to go (oh, the drama) and why they feel obligated to go, and all their deeply held secrets that they don't want everyone to know as well as those they want to use to impress everyone. This is written in first person, with each character having their own chapter. It is sort of chick-litty but without the sarcasm. It is very definitely women's fiction (the back cover says romance, but romance is not the focus). The mainest main character is Shay. She has the most points of view and she is also the one the blurb on the back cover of the book is about. She has her own drama, plus family drama, and then she accidentally becomes privy to her sister-in-law Puddin's big dark secret, adding even more drama. I was a bit confused at first with all the first person main characters (who is Missy and how is she related to Shay again?) so it took awhile for me to get each character straight in my head and to remember what individual drama each character is dealing with. I think I would've enjoyed it more if she would have picked one character and stuck with her, and maybe used the other three as secondary characters, but for whatever reason that is not the way it was written. It does give us inside thoughts on the four different women and the big five questions: why, what, where, when and how... Ms. Mayne is a stellar writer and if you like southern fiction, women's fiction, chicklit (minus sarcasm) and family drama you will love HIGH COTTON. This is the first book in her new series, Bucklin Family Reunion (and the series title says it all). I absolutely adore the cover. I was given a copy free and all opinions are my own. 3.5 stars rounded up.
cularien More than 1 year ago
We can all relate to family reunions -- the good and the bad -- and I certainly chuckled at moments in High Cotton. There was plenty to relate to, especially with Shay's character: she's the late-30s single gal amidst a huge family that's all married off, whether happily or less so. I wanted to like High Cotton more than I did, though. This was most notable when it came to keeping the four simultaneous POVs straight. (The book blurb made it sound like it was about one character, but it was really about four...or five, if you include both twins.) The switch between characters wasn't consistent -- it would go between Shay, Puddin' (really?), a third character I can't remember, the twins, back to Shay, then the twins, then ... well, you get the idea. I regularly read multiple books at once, so don't usually have a problem keeping track of the POVs. But this one challenged me, switching POVs as soon as I got settled with one. I would have enjoyed it more if it could have been presented as an all-in-one set of novellas, each girl's story told straight through and separate from the others. But as it's basically four stories about one event, perhaps not. I received a free copy of the book from Litfuse. All opinions are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
And I thought my family reunions were bad! My crazy family can’t even come close to the Bucklin family. For someone who is doing just fine, thank you, Shay thinks her nice, quiet lifestyle is probably just her speed. Ha! She’s in for a big awakening. But maybe that awakening is just what she needs as drama after drama comes her way. One can’t help alternately laughing and moaning as she faces decisions and a total upset of her lifestyle and the men who wander through it. This is the first book I’ve read by Debby Mayne, but it won’t be my last. I want to stay hooked into the Bucklin Family Reunion series. It certainly beats dealing with my family. ***Book provided without charge by Gilead Publishing.*** Submitted by sunny island breezes.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love how this book is set up, with all the different stories going on! Shay was fun to get to know, and I liked that that a lot of the battles the characters went through were different from the norm (which pleasantly surprised me!). I love that the characters all have to work through their personal battles and grow closer as they learn to lean on one another. I could especially relate to the twin sisters, since I was close to my sister growing up, and we went through something similar with learning how to go in different directions while still being close. All in all, this is a great story and I look forward to reading more in the series! I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
High Cotton is a fun and delightful read. It is full relatable characters. They are connected to the Bucklin Family and the story is centered around their family reunion. I believe Puddin would have to be my favorite character. As a stay at home mom, I knew what she was going through on so many levels. There a variety of scenes that touched on my emotions. I giggled and I cried. It is just a down home, heartwarming read. I give High Cotton 5 plus stars and I hope to read the next book in the series. I received this book from the publisher. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
katelynsbolds More than 1 year ago
This book keeps you on your toes! With five main characters, I was at first wary of keeping them straight. Typically I have a hard time of keeping track of any more than one… But Debby Mayne’s expert characterization and unique tone of voice brings to life her characters in a way that makes this book quite a treat! Characters are a range of ages from 20’s to 50’s, and in differing states of singleness, marriage, and parenthood, making this book quite relatable to anyone who already understands the culture of Southern women’s fiction. The book doesn’t shy away from different cultural situations, such as life after divorce or choosing a career over relationships. The book is dialogue rich and keeps moving at a comfortable pace to keep you reading. On a side note, I want Debby Mayne to plan the food for all my future family events—the description of her meals is scrumptious! There were a few times I want to jump inside the book and knock the characters upside the head and say “Just love each other, you idiots!” to more than one character; but overall, I really enjoyed the characterization and depth. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys small town or southern women's fiction.