3.5 stars out of 5 but on Goodreads that translates to 4 out of 5. I rarely give 5’s. So this is a good rating.
To be honest, I really didn’t want to like this book. It has the word choir in the title. I love music so that doesn’t mean I don’t like choirs but choirs come with churches usually. Then I read the back cover which mentioned a small town in the South and a preacher and lost souls. A couple more ticks in the boxes as to why I didn’t want to read.
As a current atheist and recovering Southern Baptist, I tend to stay away from books that are going to try to convert me subliminally or mention religion too much. I thought for sure this was going to be one of them.
But I stumbled upon Sally’s Twitter feed a few months ago and started following her. She and I have had a few Twitter conversations even. I like the way she thinks. I like her humor. She has a great amount of southern sass and you know I like that. She lives here in the ATL as do I. I’ve gotten more than few chuckles or words of wisdom from her Twitter musings. So, I thought I’d give it a shot against my better judgment.
I’m so very glad that I did as I really liked the book a lot and it was a fast read for me. I had a lot in common with the main character, Beulah. We both love music, have red hair, stubborn, generous amounts of smartassery, ample bosoms, and don’t like going to church. I knew I was going to like her right off the bat.
The storyline has a little bit of everything; humor, sadness, the death of a character by cancer, social issues, unwed mothers, drinking, etc. It covers all the bases.
There are some great one-liners in the book, especially the one about melons. I’ll just leave it at that.
What I didn’t like and the reason I docked it a half a star, because once I again I rarely give a 5-star rating, was that I wanted a resolution between Beulah and her mother. It didn’t have to be a happy ending I just like closure. There was also some little hints left about Luke’s past but we never really read about what happened there, why he was divorced, or the reason he came to town. I sensed there was more to the story but it just left you hanging.
The title listing of the book says this is Book 1 of the Ellery series but I have no idea where the word Ellery comes from and why it’s Book 1 but maybe I just missed that part of it. Maybe Luke’s past is discussed in another book in the series. I’ll definitely keep reading the series.
The book got to the point where I didn’t want to put it down and couldn’t wait to get back to it each night. I’ll always keep reading an author that makes me laugh and Sally definitely did that.
Maybe I should make Sally the first honorary member of the Well Read Southerner club. Hey, that’s a good idea……..maybe I should start one of those here on this blog.
If you are into breaking the book down afterward or reading it with friends there are book group questions in the back and even a recipe for food mentioned in the book.
From debut author Sally Kilpatrick comes a hopeful tale of love and redemption in a quiet Southern town where a lost soul finds her way with the help of an unlikely circle of friends. . .
Life has dealt Beulah Land a tough hand to play, least of all being named after a hymn. A teenage pregnancy estranged her from her family, and a tragedy caused her to lose what little faith remained. The wayward daughter of a Baptist deacon, she spends her nights playing the piano at The Fountain, a honky-tonk located just across the road from County Line Methodist. But when she learns that a dear friend’s dying wish is for her to take over as the church’s piano player, she realizes it may be time to face the music. . .
Beulah butts heads with Luke Daniels, the new pastor at County Line, who is determined to cling to tradition even though he needs to attract more congregants to the aging church. But the choir also isn’t enthusiastic about Beulah’s contemporary take on the old songs and refuse to perform. Undaunted, Beulah assembles a ragtag group of patrons from The Fountain to form the Happy Hour Choir. And as the unexpected gig helps her let go of her painful past–and accept the love she didn’t think she deserved–she just may be able to prove to Luke that she can toe the line between sinner and saint.1