Neighbors of Mitford

Standing in the Rainbow

By Fannie Flagg

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"Good news! Fannie’s back in town--and the town is among the leading characters in her new novel.

"Along with Neighbor Dorothy, the lady with the smile in her voice, whose daily radio broadcasts keep us delightfully informed on all the local news, we also meet Bobby, her ten-year-old son, destined to live a thousand lives, most of them in his imagination; Norma and Macky Warren and their ninety-eight-year-old Aunt Elner; the oddly sexy and charismatic Hamm Sparks, who starts off in life as a tractor salesman and ends up selling himself to the whole state and almost the entire country; and the two women who love him as differently as night and day. Then there is Tot Whooten, the beautician whose luck is as bad as her hairdressing skills; Beatrice Woods, the Little Blind Songbird; Cecil Figgs, the Funeral King; and the fabulous Minnie Oatman, lead vocalist of the Oatman Family Gospel Singers.

"The time is 1946 until the present. The town is Elmwood Springs, Missouri, right in the middle of the country, in the midst of the mostly joyous transition from war to peace, aiming toward a dizzyingly bright future."

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The Blue Bottle Club

By Penelope J. Stokes

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In the wake of the depression of 1929, four friends gather in a cold, dusty attic on Christmas day to make a solemn pact. Our dreams for the future, they whisper, as they place tiny pieces of paper holding their life wishes into the blue, cabin-shaped bottle. Letitia dreams of marriage and children; Mary hopes to be a painter; Eleanor aspires to help those in need as a social worker; Adora longs to be a Broadway actress. Four girls, four dreams, and four futures sealed in a cobalt blue bottle. Sixty-five years later, local news reporter Brendan Delaney stumbles upon the bottle, discovering the most meaningful story of her career and possibly the meaning missing from her own life.
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The Body in the Belfry

By Katherine Hall Page

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During her years spent in New York City. Faith Fairchild was convinced she had seen pretty much everything. But the transplanted caterer/minister's wife was unprepared for the surprises awaiting her in the sleepy Massachusetts village of Aleford. And she is especially taken aback by the dead body of a pretty young thing she discovers stashed in the church's belfry. The victim, Cindy Shepherd. was well-known locally for her acid tongue and her jilted beaux, which created a lot of bad blood and more than a few possible perpetrators -- including her luckless fiance, who had neither an alibi nor a better way to break off the engagement.

Faith thinks it's terribly unfair that the police have zeroed in on the hapless boyfriend, and so she sets out to uncover the truth. But digging too deeply into the sordid secrets of a small New England village tends to make the natives nervous. And an overly curious big city lady can become just another small town death statistic in very short order.

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The Cape Ann

By Faith Sullivan

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In a small Minnesota town during the Depression, six-year-old Lark narrates the story of her life, and the adult events going on in the town around her.

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The Florabama Ladies' Auxiliary and Sewing Circle

By Lois Battle

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"'We've been screwed blued and tattooed,' quips Hilly Pruitt at hearing the news of the closing of Cherished Lady, the local lingerie factory. Hilly, along with many other women in Florabama, have been relying on the factory for their livelihood for years. As Hilly always says; 'Life is like a dog sled: If you ain't the lead dog, the scenery never changes.'

"The same day the plant closes, Bonnie Duke Cullman begins her drive through a Gulf Coast storm to the first real job of her life. Her country-club-and-charity-committee existence has come to an end as abruptly as her marriage. In short, she too has been downsized. But luckily for Bonnie, she does have a job to go to: she's been hired to run a "Displaced Homemakers Program" for a podunk community college where the ex-bra seamstresses of Cherished Lady await her wisdom.

"In an unlikely alliance, Bonnie and the Florabama women join together in a midlife survival course where the events of a single year forever alter the way they see the world and their places in it. Despite their very different lineages, they find common ground in the longings and dreams we all share: for community, identity, security, and for love."

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The Funeral Makers

By Cathie Pelletier

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Meet the residents of Mattagash, Maine, a dull backwater town rocked by scandal, seduction, mayhem, blackmail, and the only recorded case of beriberi on the entire North American continent!

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The Good Remains

By Nani Power

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"...a slyly addictive story that introduces a beguiling cross section of characters in a small Virginia village, all of whom are destined to collide in an unusual confluence of events in the days leading up to Christmas. Dr. C. R. Ash, a neonatologist and chronic bachelor, is a man in the winter of his soul, and last in the line of an old Southern family. During a snowy prelude to a much-anticipated hospital Christmas party, C.R. crosses paths with a world of local characters, living and dead: Betty, his fire-fearing secretary and her cohort; Dr. Pendleton Compton, C.R.'s lascivious best friend who mends the hearts of babies; Kirsten, a candy striper who teeters between the worlds of childhood and child rearing; a clutch of death-obsessed teenagers; and two amateur caterers striving to create a Dickensian world of magic for the overworked and bedraggled hospital staff.

"In a town adrift with housing developments, strip malls, and Civil War history, this motley assemblage of characters are all impelled by their search to solve the ancient human riddles of love, loss, and desolation."

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The Latest Epistle of Jim

By Roy Shepard

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As he delays opening a letter which might bring him promotion--or rejection--a Protestant minister looks back on a life full of temptation and doubt. A witty look at the ministry by a writer who himself is a minister.

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The Light Years

By Elizabeth Jane Howard

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In 1937, the coming war is only a distant cloud on Britain's horizon. As the Cazalet households prepare for their summer pilgrimage to the family estate in Sussex, readers meet Edward, in love with but by no means faithful to his wife Villy; Hugh, wounded in the Great War; Rupert, who worships his lovely child-bride Zoe; and Rachel, the spinster sister.
Its sequel, Marking Time, is set during World War II.

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The Persian Pickle Club

By Sandra Dallas

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This magical, memorable novel explores the ties that unite women through good times and bad. It is the 1930s, and hard times have hit Harleyville, Kansas, where crops are burning up and there's not a job to be found. For one young farm wife, the highlight of each week is the gathering of the Persian Pickle Club, a group of locals dedicated to improving their minds, exchanging gossip, and putting their well-honed quilting skills to good use.

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