Sooooooo Anxious!!!

Wow!!! This debut novel by Sharon Oliver is as mouth-watering as the tasty dishes whipped up by character “grandma” Mattie Mae. There were several things that I really appreciated about the book.
For one thing, as a Christian, I can’t remember the last time I had such a guilt-free pleasurable read. Ms. Oliver is so talented that she conveys the gamut of emotions from anger, despair, joy, and longing, without resorting to the use of profanity. The author explores every emotion of her characters. They are Christians, being perfected, but not perfect. Ms. Oliver presents them as they are, as we all are really, an incredible mixture of faults and faith.

Another aspect of this novel that really resonated with me was the fact that it’s so easy to care about the characters and what will become of them because we all “know” them. Ms. Oliver’s characters are immediately recognizable as people we have met, will meet, or will become ourselves. You can easily imagine sitting around the table talking with them over a cup of coffee, feeling comfortable and welcome.
Ms. Oliver is also gifted in the areas of scene and details. Her description of Turtle Bay Island is so vivid that you can see it as you’re reading. So much so, that I was shocked to learn that it is not a real town.
As for that “chutch” (as the older southern characters call it), Ms. Oliver does a wonderful job of showing it’s not just a building in which to take a quick nap on Sundays, but how members reaching out to and embracing the community is what really draws people to God’s love.
Now to the “dirt” (just kidding). Without so much as a smidgen of x-rated naughtiness, Ms. Oliver has created a stunning leading man. Jeff….Lives in a mansion, drives a hummer for which he can well afford the gasoline, is CEO of a real estate development company, a true gentleman, loves his family, generous and wait….the best part….is a praying man and Ordained Minister to boot!!!! Hold on to your choir robes girls, talk about an answer to a single woman’s prayers..(smile)
Best friends Charlotte and Timmi are the kinds of friends you want in your corner. And twins Terry and Tina, along with Rev. Holiday, are definitely the type of enemies you’d better keep closer till you can discern what’s really going on. In Sista, Ms. Oliver has created a loveable “mouth of the south” character who loves you enough to tell you like it is.
There is a crazy cast of characters from Mattie who missed and left a dirty dishrag in her greens to chicken-stealing Otis Moss. The snappy dialogue will have you laughing out loud. But it’s not just the laughs that make this book so engaging. There are some head-scratching plot twists that will leave you shocked and amazed.
All in all, Ms. Oliver has produced a wonderful novel that is just the beginning. Most time you finish a book, it was good and you move on. But like author E. Lynn Harris, Ms. Oliver has a written a book that so involves you with the characters that you can’t wait to see what happens in the next book. Hence….I am soooooo anxious.

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