A sister is there to protect you… reflect you… dissect you…. and at times, drive you up the freaking wall–no poetic way around that last one.
NYT Bestselling author Joshilyn Jackson is back with a new novel that touches upon the special bond between sisters and almost sisters. It’s a hoot.
Title is linked to Amazon and there are no spoilers ahead:
Leia Birch Briggs is a big geek. She’s nerd-tastic. And she’s found a way to take her love for all things comic-books and superheroes and make a great living as a single, thirty-something woman.
What would you expect from a woman named for a Star Wars princess? Her love for Major Geekdom is in her genes.
So Leia attends an Atlanta comic-con (convention) as an honored guest speaker–she is the creator, artist and writer behind the hugely successful Violet and Violence series.
Later that night, a tall, dark and handsome man dressed as Batman picks Leia up after some drinks and the two go back to his hotel room and make the superhero with two backs (apologies to Will Shakespeare for modifying his phraseology.)
Batman was an impressive lover, but Leia left the scene of the crime before the two could exchange phone numbers, and went back to her life in Virginia.
Back home, the shit begins to hit the fan:
- Leia’s perfect-step-sister’s marriage implodes. Years earlier, Rachel married Leia’s first love, J.J. who turned out to be a real turd. Still, Rachel is hurting, as is their thirteen-year-old daughter, Lavender.
- Leia’s grandmother is in trouble, so Leia must go to Birchville, Alabama to handle “Birchie,” the matriarch whose family founded the small town generations earlier.
- And, the cherry on top of the sundae? Leia turns up pregnant. At 38. And she has no idea how to reach Batman, who was not only the one-night-stand, but the only-night-stand Leia had ever had.
- Leia is desperate to keep the news of her pregnancy quiet from her dysfunctional family. For now.
Grandmother Birchie’s troubles starts Leia on a collision course with fate. She drives to Alabama with her niece, Lavender along. (Rachel felt it would be beneficial for Lavender to get out of the divorce war-zone at home.)
Birchie has a type of disease that makes her hallucinate things that aren’t there (fornicating rabbits, for example) and it also loosens her tongue (outing some adulterers while at church, for example.) Fortunately, Birchie’s best friend Wattie has moved in with her and helps assuage all the problems.
But when something is discovered in the attic that requires the sheriff and forensic examination, it sets them all on a rocky road in which things are not always what they seem.
Especially after Lavender figures out that Leia is pregnant and uses social media to find the baby-daddy.
Author Jackson returns to her roots (pardon the pun) in penning another interracial romantic drama/comedy. Her first novel, Gods of Alabama, explored this same dynamic.
I loved the character development in this book, the Gothic small-town, southern setting, and the cast of characters that range from hilarious to poignant.
My only critique is that the theme, at times, was too heavy-handed. We are more than aware of the race-issues in our country especially after Ferguson, Freddy Gray, and the NFL protests. The writer even references Trayvon Martin in her story, so she must be aware that we are aware.
I just think some of Leia’s concerns for her unborn mixed-race child were dwelt upon and returned to time and time again just a wee bit too much.
Nevertheless, this is a charming story of love between sisters, almost sisters, women across generations and racial divides, as well as two very geeky lovebirds who have to figure out a way forward now that baby makes three.
Foxy rating is 4 out of 5 foxes: