Reviewed by Christina M. Hinke
Aug. 7, 2006
Robert Dalby. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, $21.95 (320 p) ISBN: 0-399-15367-5
Dalby's darling debut is a light jaunt around the fairy tale-like town of Second Creek, Miss., where the weather is "God's messenger service," people waltz in the aisles of a grocery store and the Annual Delta Floozie Contest packs the town square. Laurie Lepanto puts together, with the help of the Bloody Mary-swilling Nitwitts (the civic association she belongs to, comprised of wealthy widows), "another mildly amusing Second Creek solution to life" to save the local Piggly Wiggly from closing after a MegaMart opens nearby. Laurie arranges a "Waltzing at the Piggly Wiggly" promotion that allows ladies to cut a rug with dashing local ballroom dancer Powell Hampton, while the store's bag boys shop for the ladies' groceries. As big-band music swings in the canned goods aisle, a romance between Laurie and Powell percolates. Second Creek is populated by the charming types one would expect: Mr. Choppy, owner of the Piggly Wiggly, is a sweet Southerner with a deep drawl and a mysterious missing finger; each of the Nitwitts are tart-sweet busybodies; and Mr. Floyce, the songwriting and joke-telling mayor, has a hidden past. Those who appreciate genteel charm should enjoy this fluffy confection.
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