Mississippians do their level best to cope with the minor calamities that threaten the opening of their new library.
Newlywed Maura Beth McShay is about to see her dream come true. After years of serving patrons in a cramped facility in Cherico’s Shadow Alley, she can barely wait for the unveiling of the new Charles Durden Sparks, Crumpton and Duddney Public Library. And since Councilman Sparks is scheduled to cut the ribbon on the Fourth of July, what better way to celebrate than with a cooking competition featuring regional specialties from across the South and beyond? Aleitha Larkin plans to offer her Chicken on the Sofa, Marzetta Frieze will dish up her famous Cheeze Ballz, and newcomer Ana Estrella is making her family’s Pigeon Peas Cake, using a recipe all the way from her native Puerto Rico. When opening day draws near with nary a sign of the new library’s furniture, Maura begins to fret. But her pals at the Cherry Cola Book Club (A Cherry Cola Christmas, 2015) come through with a timely substitute. Equally upsetting is a fight that breaks out during the competition between Bit Sessions and Gwen Beetles, who come all the way from Corinth only to get into a tussle over ham and butterbean soup. But with her new husband, Jeremy, at her side, it seems as if Maura can conquer all, even when a local fundamentalist church starts to picket her new library.
Lee’s feisty heroine makes light work of some tough problems in this small-town, small-stakes adventure.