Patton debuts with a peachy-keen summer read about a Southern woman’s misadventures as a Vermont innkeeper.
Leelee Satterfield is a bona fide Memphis gal of the country-club variety, part of the ladies-who-lunch set and not at all eager to leave behind this privileged society. But when her gorgeous, sweet-talking husband Baker wants to buy an inn in Vermont and move up north with their two young girls, Leelee reluctantly acquiesces. She may be slightly spoiled, but she is devoted to her man right down to her well-manicured toes. Vermont proves to be everything she feared it would be—cold and lonely, for a start. As Leelee and Baker take on their misfit roles as innkeepers, predictable comedic chaos and challenges ensue; then an unexpected darker twist leaves Leelee alone and for the first time in charge of her own life. This adds weight to the otherwise just-for-kicks narrative and creates a nice balance: Leelee grapples with major life changes, but she’s also as fun and flaky as the peach cobbler she whips up in her inn’s restaurant. The book overflows with Southern charm, and although our heroine at times appears flighty and superficial, the obvious importance and profundity of her friendships and her love for her daughters are her saving graces. Leelee slowly comes around to her less fashion-conscious Vermont neighbors, heavy snowfall and actually lifting a finger to make a living. The appearance of a very cute new head chef adds a flirty element of romance, and her colorful best friends from Memphis provide a whirlwind of animated comedy. This sassy, lighthearted romp twists and turns toward a conclusion that is not at all foregone, but is immensely satisfying.
Dixie chicks and damn Yankees alike will enjoy seeing the world through Leelee’s eyes.