Bed and Breakfast

Lois Battle, Author Viking Books $23.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-670-86074-6
Battle's (Storyville) considerable storytelling gifts breathe life into what might well have become just one more novel about the estranged children of a dysfunctional Southern family. Josie Tatternall, the septuagenarian widow of an unfaithful martinet of an army officer and owner of a bed and breakfast in upscale Beaufort, S.C., is determined that all three of her daughters will be reunited for the upcoming Christmas holidays. That will be no easy task after years of real and imagined affronts among the siblings and their mother. A decade earlier, the eldest daughter, Camilla, had even vowed she'd never return home. But this year, Christmas looks so bleak for Cam--her job at a women's press is in jeopardy, her lover of three years has moved to Atlanta and she may be pregnant--that she reluctantly accepts her mother's invitation. Middle daughter Lila Gadsen, the ""good girl"" her mother can always count on, lives in nearby Hilton Head with her politician husband and two sullen teenagers and keeps a stash of Halcion and Percodan hidden in her designer kitchen. Beautiful Evie, who, her grandmother says, was ""born dumb and had a relapse,"" lives in Savannah and writes a newspaper column that reveals a few too many family secrets. Despite Josie's best efforts, Christmas Eve is a disaster. It's another year and another Christmas season before Battle wraps up the loose ends and offers readers a true-love happy ending for a most surprising couple. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 11/04/1996
Release date: 11/01/1996
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 400 pages - 978-1-101-57189-7
Hardcover - 573 pages - 978-0-7862-0972-9
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-14-025911-7
Paperback - 372 pages - 978-0-14-311643-1
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