The Wilde Women

Paula Wall, Author . Atria $24 (310p) ISBN 978-0-7434-9621-6

Wall's second novel (after The Rock Orchard ) follows two beautiful, smart, sexually provocative, self-assured sisters whose dalliances captivate their small Southern hometown. Five Points, Tenn., has been brought low by the depression, but the residents retain their interest in the Wilde sisters' feud, which began when Pearl caught her younger sister Kat inappropriately entertaining Bourne Cavanagh, Pearl's fiancé and the heir to a whiskey distillery empire. Pearl disappears and travels the world, sending Kat a tersely worded postcard every month. Sassy and brash Kat stays behind and toys with the town's menfolk, including Mason Hughes, whose wealthy family owns the shirt factory where Kat works. Pearl sashays home after a few years and opens a high-class bordello that caters to the rich and powerful, while Kat continues to entice and evade Mason. Vignettes about secondary characters bog down the momentum, and while some are whimsically entertaining, they are more distracting than narrative-enriching. Fans of Southern women's fiction will forgive the meandering plot and be drawn in by the author's wit. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 01/29/2007
Release date: 03/01/2007
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-7434-9624-7
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