The Ladies of Garrison Gardens

Louise Shaffer, Author . Random $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6062-7

Shaffer gathers all the elements of engaging suspense: violent death, switched identities, blackmail and contrasting worlds of magnolia gentility and vaudeville seediness. And fans of the Three Miss Margarets will be delighted that Shaffer has returned us to the scene of the crime—Charles Valley, Ga.—and this time gives us more of her delightful, scrappy, self-doubting heroine, Laurel Selene McCready. Shaffer's strength is her feeling for Southern white women with intellect and conscience and her disinclination to be simple when the truth is complicated. But her very depth is a liability in this saga of events following the (nonviolent) death of one of the Margarets, Peggy Garrison. The pace is slowed by an overload of backstory, awkwardly spliced, and by the time the action really heats up, there are no surprises. Still, there's emotional satisfaction to be found in the becoming of Laurel, who has inherited the magnificent Garrison Gardens from Peggy and is now officially, reluctantly, a lady, even if she swears, drinks beer and drives fast. Agent, Eric Simonoff. (June)

Reviewed on: 05/30/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Hardcover - 552 pages - 978-0-7862-7792-6
Paperback - 330 pages - 978-0-8129-6883-5
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 258 pages - 978-0-345-48433-8
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