cover image Snow on the Bayou

Snow on the Bayou

Sandra Hill. Grand Central/Forever, $8 mass market (368p) ISBN 978-0-446-53576-2

Hill’s ninth Tante Lulu novel (after So Into You) brings a stereotypical Cajun “Loo-zee-anna” to life with corny dialogue and outsize characters. Louise Rivard, a nonagenarian matchmaker, and her sidekick, a former Miss Louisiana who loves skin-tight clothes, travel to California to inform Navy SEAL Justin LeBlanc that his grandmother is dying of cancer and he needs to come home. Justin left the bayou 17 years earlier, but he still loves his former sweetheart, Emelie Gaudet, a blues singer and maker of Mardi Gras masks. When they meet again, the magic is still there, but secrets from the past threaten tear them apart. As they venture into being friends with benefits, Emelie’s ex-husband alerts Justin to suspicious characters at his pyrotechnics plant, and soon Justin’s SEAL buddies show up to help deter a terrorist plot. Ostensibly Cajun metaphors and mannerisms feel inauthentic and forced, almost to the point of mockery. (Sept.)