Summer is winding down. The kids are almost back in school. The trips to the beach are becoming fewer and fewer. Still there is time for one more good beach read and luckily for readers everywhere we have a "peach" of a book by Kim Boykin. It is titled A PEACH OF A PAIR and it is as enjoyable and heartwarming as any book I have read in months. This is the kind of book that makes you want to lock the door, turn off the phone and read every page straight through to the end.
The story centers on Nettie Gilbert,a senior at Columbia College, an all girls school in Columbia, South Carolina. The time is 1953 and Nettie is hoping time will fly by so she can marry her adored Brooks who is waiting for her at home in Alabama. But things change. Nettie drops out of school and heads to nearby Camden, South Carolina where she becomes the housekeeper for two elderly sisters, Emily and Lurleen Eldridge.
Emily and Lurleen are both unmarried and have lived together all their lives. Now Lurleen's heart is failing and Emily can not care for her adequately. At least this is the opinion of the young doctor who is attending to her needs. He is the one who advertises for a housekeeper, and it is he who finds Nettie. From the moment she enters the door to the house where the sisters live her life is never the same.
Boykin's style of writing is amazing. She totally captures the atmosphere of the 1950's and shows how these times affect the lives of those living this story. She also creates characters we instantly care about and adds their fancies and foibles which makes them even more endearing. Some people are part of the total story while others flicker around the edges of the tale, but all are important in creating the essence of the plot.
A PEACH OF A PAIR is a book that appears simple in story at the start but as you read you realize the core of this story is full of truths. Plus the characters described are ones that will live with you in memory. Boykin's ability to assemble this story is a gift she received, and her desire to share it is a blessing to her readers. When you reach the end of the book you will know how true this is.
Do not assume you know how this is all going to turn out as you read the first few pages. Believe me you don't. Boykin has a few surprises in store for you. Just when you are settled in and enjoying the pace the story turns a corner and races into a new direction.
Kim Boykin's last novel PALMETTO MOON introduced a talented writer to me. This follow up book exceeds that story and sets a new bar of achievement. I firmly believe she is just getting started and oh what a career she is gong to have!
A PEACH OF A PAIR is published by Berkley Books. It contains 304 pages and sells for $15.00.
Jackie K Cooper