Monday, September 28, 2015

A Peach of a Pair by Kim Boykin | Blog Tour with Excerpt and Review

 The Blurb

Palmetto Moon inspired the Huffington Post to rave, "It is always nice to discover a new talented author and Kim Boykin is quite a find." Now, she delivers a novel of a woman picking up the pieces of her life with the help of two spirited, elderly sisters in South Carolina.

April, 1953. Nettie Gilbert has cherished her time studying to be a music teacher at Columbia College in South Carolina, but as graduation approaches, she can’t wait to return to her family and her childhood sweetheart, Brooks, in Alabama. But just days before her senior recital, she gets a letter from her mama telling her that Brooks is getting married . . . to her own sister.

Devastated, Nettie drops out of school and takes a job as live-in help for two old-maid sisters, Emily and Lurleen Eldridge. Emily is fiercely protective of the ailing Lurleen, but their sisterhood has weathered many storms. And as Nettie learns more about their lives on a trip to see a faith healer halfway across the country, she’ll discover that love and forgiveness will one day lead her home.

A Peach of a Pair by Kim Boykin 
Genre: Southern Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Random House / Berkley Books
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 042528199X
ISBN-13: 978-0425281994
E-Book File Size: 784 KB


The Excerpt

Dear Nettie,
       It might seem cruel to send this letter along with a proper invitation, but I couldn’t bring myself to call you, and I wasn’t given much notice regarding this matter. I also know you well enough to know you would have to see the invitation to truly believe it. Although I do regret not having enough time to have them engraved.
       I’m sorry to be the one to give you the news about Brooks and Sissy. I love you, Nettie, and I love your sister. I’m not condoning her behavior or the fact that she is in the family way, but you are blood. You are sisters. No man can break that bond, not even Brooks.
     There’s money and a bus ticket paper-clipped to the invitation. I’ve checked the schedules. You should be able to leave Columbia on Thursday the week of the wedding after your morning classes and get back by Sunday night. I know how you hate to miss class, and if you are also missing some wonderful end-of-the-year party, I’m sorry. So very sorry.
        But the milk has been spilled, Nettie. Come home and stand up with your sister. She needs you. She’s a wreck, and it makes me worry about the baby.
        Just come home.

 The Review

I just read a really good book, y'all — A Peach of a Pair by Kim Boykin. Let me tell you a little about it.

A Peach of a Pair is a little different from my usual read. Instead of a romantic suspense or mystery, cozy or otherwise, A Peach of a Pair by Kim Boykin is Southern women's fiction. I joined this blog tour because most of A Peach of a Pair takes place in or near my home town of Columbia, South Carolina.

A Peach of a Pair tells the story of Nettie Gilbert's journey, both literal and figurative, taken to recover from her fiance's and sister's betrayals. Nettie is a music education and piano major at Columbia College, just weeks away from graduation. Nettie receives news of her sister Sissy's pending (and necessary) nuptials to her fianc√© Brooks. 

Overwhelmed by this announcement, Nettie feels she cannot face her old life for a while. She is granted a leave of absence at college, and applies for work as a caregiver in nearby Camden, SC. She learned of the job from a help-wanted ad posted at her college by Katie Wilkes, on behalf of her brother Dr Remmy Wilkes, for his elderly patients, the Eldridge sisters. Live-in help is needed for the sisters because Miss Lurleen is in failing health due to a heart condition. (Her sister, Miss Emily, is totally against hiring outside help. She is perfectly capable of taking care of her sister all by herself, thank you very much.)

The story is told from four characters' points of view. Nettie tells her part in first person. The parts of Emily, Lurleen, and Remmy are told in third person. The POV changes are clearly noted with the character's name as a sub-title.  

These POV changes allow the reader to get only bits and pieces of the characters' back-stories. We don't get the whole picture right away, and thus there are mysteries of a sort, such as:
  • What caused the seven years of silence between the Eldridge sisters, even though they still lived together in the same house?
  • What happened to their brother Teddy?
  • What transpired between Lurleen, her beloved John, and Emily?
  • Why is Katie Wilkes confined to a wheelchair? How was Remmy involved? 
A Peach of a Pair by Kim Boykin is a realistic, genuine look at the world of genteel Southern women of the early 1950s. There is joy, sadness, laughter, and tears, just like in real life. Most of all, I found A Peach of a Pair by Kim Boykin to be a feel-good novel, one that I thoroughly enjoyed reading, and one that I think you will enjoy also. 

To A Peach of a Pair I give Four Kitties — I really enjoyed it!   

Four out of five kitties 
 Note:  I received a complimentary copy of A Peach of a Pair in exchange for my honest review. 
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

The Author

About Kim Boykin

Kim Boykin was raised in her South Carolina home with two girly sisters and great parents. She had a happy, boring childhood, which sucks if you’re a writer because you have to create your own crazy. PLUS after you’re published and you’re being interviewed, it’s very appealing when the author actually lived in Crazy Town or somewhere in the general vicinity.

Almost everything she learned about writing, she learned from her grandpa, an oral storyteller, who was a master teacher of pacing and sensory detail. He held court under an old mimosa tree on the family farm, and people used to come from all around to hear him tell stories about growing up in rural Georgia and share his unique take on the world.

As a stay-at-home mom, Kim started writing, grabbing snip-its of time in the car rider line or on the bleachers at swim practice. After her kids left the nest, she started submitting her work, sold her first novel at 53, and has been writing like crazy ever since.

Thanks to the lessons she learned under that mimosa tree, her books are well reviewed and, according to RT Book Reviews, feel like they’re being told across a kitchen table. She is the author of A Peach of a Pair, Palmetto Moon and The Wisdom of Hair from Berkley/NAL/Penguin; Flirting with Forever, She’s the One, Just in Time for Christmas, Steal Me, Cowboy and Sweet Home Carolina from Tule. While her heart is always in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte and has a heart for hairstylist, librarians, and book junkies like herself.

For More Information

Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.

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