Monday, January 8, 2007

"Blue Christmas" by Mary Kay Andrews

If you have read any of Mary Kay Andrews books before, you're familiar with Weezie Foley, owner of antique store Maisie's Daisy. If you haven't found MKA yet, you need to! She writes (under this name) very funny Southern women's fiction. And for those of you that like a bit of suspense, there's usually a small mystery involving her zany characters.

"Blue Christmas" falls into what I think of as the "Cute Christmas Read." It's under 200 pages, will take you all a few hours to read, and has that warm holiday glow about it. Weezie Foley, mentioned above, is desperate to win the decorating contest for Savannah's downtown historical district. She will not lose out again to Babalu, her rival across the street, owned by Manny and Cookie, two gay antique dealers that have relocated from (gasp!) Florida. In the midst of trying to come up with an "authentic" and "all-natural" theme, she has glue-gunned herself and multitudes of fruit into a stupor. However, after arranging her display, she arrives the next morning to find herself the victim of a drive-by (or maybe walk-by) fruit theft! She needs to come up with a new theme, and fast - the contest is that night.

Enter her boyfriend, Daniel, who loathes Christmas as much as Weezie loves it. His funk and an old Christmas tree pin found in an auction buy give her the perfect theme - Blue Christmas. She does the display inside this time; no sense risking another theft. Who cares if it doesn't follow the committees rules? In the midst of the decorating mayhem, her dog, Jethro, goes missing and returns just as mysteriously. There is a possible shady character hanging around, a possible love interest for Jethro, and the usual family chaos that surrounds Weezie at every turn. Will she win the contest? Will she ever call a truce with Manny and Cookie? Will she find out who the mysterious stranger is?

Well, yeah! Duh, this is the Cute Christmas Read, folks, so you know it's all going to turn out well. And while I did enjoy the book, I have to say that I am not thrilled with the direction publishers/writers are taking these days. That is to say, the CCR should be a paperback. They used to be published that way, often as three short stories/novellas by three different authors. They were fairly inexpensive and it gave you a way to try out new writers if you weren't familiar with all three. Nowdays, the trend is to take that same short story/novella and publish it alone, and usually in hardback. "Blue Christmas" is $15 retail! For a book that won't take much more than an afternoon or evening to read, I think that's not very Christmas-like. Maybe it's just me, but I don't want to spend that much money on something that will be "over" the same day. Don't get me wrong - I have flown through books that would be $30 if I bought it retail, but when I first got those books, I had no idea I'd be done that fast. There are books out there that are much longer that you find yourself flying through, too - but you don't know that when you buy them. When this book first showed up, I knew it would be a fast read - again, it's under 200 pages. It's a smaller size, but the print is not much smaller than the usual hardback. So, it's a no-brainer that it won't take long to read.

My advice? Get this used or from your local library. While it's cute and I like the story, I cannot recommend that ya'll go out and part with $15 of your hard-earned money!

1 comment:

PJ said...

OK, you have me sold on the Ghost Orchid, sound great....