Saturday, May 26, 2007

The Florabama Ladies' Auxiliary & Sewing Circle, by Lois Battle

This book was a free download from, was 13 hours and 37 minutes long, and was narrated by Christine McMurdo-Wallis.

In Florabama, Alabama a lingerie manufacturer is moving offshore and leaving its hourly workforce behind. These are mostly women, and their best hope is a loophole a Displaced Homemakers program at the local community college.

In another part of Alabama, Bonnie Duke Cullman, a well-bred, comfortable woman and upper crust homemaker, discovers that her emotionally distant husband has made a train wreck of their finances. Their divorce leaves her without a rich husband to sue for alimony. She ends up taking a job with the community college in Florabama as the director of the Displaced Homemakers program. The difference between Bonnie and her educationally disadvantaged charges is that she has a rich father who was able to pull the strings needed to get her the job to begin with.

I expected her differences with the laid off ladies to breed discontent, but their differences among them have prepared them for life's discrepancies. Hilly Pruit and Ruth Elkins are next-door neighbors and close friends, even though Hilly is a bar-hopping red-head out of a country song, and Ruth is a quiet church-goer keeping her wayward daughter's brood of rug-rats.

Bonnie's connections and high-priced worldview come in handy as she matches her boutique connections to the ladies' skills, and convinces them that there is a market for Jane Austen era party dresses for little girls. And she is right. But that does not keep disaster from striking just as a glimmer of hope appears.

Characters trump story and this is a chick flick waiting to happen. Too much of a soap opera and too many missed opportunities to be 4 stars, but it's easily worth 3.

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