The South, Home of Gardenias, Spanish Moss, Cypress Swamps and the Occasional Eccentric

I recently had the opportunity to read Divas Are Forever by Virginia Brown. It’s a humorous book, loosely centered around a mystery. There are certainly characters in the novel who are exactly like people in my extended family or others I’ve met along the way. To that end, it was an enjoyable read, as I could sit back and laugh at the antics of these people, agreeing that in the South we are quite fond of our “crazy” relatives. As has been said on more than one occasion, we don’t hid them in the attic, we set them up on the front porch with a glass of iced tea on full display for everyone to see and enjoy.

I wrote a review of the book, which is included here for your consideration. As I say in the review, if you like a heavy dose of humor in your books, this may be the one for you. As for whether or not it has any accuracy in its portrayal of southerners, particularly our penchant for our crazy relatives, I’ll just say:

  1. Yes, I have my crazy relative.
  2. No, I’ve never tried to hide their craziness or pretend we aren’t related.
  3. Yes, I would be delighted to have the moniker “eccentric:” attached to my name when family members might discuss me.
  4. No. I don’t want to commemorate the “War of Northern Aggression” although I still have conflicted feelings about some people who’ve moved to the south and proceeded to try and turn it into whatever area of the north or mid-west they are from. To paraphrase from Lewis Grizzard,a southern humorist who left us too soon, come on down and enjoy all the south has to offer, just don’t try to turn us into whatever you left. We’re perfectly happy the way we are and if you aren’t “Delta is ready when you are.”
  5. Yes, you’re right, enough about me. Here’s the review:

DIVAS ARE FOREVER by Virginia Brown is the sixth in the Dixie Divas Mystery Series. The book is complete within itself, although there are some references to earlier books in the series and some relationships may have development in earlier novels within the series.

If you are looking for a book that has a heavy emphasis on humor, with a humorous look at what it’s like to be a “southern belle”, this novel may be just the ticket. Trinket and Bitty are fifty something year old cousins who are the central characters within this book and, judging from what is included her they are also the central characters in the other books as well. They are best friends and cousins who are opposite in looks, with Bitty being petite and Trinket being six feet tall, and opposite in possessions. Bitty is wealthy beyond her wildest dreams, owning expensive sports cars, an antebellum mansion, designer clothes and the latest in household good, all of which she enjoys and happily shares with those around her. Trinket, in contrast, is firmly placed in the middle class, lives with her parents, works part time and drives an older Taurus. While they are opposites in these external appearances, both Trinket and Bitty have a penchant for getting themselves in trouble, usually around dead bodies and trying to solve the murder.

The book opens with Trinket,the who narrates the story, trying to avoid having to dress in an antebellum dress for the latest reenactment of a local battle between the south and north in the recent War of Northern Aggression. Her cousin, Bitty, explains why she is committed to doing just that and this sets tone for the entire book. Bitty decides on various courses of adventurous (to use a term mildly) action and Trinket winds up participating in one way or another because she wants to keep Bitty out of trouble.

Adventures range from the mildly dangerous to ridiculous, with Trinket thinking she is the voice of reason although she is usually involved in one way or another, with as much at stake as Bitty. The reason for their adventures this time around have toer of one of the participants in the local reenactment and Bitty’s son being accused of the crime. Not content to let the experts solve the problem, nor leave it alone once doubt is cast regarding the guilt of Bitty’s son, the two cousins set out to solve the murder.

The humor in the book overshadows the rest of the story as the reader is treated to a series of increasingly outlandish actions by the two cousins. It gives rise to the thought that southerners, particularly, revel in their slightly eccentric, some might even say crazy, behavior. The book is entertaining at the outset, but becomes a bit repetitive as sit moves from one activity to the next. It should appeal to the group of people who want their books laced with a large amount of humor and who don’t mind that humor being aimed at the south and its inhabitants.

That’s it for now. Happy reading.