Crossroads Cafe

Crossroads Cafe

by Deborah Smith

Carol Burnside aka Annie Rayburn: Seriously. That first line:

"Before the accident, I never had to seduce a man in the dark."

was intriguing enough to keep me reading for some time.

First of all, what accident?
Who is she?
Why is she seducing someone?
Who is he?
Why does she HAVE to seduce him in the dark?
Was the accident THAT bad?

The other reviews here tell you about the plot. I'm here to tell you that the writing is wonderful. I came across Ms. Smith's first posted excerpt on the Belle Books website (bellebooks dot com)and could not stop reading. At that time she'd only posted one or two chapters. Each month I came back looking for a little more on Cathryn and Thomas. I wanted to know the why's and when's and how's of their story. The odds of their inevitable coming together (given the first line) were gi-normous. Yet, in weaving their stories together, Smith makes you believe that these two very damaged people can not only help each other, but are the ONLY ones who can help each other heal.

Perhaps I should confess that before reading an excerpt of The Crossroads Cafe, I'd never read anything by Deborah Smith (How did I NOT know about her???) By the time this book hit the store shelves, I'd purchased and read another of her books. I liked it well-enough, but wasn't bowled over. That made me apprehensive. Could she keep my interest in TCC?

She did. Not only was the plot intriguing, but the wildly eclectic cast of characters were richly drawn and multi-faceted. This rich characterization didn't stop at Thomas and Cathryn, but extended to Delta, who runs the cafe, and her husband Pike. It extended from the sideline characters of young Cora and Ivy, to the lesbian couple Macy and Alberta and their motley collection of abused women. Each character had purpose and helped move the story along. Even the Southern setting became an integral part of the story without long passages of description and brought a deeper understanding to the characters.

If you don't like emotional reads, fascinating characters, gripping prose and books with enough southern flavor you swear you can taste the grits and sweet tea, just ignore this post. But if you do, the Crossroads Cafe may very well become one of those books you keep, re-read, and hug to your memory with an affection usually reserved for long-time, cherished friends.
Rating: *****

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