Sunday, January 6, 2008

The Wedding Machine-Beth Webb Hart

The Wedding Machine
Beth Webb Hart
Nelson, Feb 2008, $14.99
ISBN: 9781595541994

In Jasper, South Carolina the four women met and became close friends starting with a purloined watermelon while attending high school. Over the years they married and had kids of their own, but that sister bond remains tight even in their middle age. Each belongs to the All Saints Episcopal Church and as a unit has become known as “The Wedding Machine”. The all for one and all for four musketeers agree that it time to find spouses for their loved ones.

However not all is perfect in their world; in fact life is a series of disasters in which marriage is just one of them. Elizabeth “Sis” Mims uses pills to dull the ache of losing her loved one; she is considering going out with their church minister, but feels guilty for contemplating that. Ray Montgomery is upset that her daughter is thinking of marrying her fiancĂ© the son of a preacher in his father’s tawdry strip mall church. Hilda Prescott remains reeling from a divorce. Finally a worried “Kitty B.” Blalock struggles with her husband's illnesses.

Readers will enjoy this Steel Magnolia sisterhood of yo’all “Dolly Levy” types, who believe southern hospitality and etiquette are the keys to life. Each face personal crisis in their middle years, but with the support of the other Wedding Machine members they confront their issues with strength. Although at times the story line turns too mint julep, fans will appreciate Beth Webb Hart’s warm regional character study.

Harriet Klausner

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