I picked up this book because I'm interested in decorating and mysteries, so it sounded like the perfect book for me. The story really has nothing to do with either decorating or a mystery. The recipes were very good, though! Maybe she should write a cookbook...
If you are looking for a good mystery...keep looking, this isn't it...an interesting tale with possibilities, maybe, some historical inaccuracies, yes, but not a mystery.The characters are a mismatch of personalities and as supposed believers, I find the attitudes and actions of some to be contrary to that ideal. A loud, obnoxious policewoman who is impatient and rude to all and disrespectful to "Aunt Bette" an elderly woman key to the tale. Another woman is a know-it-all, pushy, domineering "professional" that disregards the speed limit and safe driving and when pulled over by an officer "sweet talks" her way out of a ticket. The main character lets her family and friends treat her like a door mat. There are no consequences to bad behavior. Sure she has a sense of humor, but absolutely no backbone. As a homeschooling mom I'm tired right down to my Birkenstocks of the homeschooling mother being portrayed as the hippie out of time...the quintessential "earth mother"...please!Now to the story, it supposes that the Underground railroad ran through Nebraska where the story is set. An historical stretch. Then of course it deals with the escaped slaves from THE EVIL SOUTH, as it is always portrayed. Will anyone ever write an accurate story about slavery or will we continue to paint with a broad and often inaccurate brush of the south, plantation owners and slavery? One thing I did like was the pages. They have a quilt watermark decorating a portion of each spread, very nice touch, but using the Log Cabin pattern mentioned might have been nicer. I too, as an avid quilter had heard the story of the "Quilt Maps" or quilt codes and found upon further investigation that the Quilt Codes are not supported by historians or quilters or facts, and are pure myth popularized and passed on in the past several years. For more documentation on how the story began you can go to http://ugrrquilt.hartcottagequilts.com/
Dying to Decorate by author Cyndy Salzmann is the first in the Friday Afternoon Club Series. The narrator of the story is a woman named Liz, a stay-at-home mom who writes a newspaper column (think Martha Stewart meets Flylady). The friends in the Friday Afternoon Club, or FAC, get together weekly to get a little R&R from their all-too busy lives. They support each other with fierce devotion, and when one of the members goes AWOL from the club for a few weeks, they go on a rescue mission. The group learns that their friend Lucy, recovering from the deaths in the past year of both her husband and her mother, has slid into a depression. She has also recently inherited an old Civil War style home from an elderly aunt, and the FAC thinks it will be the perfect diversion to nudge Lucy away from her slump. The group determines to have a decorating party/get-away weekend to help restore the lovely old house. Startling discoveries and a secret diary found hidden in the house from Civil War times raise serious questions about the history of Lucys past relatives. With help from the diary and Lucys Aunt Bette, the group learns about true strength of character and sacrificial heroism that begins at home.While the novel isnt a mystery in the classic sense, it has great sense of suspense as the story unfolds. Add to that a wonderfully refreshing humor intertwined in a very satisfying story. If that isnt enough, the book includes many wonderful recipes that tie into each chapter. To a book-loving foodie, its the ultimate in reading. With recipes like Melt-In-Your-Mouth Pot Roast, Im So Sorry Snickerdoodles, and Lizs Triple Chocolate Pecan Brownies, its a struggle to decide whether to finish reading or to hit the kitchen to whip up some of the goodies laced throughout the book. Its a fantastic read all around, and I cant wait for the next installment in the series. Her next book, Crime and Clutter (A Friday Afternoon Club Mystery) is scheduled to be released in
I've said before, I love reading books about food. Reading a novel that has the recipes it mentions is even better. As soon as I'm done with the book, I want to start making the food. What's even better is when the recipes are super easy for non cooks like me.Dying to Decorate has all this and more. I really want to be able to find friends like the ladies in the Friday Afternoon Club when I reach that age. The friends meet every Friday (hence the name) for a time of fellowship, fun and food. Each woman has a very different personality that meshes well and doesn't clash with other. One of the members inherits a Civil War era house from her great aunt and the FAC goes to help her renovate it. During their stay, they discover the history of the house and how it will eventually change their own outlook on life. I enjoyed the book tremendously. My favorite scene was when John and Liz go out to dinner and stop by a coffeehouse. They order their coffee and John thinks he is splurging by ordering a grande. His reaction to the actual size of his cup as compared to Liz's venti is hilarious. I've been in Starbucks lots of times to hear people get confused and complain about the sizes. Sooooo relatable.I'd recommend this book for fans of The Potluck Club or The Yada Yada Prayer Group. I really related to this book even though I'm the same age of the characters' kids! This book has it all: food, mystery, fun and even a history lesson! I am definitely looking forward to the next FAC adventure. I'm thinking about making that coconut cream pie or the baked potato soup...although I think I might pass on the pioneer mush :)
This story is so unique. It starts out hilarious, sucking you in with the witty internal dialogue from Liz--the main point of view character--when she refers to 'the hag' in her that's dying to be unleashed. Then the story transitions to the women's Friday night club group and their concern for their dear friend Lucy who is in a total funk and depressed (and for good reason.) They rally to cheer her up and part of that is through helping her renovate a home she recently inherited. With that home came intrigue found in the pages of a young girl's diary during the era of slavery and the Civil War. This story held my interest and I must say I hated it when the story ended. I want the author to write a historical now about the content in that awesome diary. That was some great stuff! In addition, though the story ended sooner than I'd hoped, it ended on a positive and uplifting note, making me a guaranteed fan of the author for years to come. She really knows how to draw the reader into the lives of the characters. Oh, and if I were a culinary woman, the recipes are to die for. I think I'll lend them to my husband as he's the chef in the family, and more than one concoction within its pages has piqued his interest. I highly recommend this novel. I hope to see a sequel in the future. There is so much potential for more drama with this incredible cast.
Liz Harris and her friends, Jessie, Marina, Mary Ann, Kelly, and Lucy, initially form the Friday Afternoon Club (FAC) to keep the hateful hag that resides in each of them in check. When Lucy loses her husband to a freak accident and her mother dies soon afterward, she goes into a tailspin. Her once-strong faith in God weakens, and she falls into depression. Then the FAC decides its time for a weekend trip to help Lucy renovate the Civil-war era house she inherited from her mother. The women are prepared for leaky pipes and rotted wood, but when they find a hidden prison room behind one of the old house walls, they get more than they bargained for. Lucys aunt gives her a journal found in the house years earlier, and the FAC members are soon reading it aloud between bouts of redecorating. The journal unravels the houses mystery, and brings a new realization of Gods love to each of the women. Cyndy Salzmanns debut novel is a light, enjoyable read that includes scrumptious-sounding recipes the FAC enjoy preparing and eating. The story provides surprising food for thought about civil disobedience. Nice interjections from the old journal, Lizs regular narrative, and Lizs newspaper column all contribute to the richness of the tale. Lizs metamorphosis from super woman to real woman in her newspaper column made me realize its okay to be who I am, and not pretend to be super woman, as I am wont to do.That said, I did encounter a few challenges with this book. First, after an opening chapter that had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes, the remainder of the book just didnt deliver at the same level. Salzmann has the potential to write a screamingly funny novel, as evidenced by Dying to Decorates first few pages. Id love to see her tap into her superb sense of humor consistently in her next book.Second, some leaps of logic in the characters' actions puzzled me. These issues aside, I enjoyed this book and look forward to the next one
What can beat a mystery story that not only keeps you laughing out loud but is interspersed with to-die-for recipes? Dying to Decorate, Cyndy Salzmanns first novel, and the first book of the new Friday Afternoon Club Mystery Series, combines both. Salzmann has a unique voice--and an attitude any mom can relate to. Her observations on life, parenting, and friendship will keep you smiling, nodding with agreement, and turning those pages. And the recipe that begins each chapter will tempt you to race to the kitchen to whip that delectable dish up for dinner. And there's the dilemma--read the next chapter to find out what happens or try out that luscious recipe? Either way, this book is going in the kitchen on my cookbook shelf where it'll be close at hand! Bravo, Cyndy! Can't wait for the next one in the series--but first I HAVE to try Drucillina's Death by Chocolate...!
What a treat! This is a peek into the lives of a group of women who get together every Friday afternoon for fellowship, fun, food and plenty of laughter. When one of the group inherits a run-down house, we get to peek back in time when they find a hidden room complete with shackles and bloodstains. And best of all, there are yummy recipes throughout the book - I've tried out two of them already!
Cyndy Salzmann has written a clever and memorable book--with recipes to boot. The recipes introduce each chapter and are cleverly woven into the story. I can't wait to try them! The story is intriguing, and I appreciated Cyndy's attention to historical detail. I can't wait to read the next in the series!
Well written, I could SO relate to the characters, funny, yet insightful.......and GREAT recipes to boot! One of the best examples of Mom Lit I've seen.......not only dealing with the hassles of being a wife and mother and pet owner, but having a group of supportive friends with just the right touch on mystery/intrigue! Get it...read it....laugh and cry out loud!!!!!To read more of my reviews, visit www.robinmillerbooks.com