SERIES: Bucklin Family Reunion #1
GENRE: Inspirational Contemporary Southern Women’s Fiction
RELEASE DATE: March 13, 2018
Some families are filled with so much love they can’t help but drive each other crazy
Shay Henke has mixed feelings about going to her family’s next reunion. On the one hand, she’ll get to see everyone in her mama’s family—folks she loves unconditionally. On the other hand, she knows there’ll be more drama than you can shake a stick at.
The days leading up to the event bring one surprise after another. First Shay must deal with her sister-in-law’s deep, dark secret. Then she has to contend with the childish ways of her business-mogul twin cousins. And when her high school crush wants to be her date to the reunion . . . well, it may have been a dream come true for Shay’s teen self, but the woman she’s become doesn’t know what to make of this.
Shay’s contentment is challenged, and she’s determined to shake things up a bit. But will she find the excitement she’s looking for, or will Shay realize she prefers her quiet and predictable life? One thing is certain: Life in the Bucklin family is never boring.
“Families are such interesting and complex institutions. Not only do they show you how you can love and hate the same person at the same time, but they have the ability to make you feel as though you’re the only sane person in the world.”
Southern women’s fiction is a genre I’ve found to be a delightful mix of sassy, sweet, and poignant. It’s about strong women who ‘bless your heart’ when you’re a hot mess and feed you something fried or baked or casseroled if you stand still for two seconds put together. Despite the fact that I grew up in the Northern US, my family has deep Southern roots and I now live in Kentucky – so, these characters in Mayne’s latest are my people.
In High Cotton we meet a passel of characters – most of them Bucklins by birth or by marriage. However, we see the story from the varying first-person perspectives of four specific women: Shay Henke, her sister-in-law Puddin’, her cousin Missy and her second-cousin Sally (one half of a set of twins). The shift in POVs is clear (thanks to chapter headings & different personalites) and this choice in structure is very effective at adding layers to the story and making the characters come alive.
None of these women have it all together, making them easy to relate to and cheer on. Readers become fully invested in each woman, watching to see how the various threads intersect and waiting to see how it all plays out. We start the book watching each of the four main characters react to the invitation to another upcoming – infamous – Bucklin family reunion, and as the book progresses everything is gearing up for the big event – one which each of them are attending rather reluctantly. I enjoyed all four of the women and their compelling storylines – from new romance to conflict within marriage to family interaction, they all involve some measure of forging your own identity apart from the expectations of others and letting God shape your path.
Bottom Line: High Cotton from Debby Mayne builds up anticipation for a family reunion where anything can happen – and it does not disappoint. Yet, even more than the few chapters dedicated to the family reunion itself, the heart of this novel is the characters and their growth throughout. Four different personalities, four different areas of conflict, four different Bucklin women with authentic and sincere hearts. Their story is fun and southern, with a little sass and a lot of family thrown in for good measure. You will laugh and maybe even cry a little but you will definitely be looking forward to what’s in store in book 2!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Love it!
Debby Mayne writes family and faith-based romances, cozy mysteries, and women’s fiction and is the author of more than 60 novels and novellas-plus more than 1,000 short stories, articles, and devotions for busy women. Debby is currently an etiquette writer for The Spruce. Debby grew up in a military family, which meant moving every few years throughout her childhood. She was born in Alaska, and she has lived in Mississippi, Tennessee, Oregon, Florida, South Carolina, Hawaii, and Japan. Her parents were both from the Deep South, so Debby enjoys featuring characters with Southern drawls, plenty of down-home cooking, and folks with quirky mannerisms. High Cotton is the first book in the Bucklin Family Reunion series.
Other Books by Debby Mayne
What about you? When was the last time you went to a family reunion?