Book Review: No Grits No Glory
By: Elaine Calloway
Published By: The Writer's Canvas
Publication Date: October 2014
Page Count: 298
Source: Kindly Provided by Publicist
Audience: Adult - Southern Fiction, Paranormal
Brianna comes from a long line of stubborn Irishmen who take their drinking and superstitions seriously, but when her brother, Declan, passes away while she is a teenager, Brianna begins to understand that the world is not populated only by the living. Ghosts walk among us and Brianna can hear their voices calling to her beyond the grave. As you can imagine a teenager hearing voices doesn't go over real well and Brianna is subjected to time in a psych ward. She learns to suppress her gift and focus on projecting a picture of normality. Deep down she knows the promise she made to Declan near his gravesite on the day of his funeral is to blame for her ghostly troubles. She promised her older brother she would make a difference, but she never could have imagined it would involve helping the restless dead find peace.
After getting too many odd looks and whispers about her mental health in Boston, Brianna decides to move to Savannah, Georgia. The city is steeped in deep tradition and history; it also is the one place Declan was happy in his adult life. Brianna hopes by moving to the city that her brother loved that she will feel closer to him some how, but she gets more than she bargained for when she realizes that her beloved home in Savannah's historic district contains inhabitants of a ghostly variety. She must work with a handsome stranger, Steven, to put these ghosts to rest once and for all.
I adore a well crafted ghost story and this one fits the bill on many fronts. Sadly, I did find many of the twists to be predictable, but overall I still enjoyed the story. I also found the romance in this one to had predictable elements, but I decided since I liked the characters I could overlook that flaw.
The thing I loved most about this one was the setting. Savannah is such a unique and spooky place. As you walk the streets, you can feel the history ooze into your pores. Not every aspect of Savannah history is pleasant. If ghosts were going to exist, they'd certainly choose to inhabit this city. I've been freaked out on every ghost tour I've taken there. It's not hard to believe that the line between the living and the dead is a little thinner in the coastal town. If you've never visited Savannah, I highly recommend it. I'm hankering for a trip to see the sites mentioned in this novel; it's been awhile since I have spent time among the squares and Spanish moss. The city is magical and mysterious. It was the perfect setting for this tale. I also enjoyed the culture that was infused into the plot.
There is a lot of potential lurking in this one. I was frustrated that the writing felt simplistic in certain moments, but overall the magic of the setting and the characters won me over. I'd highly recommend this one to those who love a good ghost story with some southern flair. There also was a layer of humor I wasn't expecting that helped to offset some of the creepier moments. So grab a tall glass of sweet tea, a bowl of cheese grits, and cuddle up with Brianna's story.
One Last Gripe: Aside from the predictable moments, I was frustrated that Brianna worked in a funeral home. This seemed cliche - the girl who can speak to the dead does the make up for the dearly departed. This irksome component could be because I have recently been reading Tonya Kappes' Ghostly Southern Mysteries and Emma Lee works in a funeral home as well.
My Favorite Thing About This Book: Brianna's ghostly encounters
First Sentence: Brianna McNeil spent years talking to the dead, sharing secrets with those who passed through her family's mortuary.
Favorite Character: Brianna
Least Favorite Character: Begley
Brianna fled to Savannah to escape the voices of the dead. Just when she thought she’d left all paranormal things behind, she discovers her house is haunted. Not just haunted, but haunted by Southern ghosts. These persistent beings not only hide her white shoes after Labor Day, but they leave grits-caked dishes in the sink, and swear to wreak havoc on her life – - unless she helps them.
Steven put Savannah in his rearview mirror years ago to follow his passion for music. When his band splits up and he can’t reach his little sister for weeks, he races home—only to learn his whole family died in a mysterious house fire. The house Brianna now lives in.
Together, Brianna and Steven learn who murdered Steven’s family and become caught in a web of intrigue that will risk their careers, their homes–but especially their lives.