In the Chapel Springs Revival novel by Ane Mulligan, best friends Claire Bennett and Patsy Kowalski meet with other friends weekly at Dees ‘n’ Doughs’ bakery in their small Georgia town. Most of the ladies are also entrepreneurs. As they discuss the diminishing tourist trade, the newest resident points out the shabby fronts of most of the main street businesses.
Claire, “with all the subtlety of a charging water buffalo,” makes it her mission to revitalize the town—or at least encourage all the business owners to spiff up their places and the town council to spring for repainting and flower baskets.
Patsy, for all the time she has known Claire, has helped helped rein her in and bail her out of trouble.
Both ladies are experiencing trouble in their marriages, which need revitalization more than the town does. They had married men who were also best friends, but now one is grouchy and the other is absent more often than not.
A series of “mishaps and miscommunication,” according to the Amazon description, gives the ladies sometimes comedic trouble. But the book isn’t all comedy. The characters learn and grow and have some touching moments.
This book wasn’t quite my cup of tea, so I don’t plan to read any more of the series. Claire never quite resonated with me. And one or more characters had a penchant for saying “Van Gogh’s ear!” when they were exasperated, which made no sense to me. But if you like I Love Lucy-type comedy with a Southern accent, you’d probably like this book.