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The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Darling Dahlias, Bk 1)
The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree - Darling Dahlias, Bk 1
Author: Susan Wittig Albert
The country may be struggling through the Great Depression, but the good ladies of Darling, Alabama, are determined to keep their chins up and their town beautiful. Their garden club, the Darling Dahlias, has just inherited a new clubhouse and garden, complete with two beautiful cucumber trees in full bloom. But life in Darling is not all garden...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780425234457
ISBN-10: 0425234452
Publication Date: 7/6/2010
Pages: 320
  • Currently 3.7/5 Stars.

3.7 stars, based on 41 ratings
Publisher: Berkley Hardcover
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Darling Dahlias, Bk 1) on + 56 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This is the first Susan Wittig Albert book that I have ever read but it seemed a good place to start since it is the first book in a new series by the prolific author.

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree is about as cozy as cozy gets. The setting for this book is rural Darling, Alabama in 1930 and a band of middle-aged (30-55) garden club members are the sleuths. The author takes quite a bit of time to actually get to the mystery (page 95 of a 280 novel) but there are several diversions that account for little side mysteries along the way. Overall, there is nothing to dislike in this book. It is quaint and cozy and moves along at a leisurely pace toward a neatly tied package at the end. The characters are varied and likable with a few quirks to keep things interesting. I'll happily pick up the second book in this series as soon as it is published. Sometimes a little fluff is exactly what a person needs when choosing her next book.
reviewed The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Darling Dahlias, Bk 1) on + 46 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book is probably the "coziest" cozy I've ever read. I enjoyed it. The garden club members are a diverse group of women, enough so that they each get their own personality, and the author developed each one just enough so that you liked them (or didn't) but weren't overwhelmed by one person. A number of the women were living independently; had jobs, were homeowners and business owners, not needing a man to provide for them, and, in this time period, I found it refreshing.

In addition to solving the mystery, they talk about being homeowners, sex outside of marriage, and other "taboo" subjects (for that day). I would like to see Myra May and her "roommate" come out of the closet, at least to their close friends, perhaps that will be a book or two down the road. These gals are forward thinking, independent and smart.

It was a little odd that not a one of them consulted with the police and managed to solve the entire crime, for the police, without ever talking to them, but it wasn't "bad" odd, just different from all other cozies I've read, where someone, somewhere, gets info from the police.

Looking forward to the next book.
reviewed The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Darling Dahlias, Bk 1) on + 88 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I enjoyed the read - it was light, the period details were interesting and the cast of characters shows promise for an ongoing story line. Having a garden club of women is interesting and a little different than the BFFs the herbalist series circles around.
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reviewed The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Darling Dahlias, Bk 1) on + 1635 more book reviews
Susan Wittig Albert almost immediately transported me to Depression-Era Alabama in this first book in the series. She's done her research, and her mentions of songs playing on the radio and the movies that were showing at the theater in town created a lot of the needed ambiance. Her research shows up everywhere-- in the prices people were paying for things, in their recipes, in the fear that swept through the community when rumors of a bank closure and a prison break began to circulate-- and all these details fit into the story seamlessly.

Add an intriguing mystery to a perfect setting, and you've got a good book to read. In fact there are several little mysteries running throughout this book. Some are easily solved, but others require much more thought and deduction. What raises the bar even higher is Albert's cast of characters. The main garden club members come from all walks of life-- there's the mayor's wife whose husband is always telling her not to worry her pretty little head, there's a legal secretary, a probate clerk, and women who run the local diner and moonlight as telephone operators. If these women don't have their fingers on the pulse of Darling, Alabama, then no one does!

We get to know Lizzy Lacy the most in this book, and I like her a lot. She's what would have been called a spinster back then, since her domineering mother got it into her maternal head that Lizzy was going to be her live-in doormat forever more. But lest you get the idea that Lizzy has no spine, think again. I guarantee you're going to like her. I look forward to learning even more about the rest of the characters because just enough of their backgrounds were given to let readers know that there's much more to their stories, too.

Albert also includes "making do" tips and recipes at the back of the book, and reading them brought back many memories for me, having grown up with a grandmother and mother who lived through the Depression. And although I did notice the slow pace of the book throughout the first half, I just chalked it up to setting the stage for this new series. History, mystery, characters, food, music, and flowers. I'm already looking forward to the next book!
reviewed The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Darling Dahlias, Bk 1) on + 14 more book reviews
Though this book is different from Ms. Albert's "Herb/Spices" series, I really liked it for its capture of the time (depression) and place (deep south) portrayals and descriptions. It reminded me a bit of "Steel Magnolias," with the interplay of the characters. I would highly recommend the book.
reviewed The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Darling Dahlias, Bk 1) on + 35 more book reviews
Not much of a mystery (guessed it pretty early one) but the tempo and period details kept me reading.

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