Mermaids in the Basement Author:Michael Lee West Reeling from the loss of her mother, plagued with a bad case of writer's block (and don't even talk about those extra twenty pounds), Renata DeChavannes feels as though everything is just plain wrong. And that was before the tabloids caught her sweetheart, filmmaker Ferg Lauderdale, sharing an intimate squeeze with Hollywood's hottes... more »t young tamale.
But the granddaughter of the formidable Honora DeChavannes possesses more hell than belle in her backbone -- and she's about to reclaim it. Heading south to Honora's home on the Gulf Coast, Renata is determined to stop feeling like a wilted gardenia and emerge as the unstoppable kudzu her beloved grandmother proudly proclaimed she would be. But for that to happen Renata's got to face some not-so-genteel ghosts from her past, discover the truth about the mother she desperately misses, and make peace with the first man who abandoned her and broke her heart: her handsome and distant father.« less
The beginning and ending were great. The middle - so so.
Be prepared for the Alabama weather to be described over and over again in EVERY CHAPTER, and be prepared for the main character to slip newspaper articles in her pocket in EVERY CHAPTER. Sometimes I felt like the author was "beating a dead horse" - something amusing happened near the beginning of the book and apparently she thought it'd be great to have it happen a few more times in other chapters. First time = funny. Fifth time = I'm over it.
I know it doesn't seem like it after this review, but I did enjoy the book. The author was a little long-winded, but it was still a worthwhile read. I'm glad I didn't spend money on buying it, but I am glad I read it.
From Publishers Weekly
Ripe with Southern charm and sultry atmosphere, West's diverting and funny latest unravels the tangled gossamer web of an eccentric extended Southern family. At the heart of the novel is Renata DeChavannes, who has a pretty full plate: a tabloid ran a story about her longtime film director boyfriend's possible on-set fling with an actress; her mother and step-father died in a plane crash five months ago; her father is about to marry his fourth wife (a squeaky-voiced young thang named Joie); and she's just found a letter written by her mother instructing her to ferret out her mother's dirty secrets. So Renata heads to her Gulf Coast Alabama hometown, where her indomitable grandmother Honora DeChavannes; steadfast former nanny Gladys Boudreax; and Honora's longtime friend and former actress, Isabella D'Agostina McGeehee, live. The story flies by, loaded with grand parties, sumptuous Southern meals, multiple affairs and harrowing calamities. West's storytelling talent shines when she's following around the fiery belles, though she has trouble getting convincingly into the head of Renata's father, Louie, and the profusion of subplots can feel overwhelming. On the whole, it's a joyride, if a sometimes bumpy one. (Jan.)