Queen Bee Of Mimosa Branch
Queen Bee Of Mimosa Branch is women’s fiction and pretty good women’s fiction too. However, if you are looking for some romance in your women’s fiction, you need to try another book. This one is filled with female bonding, family bonding, personal discovery, and a touch of lust. But no romance.
Linwood Breedlove Scott was married for 30 years to the man she fell in love with while they were in high school. They had the perfect Atlanta Society life until he plunged them into financial chaos and ran off with a stripper. By the time the IRS got finished, Lin had some of her furniture that she had hidden with friends and a pittance of money. So she goes back home to Mimosa Branch and her family.
Lin’s family is southern, which readers of Southern Fiction means they are eccentric. Her father is senile, her mother is controlling, her brother is a much-married heavy drinker, her uncle is crazy and her aunt is coping. They all live in the same big old mansion (without benefit of air conditioning), which is far too small for Lin. Her plan is to earn money, fix up, and move into the garage apartment. Before you can say “mint julep,” Lin has signed up for classes to become a real estate agent, has a job with the local pharmacy and is up to her neck in the affairs of Magnolia Branch.
This novel is all about Lin’s coming to terms with herself and her family. She had married young, in part to get away from said family – the blowhard, racist father and the smothering, provincial mother. As the book begins, this is how she sees her parents. As for her brother, she’s long dismissed him as a feckless ne’er-do-well. But as the book progresses Lin realizes that families (and family members) are complex organisms. She has changed, so has her family. The most touching moments of the novel occur between Lin and brother Tommy when he tells her of his membership in AA and his hard-won sobriety. His love and patience with their often difficult parents touches Lin and causes her to re-examine her own attitudes toward them.
There is lust between Lin and the local pharmacist Grant Owens, but not much comes of it. They talk, they kiss, they have an aborted fling, but Lin is Venus and Grant is Mars and they simply don’t connect, which is probably a good thing – neither is ready for a relationship.
The novel is filled with other colorful characters – maybe too many. Some are introduced and then disappear for a stretch of time only to reappear after I had forgotten who they were. One character who really stood out for me is Donnie, an ex-addict, biker, and Holiness church preacher who runs for mayor against the corrupt incumbent. So often in fiction, preachers are portrayed as stupid or corrupt themselves, but Donnie is not.
While I liked Queen Bee Of Mimosa Branch, it wasn’t a totally satisfactory reading experience. Lin went overboard with the analyzing and girl bonding. She was so intent on examining every single word, phrase and action that there were times I felt I was reading a self-help book, or a Cathy comic strip. I really wanted some more in the romance department too.
However, Queen Bee Of Mimosa Branch is a fun and often funny book and I recommend it to anyone who enjoys southern writing or women’s fiction.