Sometimes, I break my own rules, and then I'm mad afterward. I've said I won't review self-published or ebooks, and I only occasionally make an exception. Now, when I really enjoyed Kaye Wilkinson Barley's debut novel, Whimsey, I can't share it with some of the people who would enjoy it the most, my family. None of them have a Kindle or a device to read it. Whimsey is fun, lively, and sparkles with artists, humor and romance. It's southern humor and southern women at their best.
(And, the other thing I don't like about ebooks? I can't go back and check the spelling of a name when I'm not sure what I wrote. So, if a character's name is spelled wrong, blame it on the format.)
Whimsey is a small island, an artist's colony off the coast of Georgia. And, it's been home to Emma Hamilton Foley's family since her Great Aunt Elizabeth had the inspiration and the money to buy it in 1949. And, she packed up Emma's grandparents, two budding artists, and took them with her. But, Emma left the island for college in Savannah with her four best friends. Now, Emma's aunt, Zoe Hamilton, is opening a gallery, Les étoiles, planning to showcase local artists. Emma's friends may all be returning to Whimsey, but she can't face it. The once-promising jewelry designer left the love of her life there, married another man, and found her life off island was a mistake. Now, she can't admit to anyone that her art has deserted her.
Sooner or later, though, a yearning for family and home will draw Emma back to Whimsey, where she has to face her demons, her reasons for leaving, and her uncertainly about the Whimsey magic. For Whimsey has a magic that brings out the creativity in its artists. And, it's a place where community and family are important.
Kaye Wilkinson Barley has been an online friend for a number of years now. It's easy to recognize Kaye's love of life in the pure joy that comes through when family and friends get together in Whimsey. And, there are recognizable traces of her life in Fred, the Corgi, Sissyfriss Sockmonkey, and the love of red in the book. If I knew Kaye better, I'm sure there are other pieces I would recognize. And, I can certainly picture her as one of "The Wicked Women of Whimsey".
Barley brings all of her love of southern life, southern women, and art to Whimsey. It's a story that sparkles with life and humor, and characters who enjoy all of it. And, Whimsey's magical realism will remind readers of Ellery Adams and Sarah Addison Allan. It's a charming book, filled with laughter.
So, two personal notes. I'm not going to change my policy. I normally will not review ebooks. It's too difficult to do, knowing some of my favorite readers won't get a chance to read the book. The other, note, though, is for Kaye. Kaye, I'm glad you found your crimson, and held on tight.
OK - Follow-up - Kaye said Whimsey is available in print from Amazon right now, and in 6-8 weeks, should be available in bookstores, through Ingram. So, in a few months, request that your favorite public library buy it, and they might be able to get it.
I have been a library manager/administrator for over 30 years, in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, and, now, Indiana. Winner of the 2011 Arizona Library Association Outstanding Library Service Award. I am a contributing Book Reviewer for Library Journal, Mystery Readers Journal, ReadertoReader.com and VibrantNation.com. Winner of the 2009 and 2010 Spinetingler Awards for Best Reviewer. First Fan Guest of Honor for Desert Sleuths Chapter of Sisters in Crime, Write Now! Conference.
It's an honor to be asked to review books, and I'm grateful to all the publishers, publicists, and authors who send me books. Thank you. Reviews will appear on my blog if I've had a chance to read, and finish, the book. If I do not finish a book, I won't review it, and I will not respond to emails asking when, or if, I'll be reviewing a book.
My reviews are only my opinion, and do not reflect the views of the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library.
I will not review self-published books, and, at the present time, do not accept books in e-book format.
Splish, Splash, Splosh!: David Melling
Book: Splish, Splash, Splosh! Author: David Melling (@DavidMelling1) Pages: 22 Age Range: 2-5 Splish, Splash, Splosh! by David Melling is a medium-sized boar...
My Oct. 19, 2009 blog provides full disclosure that I only receive review copies of books, with no other compensation. All review copies are marked as such. If there any any questions, please feel free to contact me.