Sunday, February 24, 2013

Whimsey by Kaye Wilkinson Barley

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.

Kaye Wilkinson Barley blogs at

Whimsey by Kaye Wilkinson Barley. 2013.

FTC Full Disclosure - The author gave me a copy, hoping I would review it.


Kaye Barley said...


Lesa, Thank you.

and before I go have a good cry, I want to say I LOVE YOU!!!!!!

(and that Whimsey is now available in print)

Lesa said...

Oh, I know those good cries, Kaye. Love you back!

Earl Staggs said...

Lesa, they say only two things in life are certain - death and taxes - but there's a third one - to know Kaye is to love her. Now we can add a fourth one - to read Whimsey is to love it. Even a hard-nosed mystery writer like me found it a pure delight with irresistable characters and a story that makes you laugh at times, cry at times, and leaves you wanting to hug someone.

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Though Kaye and I have never met, I feel like I know her. I have walked the same streets she walked in her home town of Cambridge MD and know of the places she comments about. Haven't read her book yet, but I will!

Karen C said...

I want to read this book! The story sounds wonderful - as is your review.

Lesa said...

Earl, I love Kaye even if I havent't met her. And, I'm so glad you were there to help her find her crimson.

Chester Campbell said...

I haven't read anything but mysteries since forever. Now you've talked me into reading Whimsey. I agree with all the great things everybody's said about Kaye. She's a treasure.

Lesa said...

You're met Kaye, haven't you, Chester? I'm envious. Kaye is a treasure.

Radine Trees Nehring said...

Isn't the Internet grand! Today so many of us have "best friends" we have never seen face-to-face or touched. I miss this touch, the hugs, but then, I'd never have known Lesa or Kaye if it weren't for Internet connections. This book sounds like a delight and I will get it as soon as I can in print. (Kaye, keep reminding us on DorothyL!)
Love from Radine

Deborah Sharp said...

So great to see Kaye's book garnering nice notices (and from a nice reviewer like Lesa, too!) It couldn't happen to a nicer person. Best of luck with the book, Kaye!

Kaye Barley said...

i love you guys.

Thank You!!!!!!