Although Ashton Lee hasn't wrapped up his Cherry Cola Book Club series, he brings one of Library Director Maura Beth McShay's dreams to a successful conclusion in Queen of the Cookbooks. Faithful readers will rejoice along with the members of the club, but it's obvious Maura Beth faces trouble in the future.
Finally! It's been a seven-year struggle, but Cherico, Mississippi is finally ready to open the new library, with all the pageantry of a July 4th celebration. But, Maura Beth confides to her new husband that something's missing. It's on a wandering trip one day that she realizes they don't have food for the grand opening. Her plan? Tents offering food, and a contest to name the best dish, with the person who made the dish crowned as Queen of the Cookbooks. But, nothing comes easy for the Library Director. Two of the cooks are at war, determined to beat each other, using sabotage if necessary.
But, the two warring contestants are the least of Maura Beth's problems. Her teenage clerk, Renette, has a crush on country star and entrepreneur Waddell Mack. She has dreams that could only stir up trouble with her conservative parents. And, those parents have already confronted Maura Beth, complaining about the books in the library while demanding the removal of some of them.
Ashton Lee's novels always have charming Southern characters, lively book discussions, and mouthwatering recipes. Maura Beth McShay has grown into a confident library director who faces down controversy, and unites the citizens of Cherico once again in this enjoyable book. Queen of the Cookbooks is the culmination of an ongoing storyline, and what should be the culmination of any Library Director's career. It's time for Maura Beth to move on with her personal life, although, as always there will be issues to deal with at the library.
Queen of the Cookbooks by Ashton Lee. Kensington Books. 2016. ISBN 9781496705785 (paperback), 245p.
FTC Full Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.