Sunday, March 3, 2013

Review: Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'Easter by Lisa Patton

Whistin' Dixie in a Nor'easter: Leelee Satterfield is a true Southern Belle - from her sorority days at Ole Miss to her evenings at the Memphis country club first with her "Daddy" and now with her husband, Baker. She loves her life in Memphis including her group of childhood girlfriends - Virgina, Alice and Mary Jule - with her she still gets into mischief years after they graduated from Miss Jamison's School for Young Ladies. But she loves her husband dearly too so when he expresses frustration with career working in his father's insurance business and wants to open an inn in Vermont, it breaks her heart but she agrees to move the family to Vermont. In Vermont, she will be challenged by much more than homesickness. Leelee has many reservations about moving to Vermont - leaving her friends, moving to a new place, starting a new business as an inn owner. There is much more, however, waiting when she arrives.

Helga and Rolf, the prior owners of the inn Leelee and Baker purchase, are staying on at the inn for the first year. They maintain a ironclad hold on the operations of the inn and Helga in particular makes Leelee's life miserable. Her life is not her own - she must do everything by Helga's schedule and in Helga's way. When the winter weather kicks in, Leelee is introduced to the joys of winter in the North including roof rakes, black ice and hours of shoveling. Leelee is really struggling to adjust and Baker is no help - he doesn't stand up to Helga on Leelee's behalf and he doesn't empathize with her homesickness. In addition to losing her hometown and friends with this move, Leelee also feels like she is losing Baker.

Leelee's inability to stand up to Baker when the decision to move North was first being made is emblematic of Leelee's inability to speak up for and assert herself. She wants so badly to be polite and accommodating that she frequently lets others take advantage of her. Her "Daddy" took great care of her growing up but also made all her decisions for her even down to ordering her entree when they dined at the country club. She also relied on him, and then Baker, to deliver any bad news or confront a difficult situation.  With neither of them defending her in the North, Leelee must learn to stand up for herself and make the most of her new  life in the land of snow.

My Thoughts
Though predictable, Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter definitely charmed me. At times, Leelee's incredulity at the snow, manners of her new neighbors and Northern customs could seem stereotypical but once she started being able to see some good about living in Vermont, the stereotypes were forgotten. I soon found myself rooting for Leelee and celebrating in her growth as she learned how to take care of herself. I especially like her raucous group of girlfriends - we all have that group of friends that can lift us out of the worst of times and the scenes that included Leelee's friends were both heartwarming and downright funny. The book left me anxiously looking forward to its sequel "Yankee Doodle Dixie". Can't wait to see what happens to Leelee next!


  1. I thought Yankee Doodle Dixie was great and need to go back and read this one. Lisa Patton is a doll - I think Leelee is based on her, but she denies it.

  2. I could see that - she even has the fiery red hair color of Leelee!

  3. Sounds delightful! Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my Monday Reading post.

  4. I really enjoyed this book. It was a sweet bit of guilty pleasure reading :) I didn't know there was a sequel!

  5. So glad to hear it's good. I've always loved this cover.

  6. I can relate to the premise as a New Yorker who moved to a small town in Maine when my husband took a job teaching at Bowdoin College 15 years ago. It would be more of a shock if I didn't know snow. Fine review!