When Marcus Sumter, a short order cook with dreams of being a chef, inherits a house in small town Marathon, Georgia, he leaves his big city life behind. Marcus intends to sell the house to finance his dreams, but a group of lovable busybodies, the Do Nothings, a new job at the local diner, the Tammy Dinette, and a handsome mechanic named Hank cause Marcus to rethink his plans. Will he return to the life he knew, or will he finally put down roots?
This story was completely lovely. I adored the setting, the characters and the softly woven romance throughout the entire thing. I read this book at exactly the right and wrong time for me personally. It gave me all kinds of bittersweet feelings about missing my Momma, who was the head of her own group of Do-Nothings, but loving those reminders of her and what life was like in a small town where everyone knew everyone’s business and meddling in the right and wrong ways. But even if it wasn’t the wrong time to get melancholy over missing my Momma, this story would still be fabulous and I would still love the reminder of how I grew up and what life is like down South where everyone is family and everyone just wants you to be happy. Just the way the ladies in this story wanted for Marcus.
Marcus was a gentle soul that I wanted to wrap in cotton. His journey throughout the story to find family and figure out where home is was a joy to watch. I loved seeing him react to the shenanigans of the Do-Nothings and other residents of Marathon, Georgia. His initial horror, to mild amusement to fond acceptance was so wonderful to see as it slowly changed. I was proud of Marcus as he stood up for himself and learned the important things in his life. By the end of the story I knew he was going to be happy.
The romance between Marcus and Hank was gentle and not really the main point of the story. It was solid and there within Marcus’ journey though and you could easily see both of them falling for each other. I adored them getting to know each other and how their relationship was built on friendship and mutual interests and not just physical desire. Not to say it wasn’t there, because that subtle heat was so dang sexy. But there was more to these two than sex and lust. They did have some obstacles to face, though they were more from Marcus having to get through some things to be able to be happy than anything to do with Marcus and Hank specifically. I loved the laughter with everyone at the end. You could see everyone would be happy long term.
I would have loved one last chapter to see how things are for Marcus a few years down the road. Is he still in Marathon? Is he still with Hank? Are the ladies of the Do-Nothings still as meddlesome as always? My tenderhearted self was yes to all of the above so I’ll believe it and don’t you go bursting my happy bubble for all of these characters.
Four and a half
I’m very excited to tell everyone that I had a chance to talk with Skeet on the phone recently. We had a nice little chat about music. Though not just music in general, Country music, and he gives some fabulous examples of great in the genre everyone should take a listen to. I’ll share our conversation here so everyone has a chance to enjoy the conversation as well. Read and enjoy!
“Hello? Molly? Is that you? Howdy! My name is Raffield Warner the Third. But you can call me Skeet. Everybody else does. My friend Killian Brewer told me you were looking for some advice on some country music songs that your readers should know about. He figured since I spent so much time listening to the country music on the old jukebox at the Tammy Dinette that I could make some recommendations. I told him I’d be happier than a pig in slop to do that. You got an ink pen handy to write these down? I’ll wait.”
“Okay. Since the Tammy Dinette is named after the first lady of country music, Miss Tammy Wynette, I figured I better start with her. Now everybody knows Stand By Your Man, but my absolute favorite Tammy song is Help Me Make it Through the Night. It is just such a romantic song, with Tammy asking a man to touch her cheek and to stay with her through the night and comfort her. When she says “come and lay down by my side,” I just swoon at the idea of a handsome man curled up beside me. And like Tammy says, no one wants to be alone. We all need someone to help us through the night.”
“Next, I have to recommend some Loretta Lynn. You can’t have classic country without the queen. My personal favorite is You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man. Loretta is singing to some floozy who is trying to steal her husband, but I like to imagine I am singing it to the girls who work at the diner. Any time a cute man comes into the diner, they all flirt with him. But I happen to know sometimes a man just might be more interested in another man. And someday I am going to show them all I might be exactly what a man is looking for. Also, it makes my best friend Frankie giggle whenever I sing it to her.”
“Let’s see. We need some Patsy Cline of course. It’s hard to go wrong with anything by Patsy, but I like Walkin’ After Midnight. There isn’t a lot to do in this little podunk town of Marathon, so I like to imagine that I am Patsy and out walking around looking for the man I love. Often, when I am trucking down one of our four streets in downtown, I sing this to myself. The rhythm of the song is great for kind of swinging your hips to and maybe someday I will actually find me a man who is walking around looking for me!”
“I need to give you something a little more modern I guess. I’ve got to mention my fellow Georgian, Trisha Yearwood. She has a really good song called Georgia Rain. It’s all about a woman hearing the rain fall in Georgia and remembering a time she and her high school sweetheart got caught in the rain while making out in the back of his truck. We do have some crazy storms here in Georgia during the summer. The rain can fall so hard you can barely see two feet in front of your face. And you haven’t really been kissed until you’ve been kissed by a cute boy in a pick-up truck. Or a girl, if that’s what you’re into. But when I finally move off to New York City to be on Broadway, I know this song will always make me want to be back home in Georgia.”
“Okay. One more. Then I have got to scoot. I promised my friend Marcus, he’s the cook at the Tammy Dinette, that I would give him a ride home. He doesn’t have a car because he got walloped real good by old Miss Richards. His car was…sorry. I am getting off track. A song, right? Well, Marcus likes to play one by Jennifer Nettles called Me Without You. She’s definitely more modern that what you hear at the Tammy Dinette. But the song is all about realizing that you are much happier and stronger after you break up with someone who was bad for you. Marcus really seems to relate to it. He smiles so big while singing it.”
“Anyway, that should get you off to a good start on a country music playlist. Of course, you need some Dolly Parton, Barbara Mandrell and LeAnn Rimes on there, too. Oh, and the Dixie Chicks and EmmyLou Harris of course. Hell, I could go on for hours so I better hang up! Be sure to come check out the jukebox at the Tammy Dinette! Goodbye, Molly!”
“Now sign here.” Raff pointed out a line at the bottom of a paper. “Then initial here.”
Marcus scribbled his name where instructed, then set the pen gently on the table. He read the final paragraph of the will to himself one more time. To my grandson Marcus, I leave all my other worldly possessions, my assets and most importantly, my house, so that maybe, just once in his life, that poor boy can have a real home.
“So, it’s all mine?”
“Well, it has to go through probate and such, but yes. Basically, it’s all yours.”
“And I have to live in the house? I mean, she says she wants it to be my home.”
“Oh, good lord, boy,” Helen said and laughed. “Your grandmother was a former mayor’s wife, not the queen of England. It’s a will, not a proclamation.”
“My mother is correct. You can do with the assets as you see fit, once her few debts are paid off.”
“So I could sell it?”
“If that’s what you desire. As a matter of fact, my wife, Katie Nell, is one of the most successful realtors in Marathon. I’m sure she could sell it for you in a heartbeat if you want.”
“Raff, you quit trying to drum up business for that nitwit wife of yours.” Helen picked up the pen from the table and inspected it before opening her purse and dropping it in. “Marcus, you don’t have to decide anything right now. Why don’t you spend a little time here and see what you want to do with it? How soon do you have to be back where you came from? Back in…?”
“Um, Atlanta.” Marcus let his eyes wander off from Helen to the photographs on the wall behind her. “No rush. Nothing important waiting on me there.”
“Then it’s settled. You stay here for a few weeks at least and see what you want to do. The other Do Nothings and I have already gone through your grandmother’s house and got it nice and clean for you. Of course, there’s no real food in there, but we’ll get you settled, and I’ll bring over something for you to eat tonight. Tomorrow, we will run you up to the Piggly Wiggly and stock you up.”
“Well, I guess I can stay until the house sells at least.” Marcus looked at the table as Raff slid a manila envelope across the table to him.
“Here are your copies of all the paperwork. There are a bunch of things in there. Here are the keys to the house.” Raff pushed a key ring across the table. “And I wrote Katie Nell’s number on the front of the envelope so when you get ready to sell—”
“If you sell it,” Helen interrupted her son. “You never know, little man, we might just charm you into staying.”
Killian B. Brewer lives in his life-long home of Georgia with his partner and their dog. He has written poetry and short fiction since he was knee-high to a grasshopper. Brewer earned a BA in English and does not use this degree in his job in the banking industry. He has a love of greasy diner food that borders on obsessive. Lunch with the Do Nothings at the Tammy Dinette is his second novel. His first novel, The Rules of Ever After, is available from Duet Books, an imprint of Interlude Press.
Connect with Killian at killianbbrewer.com, on Twitter @KillianBBrewer, on Facebook at Facebook.com/KillianBBewer, on Pinterest at Pinterest.com/KillianBBrewer, and on Goodreads at Goodreads.com/KillianBBrewer.
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