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Little Gale Gumbo
Erika Marks
Adult Fiction MARKS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Marks's expansive but generic debut chronicles the lives and loves of young sisters Dahlia and Josie, who move with their mother, Camille, from New Orleans to Little Gale, an island off the Maine coast, to escape their abusive father, Charles Bergeron. In Little Gale, the trio make their home in Ben Haskell's extra room. Ben and Camille fall in love while the girls befriend Ben's son, Matthew. Josie, the younger sister and daddy's girl, eagerly learns Camille's gumbo recipes and voodoo rituals. Cynical older sister Dahlia cultivates an unhealthy attitude toward men that leads to promiscuity and breaking the heart of her high school sweetheart, Jack Thurlow. Josie yearns for Matthew, who yearns for Dahlia. Charles, usually dealing drugs or in prison, makes intermittent disruptive appearances on the island over the course of years, at one point giving Josie $12,000 to hold for him in secret. When Charles returns to Little Gale, he attacks Ben and lands him in a coma and gets himself killed, and past secrets threaten to disrupt everyone's lives. Though densely plotted, the book moves at a snail's pace, and the benevolent male characters prove indistinguishable. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

To escape an abusive relationship, Camille Bergeron fled her beloved New Orleans in 1977 with her two teenage daughters, Dahlia and Josie, winding up on Little Gale Island off the coast of Maine-a place as geographically and culturally distant from their home as possible. Opening a Creole restaurant, the Bergerons soon win over the locals, becoming as much a part of the island's culture as lobster fishing. Most important for Camille, she wins the heart of Ben Haskell, their landlord, who becomes a stable fixture in their lives. Yet Camille's daughters remain scarred by the chaos of their early childhood. Dahlia vows she will never let a man hurt her as her father hurt her mother, and Josie maintains her idealism and romanticism despite the challenges of adulthood. When their father arrives on the island, bringing trouble with him, Dahlia and Josie, along with Ben's son, Matthew, must come to terms with their pasts. Verdict A debut like this doesn't come along often-this is women's fiction to be savored, just like a bowl of Camille's delicious gumbo. And like gumbo, it's the blend of ingredients that makes the difference. Marks's combination of strong female characters, New Orleans culture, and light suspense is a winner.-Nanette Donohue, Champaign P.L., IL (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Camille

Ben Haskell
Lover of Camille; discovered unconsious next to Camille's estranged husband.

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