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 Fiction Review    

 

Love and a Bad Hair Day
by Annie Flannigan
Avon, 2003
Paperback, $13.95 (288 pages)
ISBN: 0380819368
 
 

In the fictional mountain town of Venbena, North Carolina the main attraction is the feud between the Hadleys and the O'Malleys.  The dividing line is highway 612, which runs through the center of town with the O'Malley-owned South Winds motel on one side and the Hadley Auto Garage and Museum on the other.  But the feud has lost its luster with the death of the last local O'Malley and the question of what is to become of the South Winds, in many ways the life-blood of Venbena with its All Day Breakfast Buffet and the Second Saturday Flea Market.

Jolene Hadley Corbett owns The Combin' Holiday beauty salon and like her family looks for "signs" to guide her life.  Her favorite sign is the neon diving swimmer above the South Winds.  She is empowered by the female swimmer she calls "Esther," because she appears to be diving into the unknown with courage.  One event of teenage courage with family repercussions has caused Jolene to hold back in life in fear of hurting her family.

Ry O'Malley returns to Venbena to level the South Winds, a place he sees as tearing his family apart by the money it made.  But like his grandfather, it appears that Ry can't do anything without finding a windfall profit. 

Sparks fly when Jolene learns Ry's plan to dismantle the South Winds and her icon Esther.  The sexual tension that began when they were teenagers hasn't cooled through the years, and the banter between them is hot. 

Annie Flannigan's wit comes out in situational comedy, banter, and classic Southern humor stereotypes.  The emotions are strong as each generation of these families interplay to prove the love is as strong as the feud.  Flannigan has some one-line ziggers, such as "God save us from Southern women with a cause and a cell phone."  

Love and a Bad Hair Day is page-turning fun.

 

Joyce Dixon
Southern Scribe Reviews

 

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