Review by Melinda Garza
Beulah Land, the daughter of a Baptist deacon, led a life not envied by others. She had a sad and difficult childhood. When she got pregnant as a teenager, she became estranged from her family. When no one else would care for, she was brought in my Ginger. Ginger, who played the piano at church, gave her a home and most of all love. Tragically, Beulah lost her newborn son. She then spent most nights playing the piano at a local bar called The Fountain. It was across the street from the local church, County Line.
Ginger, who had cancer, was no longer able to play the piano at church and asked Beulah to take over her position. That did not sit well with Beulah much less with some of the church's members but she agreed to play out of respect for Ginger. Just as much, she also clashed with Luke, the County Line’s new pastor. As Luke is trying to get more members to attend church, they are not too pleased with Beulah's piano selections. She then decides to put together a choir and since she plays at The Fountain, she decides to get her new choir members from the bar. Hence, the Happy Hour Choir is born. As time goes by, more people come to worship and Beulah's choir blossoms. Luke then forms a bible study that meets weekly at The Fountain. It also succeeds and most of its members are from the choir. During all this transition going on at the church, Luke and Beulah try to fight a chemistry between them that does not go unnoticed. Is Beulah able to accept love that she does not think she deserves?
Ginger then decides to bring in another pregnant girl into her home. Her name is Tiffany. She worked with Beulah at The Fountain for a while. She also did not live a childhood to brag about but through the love of Ginger, the two young ladies find they have a lot more in common than they thought.
Sally Kilpatrick nailed her debut novel. It contains both hope and love and was a book that I could not put down. Each page kept me wanting to read more. I really enjoyed how Sally tied together all the characters with both the church and the local bar.
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“12 Things About Sally Kilpatrick”
Wow. This is going to be tough because. . . .
12. I have a propensity to share all the things on social media including, but not limited to, that time I took pole dancing lessons and the spring we battled hair pets.
11. Once upon a time I had a pet cow named Bambi. I asked for a horse, and my father said in no uncertain terms that they were a waste of money. Then I got the cow instead. As long as I helped feed the cows and drove for him while he hauled hay, I got the revenue from her calf each year. Some of that money paid for my college textbooks. True story.
10. The first published author to ever critique my work was the southern grand dame, Elizabeth Spencer. Her take on my first-person journal account of the Salem Withcraft Trials: “And this? I don’t know what this is.”
9. I almost became a lawyer but decided to major in things that don’t actually earn you a living instead: English (major) and Women’s Studies (minor). At least I picked up a second lucrative minor: Spanish.
8. I taught high school Spanish for eight years. I called my students “mis angelitos.” Sometimes it was ironic, but usually it wasn’t.
7. Even though I write southern fiction, I critique with Tanya Michaels (contemporary romance), Jenni McQuiston (historical), Romily Bernard (YA/middle grade), and Anna Steffl (fantasy). Obviously, I don’t think you have to critique with someone who writes the same thing as you. It might even be better for your voice if you didn’t.
6. All of my stories are set in the same small town. I had written four of them before I realized what I’d done with a “Holy sh*t!” epiphany while leaving car pool one day. Thank goodness Her Majesty was already out of the car.
5. I’ve met both Harry Connick, Jr, and Jimmy Carter but not on the same day and not at the same time. I was only tongue-tied for Harry. Okay, fine. I have a crush on Jimmy Carter, too.
4. Going back to grad school to get my Master of Professional Writing was a Christmas gift from my husband. Best. Christmas present. Ever.
3. My mother has her doctorate in education. Sometimes I ask her to take off her Nana cap and to put on her Doctor cap when I have problems with the kids’ schools.
2. I really did take piano lessons, and I really have sung all of the songs in The Happy Hour Choir, but nothing else about the novel is real. Except the part where Beulah has her shirt safety-pinned to hide her cleavage and is forced to apply mascara. Those are based on a true story.
1. The Happy Hour Choir was the book I wrote because I’d become frustrated trying to write a book that would sell. Listen to your Aunt Sally, kids: write the story you need to write. Then, and only then, can you figure out the hows and wheres of trying to sell it. As they say in Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.”
About the Author:
Sally Kilpatrick lives in Marietta with her husband, Ryan, and her two children. We shall call these precious and precocious children The Hobbit and Her Majesty.
Her debut novel, The Happy Hour Choir will be released by Kensington on April 28, 2015. The Happy Hour Choir won the Duel on the Delta, finaled in the Maggie Awards for Excellence and was a 2012 Golden Heart® finalist. Sally has two other novels coming down the pike—think Shakespeare with cows (Starcrossed and Moonblind) and It’s a Wonderful Life in a funeral home (Giving up the Ghost, a 2013 Maggie finalist).
A former Spanish teacher—because that’s what you do with an English major—Sally took an extended sabbatical when her husband gave her an application to Kennesaw State University’s Master of Arts in Professional Writing Program for Christmas 2007. (Best Christmas Present Ever!)
Sally is also the current president of Georgia Romance Writers.
For fun, Sally likes to read, write, run, and—you guessed it—sing in her church choir.
Connect with the author at:
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A print copy of The Happy Hour Choir
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