Monday, February 04, 2008

Lisa Wingate's Talk of the Town ~ Reviewed

By Lisa Wingate
Published by Bethany House
ISBN# 978-0-7642-0490-6

Back Cover :

Best known for her blockbuster novel “Tending Roses”, Lisa Wingate pens another fresh, charming and playful novel. In Talk of the Town, a high-powered Hollywood professional comes to small-town Texas, and the resulting culture clash makes for an entertaining, laugh-out-loud read.

Her show, American Mega Star, is the hottest thing on television, but associate producer Mandalay Florentino feels doom pushing in. She’s just arrived in the tiny town of Daily, Texas, to arrange a surprise “reunion concert” for hometown finalist Amber Anderson. Only everyone in town seems to know the secret; paparazzi are arriving. And she keeps crossing paths with a gorgeous cowboy who may not be the down-home boy he appears to be.

Soon Mandalay and the citizens of Daily find themselves at the center of a media and tabloid maelstrom…with a young girl’s future on the line.

Can anything to right in this tumbleweed town?


Dailey is a town where road kill damage to your car is exciting news. The tally is kept on the chalkboard at the auto body shop. They are seeing who wins for the year. Many of the towns people are neck and neck.

“A wiggle in the water don’t mean there’s a fish on the hook”; “ I was going to be stranded like a horned toad on a high rock.”; “We’ll fix ye-ew quicker’n ye-ew can say Cooter Brown”; and finally “Curiosity was eating me like a winter cow on spring wheat by the time lunch crowd tapered off.” These sayings and the so-many-more used by the towns folk will make you laugh and stop to think, "I can’t believe they just said that." I wouldn’t ever imagine working these sayings in normal conversation. But when you're from a small town like Dailey, Texas, this is the way you talk.

This story is also about Amber Anderson, Daily hometown girl who gets a chance of a life time to perform on the hit show American Mega Star. She is really pretty good but one mark against her is she sings gospel songs. Everyone likes her but the media. Who thinks she is too good to be true. No one can be that good. They follower her around and begin to print things about her. The people of Dailey, Texas start to wonder if they really know Amber.

Has she changed? Can they trust the pictures they see? Has Hollywood corrupted her?

You’ll discover the behind scenes of the mega hit TV show and it takes to make it a success. There are so many adventures and loveable characters interwoven in the story. Will Amber Anderson be just another casualty of American Megastar, Season Three? Or will the reunion concert to be held in Dailey, Texas change all that? Learn about the life lessons Amanda-lee (T.V. associate producer) discovers that change her life. See through the eyes of a 70 year old bed & breakfast owner Imagene as she discovers life a new. Read this whimsical story to find out the answers to these questions and so much more.

Reviewed by Nora St. Laurent
Leader of LifeWay Book Club

And Book Ends Book Club

And a bonus review:

A story of overcoming the odds with a corral full of laughs, Talk of the Town is delightful to read. The inhabitants of Daily, Texas, are a quirky bunch. From Donetta, the hairdresser who also owns the once-closed-now-open impossible, haunted hotel above her beauty shop to the stuttering dump truck driver, Doyle, a member of the Countertop Club, you'll fall in love with all of them. There's even a bookcase passageway between the coffee shop where Imagene works as a waitress and her best friend's beauty shop.
Told from both Mandalay and Imagen's point of view, Wingate describes it as a fish out of water tale. But it's much, much more. Following the national popularity of American Idol, Wingate has grabbed that idea, tossed in a what-if or two and delivered a rollicking good read.
Imagene is Aunt Bea and Lucy Ricardo rolled into one. Mandalay is caught between saving her job and her conscience, and she battles even herself—forget standing a chance against Imagene and Donetta—especially when they take up match-making.
Flawlessly written, the chapters hop back and forth between Imagene and Mandalay with Wingate never confusing the two voices. I chuckled all the way through. If you love to laugh and love a great story, Talk of the Town is highly recommended.
Reviewed by Ane Mulligan

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