Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Talk of the Town-Fran Baker

The Talk of the Town
Fran Baker
Five Star, Oct 12 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9781432825393

In 1933 in Blue Ridge, Missouri Roxie Mitchell attends the Ladies Aide monthly meeting and is shocked that the members are in total agreement over Agnes Dill locking her door out of fear of recently released convict Luke Bauer. Unable to allow a session to occur without dissent, Roxie claims that seems too harsh and dramatic. The others, in turn lecture, the twenty-five years old single woman who all believe is too educated, intelligent and opinionated to land a husband.

The former St. Luis bookkeeper displays her independence by managing a local clothing warehouse. When Luke cannot find work due to his criminal record, Roxie gives him a job in the warehouse. She becomes his only friend in town while her family and friends demand she cut him off even while the boss and the employee begin to fall in taboo love; until money goes missing.

The first Daughters of the Great Depression is an entertaining historical romance in which the era comes alive with little tidbits like a father of five quitting his low paying position to head to the Promised Land. Roxie has moxie whether it is stirring the Ladies Aide members, her family, the warehouse workers, or the rest of the townsfolk with her feisty independence especially when she decides Luke is hers. In many ways proud, insolent, but somewhat beaten Luke is the more realistic character as his convict past is a pariah that limits his activity in his birth town. Still fans will enjoy this fine 1930s Show Me State romance.

Harriet Klausner

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