Margaret struggles toward adulthood in a world torn apart by the Second World War and complicated by her strong-willed mother, Sophia, and grandmother, Charlie Kate, in a story about three generations of passionate, willful Southern women
Begining with her debut novel, Ellen Foster , Gibbons' work has been heartwarming and addictively readable. In this, her fourth novel, she creates a touching picture of female bonding and solidarity. Related with the simple, tart economy of a folktale, the narrative brims with wisdom and superstition, with Southern manners and insights into human nature. Like the heroines of Gibbons's previous novels, indomitable country doctor Charlie Kate and her daughter, Sophia, have been disappointed by men. Supported by Charlie Kate's homeopathic medical practice, which she pursues without the benefit of a degree but with the respect of the community of Raleigh, N.C., they live with Margaret, Sophia's daughter (the novel's narrator), in a relatively harmonious if decidedly eccentric household. All are feminists before the word was coined; all are avid readers (``When a good book was in the house, the place fairly vibrated'') and all are capable of defying conventions when urgency dictates. Gibbons' picture of the South during the Depression and WW II is satisfyingly full of period references. But her triumph is the character of Charlie Kate: strong-minded, arbitrary and opinionated, a crusader for the underdog, and the grumpy but benign ruler of her offspring's lives. Though at times she veers dangerously toward the saccharine, Gibson rescues the fairy-tale ending with a bittersweet twist, having solidly orchestrated its inevitability. Author tour.
As good as Ellen Foster
I have read a couple of gibbons' books and never thought they measured up to Ellen Foster. This one, Charms for the Easy Life, has! I loved this book and was disheartened when I finished it! I loved the time period of WW II, gibbons made many references to the history, entertainment, and culture at the time it was easy for the reader to lose oneself in that era. I loved the characters and felt they were members of my family....now THATS professional writing! I so wish there were a sequel or three to this book, I'd love to follow these three ladies through time for a while! Or a prequel would be great to learn more of the grandmother when she was younger!! This novel should be a Southern classic.....growing up in the south, I recognize the "chemistry" between the characters as completely authentic!
Charms for the Easy Life
Wonderful book. Starts of a bit slow, but stick with it, so worth it!