Book Review | Series Showcase: The Darling Dahlias by Susan Wittig Albert Novels 1-6-7 feat. the latest release: The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover

Posted Friday, 16 March, 2018 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Book Review badge created by Jorie in Canva using Unsplash.com photography (Creative Commons Zero).

Borrowed Book By: I’ve attempted to read the serial fiction offerings by Ms Albert for quite a number of years; I even have a copy of the first novel in the China Bayles series – which I previously attempted to read during #BoutofBooks a few years ago. I haven’t even had the pleasure of picking up the first Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter! I adored reading ‘Loving Eleanor’ and dearly want to continue reading Ms Albert’s Biographical Historical Fiction novels because she has a wonderful gift for etching out the women whose lives she’s focusing on bringing forward into our own awareness of what they endured whilst they were alive.

However, this particular series ‘the Darling Dahlias’ seemed like a good fit for me – mostly as it’s set during the 1930s (one of my favourite eras), is historical in contrast whilst set within a garden club in the rural South. Southern Fiction is one of my favourites to be reading aside from Historical Fiction – this series is a happy compliment to both with a nod towards ‘Cosy Mysteries’ (another beloved of mine!).

Ergo, I decided before I signed on for the blog tour this Spring to see if my local library had the first sixth novels in the series – blessedly they *did!* and I happily selected the first three to arrive together whilst holding off for the next three until I knew I was starting the first half of the series. All of these readings would happily put me in the throes of the series ahead of reading the beautiful ARC which I received for the blog tour on behalf of “The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover” in exchange for an honest review.

I borrowed all the novels in the Darling Dahlias series in hardback edition from my local library. I was not obligated to post a review as I am doing so for my own edification as a reader who loves to share her readerly life. I was not compensated for my thoughts shared herein for either the books I borrowed at my library or the ARC I received  for review on the blog tour.

Initially, this was my plan of action for reading the Darling Dahlias series – however, in late February, after several weeks of added strife and stress, my family and I ended a five month crisis wherein I felt tremendous relief to have the weight finally off our shoulders. I was going to attempt to read the series little by little rather than in a personal Marathon sprint like I had the Seven Sisters series by Lucinda Riley at the end of January.

Except to say, I had too much on my mind and heart – I ended up having to let the series go back to my library unread except I saved back the first novel and the sixth novel – fearing that despite the fact I had to shorten my readings of the series, I was going to approach this series like I’ve approached reading the Samuel Craddock series: I’ll get a taste for the characters, the setting and the styling of narrative now as the latest release is upon us to celebrate whilst giving myself the grace to realise the rest of the series can wait for me to resume reading it at a latter date.

In regards to Samuel Craddock and my listening of the Cosy Mysteries by Lisa B. Thomas – both of those series are upcoming next on my blog – as I’m digging into the next two I have in-line to finish ahead of the weekend. I look forward to continuing to share my thoughts on these lovelies as similar in vein to the Darling Dahlias, I do fancy a wicked good Cosy time after time! The Craddock series is cosier than hard-boils but for me personally, I’d classify it as ‘dramatic crime fiction’ as it truly speaks to the heart of the series as it’s being written.

Fun Stuff for Your Blog via pureimaginationblog.comBook Review | Series Showcase: The Darling Dahlias by Susan Wittig Albert Novels 1-6-7 feat. the latest release: The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky CloverThe Darling Dahlias series Novels 1-6-7
Subtitle: The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover
by Susan Wittig Albert
Source: Author via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Borrowed from local library

NYT bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert returns to Depression-era Darling, Alabama…​where the ladies of the Dahlias, the local garden club, are happy to dig a little dirt!

In the seventh book of this popular series, it looks like the music has ended for Darling’s favorite barbershop uiquartet, the Lucky Four Clovers—just days before the Dixie Regional Barbershop Competition. Another unlucky break: a serious foul-up in Darling’s telephone system—and not a penny for repairs. And while liquor is legal again, moonshine isn’t. Sheriff Buddy Norris needs a little luck when he goes into Briar Swamp to confront Cypress County’s most notorious bootlegger. What he finds upends his sense of justice.

Once again, Susan Wittig Albert has told a charming story filled with richly human characters who face the Great Depression with courage and grace. She reminds us that friends offer the best of themselves to each other, community is what holds us together, and luck is what you make it.

Bonus features: Liz Lacy’s Garden Gate column on “lucky” plants, plus the Dahlias’ collection of traditional Southern pie recipes and a dash of cookery history. Reading group questions, more recipes, and Depression-era info can be found on the Darling Dahlias website linked in the author's biography on this review.

Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Find on Book Browse

ISBN: 978-0996904032

Also by this author: Loving Eleanor

Genres: Amateur Detective, Cosy Historical Mystery, Women's Fiction


Published by Berkley Prime Crime, Persevero Press

on 6th of March, 2018

Format: Hardcover Edition, Paperback ARC

Pages: 280

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The Darling Dahlias series:

Published By: Berkley Prime Crime (@BerkleyMystery)

imprint of Berkley Publishing (@BerkleyPub)

via Penguin Random House (@penguinrandom)

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (Book One)

The Darling Dahlias and the Naked Ladies (Book Two) | Synopsis

The Darling Dahlias and the Confederate Rose (Book Three) | Synopsis

The Darling Dahlias and the Texas Star (Book Four) | Synopsis

The Darling Dahlias and the Silver Dollar Bush (Book Five) | Synopsis

The Darling Dahlias and the Eleven O’ Clock Lady (Book Six) | Synopsis

Published By: Persevero Press
(author directed publishing platform)

The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover (Book Seven)

Available Formats: Hardcover, Audiobook, Paperback and Ebook

View a Map of Darling via the official site for the Darling Dahlias series

Converse via: #DarlingDahlias

About Susan Wittig Albert

Susan Wittig Albert

Susan Wittig Albert is the award-winning, NYT bestselling author of the forthcoming historical novel Loving Eleanor (2016), about the intimate friendship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Lorena Hickok; and A Wilder Rose (2014), about Rose Wilder Lane and the writing of the Little House books.

Her award-winning fiction also includes mysteries in the China Bayles series, the Darling Dahlias, the Cottage Tales of Beatrix Potter, and a series of Victorian-Edwardian mysteries she has written with her husband, Bill Albert, under the pseudonym of Robin Paige.

She has written two memoirs: An Extraordinary Year of Ordinary Days and Together, Alone: A Memoir of Marriage and Place, published by the University of Texas Press.

Her nonfiction titles include What Wildness is This: Women Write About the Southwest (winner of the 2009 Willa Award for Creative Nonfiction); Writing from Life: Telling the Soul’s Story; and Work of Her Own: A Woman’s Guide to Success Off the Career Track.

She is founder and current president (2015-2017) of the Story Circle Network and a member of the Texas Institute of Letters.

Site for A Wilder Rose
Site for China Bayles series | Site for Darling Dahlias series | Site for the Cottage Tales series
Mystery Novels with her husband
Story Circle

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the darling dahlias and the towne of darling:

I love how some of the advice being shared in the Darling Dahlias Gardening Club focuses on how to keep your mind focused on the Light – of how to live without succumbing to the darker sides of life and to be mindful of the shadows. In this instance, it was how to plant flowers amongst your vegetables – something I learnt myself when I was a local farmer’s market and was enquiring about how you can grow sweet onions near strawberries and why certain flowers thrive with vegetables. It spoke to the organic nature of how plants curate their own friendships and find stability in their connections to have sustained growth in situations which might not always yield an easy harvest.

I had a feeling I’d like Myra May almost instantly – she wrote her own fashion ticket, being this was the early ’30s she could get away with wearing slacks in lieu of skirts or dresses; even if this was such an out of the box theory to have in mind back then! The other women were fashion trendy, kept with the times and wore the kind of clothes each of them would feel were appropriate for the Season and the times they were living in without too much deviation. I tend to like to watch the people who do something outside the mainstream – of following their own instincts and owning their personality which sets them apart from the crowd. I had to laugh a bit when they were happy they could forego wearing the ‘cloche’ hats – mostly, as this happens to be one of my favourite styles of hats!

In each chapter, we have had the chance to peer into the lives of the Dahlias, to see how they are in their private settings and how they might change how they interact with the world or each other therein. Some of them of course, have their own secrets or their own interests at heart – depending on whose perspective your reading about the most interesting thing is how each of them were connected to each other. This style of shifting points of view per each Dahlia also allows us to spend a moment with each of the characters in their home settings. It is surprising how differently a character can act at home rather than involved in their favourite social group.

After we become a bit better acquainted with the Dahlias, the novel shifts and turns; either alighting at an even the Dahlias are attending or moving forward with the key narrative focus – partially of which involves whether or not their inheritance of the house they now occupy as their meeting space will withhold not only scrutiny but an unwilling relative of the benefactor who refuses to abandon ship on the idea of who is the true inheritor of the property.

reflections of the darling dahlias and the cucumber tree:

Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Laura Ockel. (Creative Commons Zero)

The ladies who make up the Darling Dahlias were endowed with both a house and a new name for their garden club when Mrs Dahlia Blackstone passed on – she left them the cucumber trees as well. Each of them loved to bring pot luck goodies with them to their meetings – the kinds of foods you’d hanker for yourself just by reading their descriptions!

As you become aware of how they inherited the house from Mrs Blackstone you start to uncover how her truer heir was her nephew; a man who had plotted against his Aunt and whose wife had already spent the money of his inheritance before it was properly read aloud. The two were disappointed in their unchanged circumstances; a fitting reality for them to swallow as they put the cart before the house. The Dahlias for their benefit had learnt of their sudden change of fortunes and fate quite uniquely as one of them was in a position of hearing the will first-hand whilst the other helped spread the word round Darling (the name of their small towne) as she was near the operator who received the first call going out to alert the rest of the Dahlias there was astounding news to be shared regarding their garden club’s future.

What you notice quite quickly is how humble the Dahlias are for having this gift bestowed upon them and how much jealousy was spun out of its delivery. The property itself is finely suited to gardening pursuits but it has just enough leeway to give them a way to raise funds if in effect they would have to sell off part of what they’ve now inherited by their former member. I was smiling over learning the connection between the cucumber tree and the magnolia whilst acknowledging nothing in life on this scale of importance is ever without its faults for contemption or concern. To take the high road in his life was not a part of Mrs Blackstone’s nephew’s vocabulary; perhaps if it had been what is being hinted about in the future of the story might have been avoided.

The difficulties of the financial crisis had hit all the dahlias hard (except for one) – the crash of ’29 was still electrifying itself through their lives; re-arranging fortunes, hardening others against the hope they still carried to see if things would turn back round. The times were desperate but they had a few silver linings – not only did everyone do what they could to re-align their stability in fiance but the dahlias banded together if only to offer the comfort of friendship and neighourly kindness. Yet, it was broached – how far does friendship extend if your behind on your taxes and other obligations? Who stands with whom when you stand to lose everything else?

I, personally would have voted for the ghost garden tour as a fundraiser – even though the odds of having enough people attending vs the amount of monies needed to be raised might come out lopsided – the idea was intriguing enough to be something which could be a heap of fun to produce! Imagine?! Building on the local lore and legend of the resident ghost who likes to whittle away in the garden of the Darling Dahlias?

Being the ’30s, this was during the age of party lines – where no one had a dedicated landline of their own, so if gossip was being discussed, you weren’t just conversing with a friend but potentially the entire towne! I liked how this was shown to be the case when one of the dahlias took to her phone – the interesting bit there is how instead of keeping sensitive details to themselves, even if it were overheard, everyone seemed to feel it was their rightful duty to keep passing along the information as if they were completing the phone tree of Darling!

I wasn’t able to get much further along – being this was a library copy which was lovingly read by other patrons over the years it’s been in our card catalogue – either the parfums of the readers or something other has attached itself to the pages. My eyes turnt watery and my nose itched – before of course, my allergies took over completely. Still, though, it allowed me to gain a bit of insight into the Dahlias and the pacing of the series, for which I was grateful.

reflections of the darling dahlias and the eleven o’ clock lady:

Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Alisa Anton. (Creative Commons Zero)

As I re-alight inside the series, it is the start of Summer, 1934 and I have already noticed a few changes in the Darling. For starters, I was surprised who was in charge of Magnolia Manor – how close and snug it sat next to the Dahlias clubhouse. Apparently, sometimes you really could tell when someone who was intending to get up to a bit of harm somehow manages to surprise you – either by what they carry out or by how crafty they become to get a ‘second best’ outcome towards their goal.

The best news of course is the resurge in the local economy where the towne of Darling was starting to get back on it’s feet. You could observe the Myra May going about her cooking at the diner whilst she disclosed how well herself and her neighbours were fairing now – a good four years past the crash. Previously, the towne hadn’t fared well at all. To see a regrowth here was a kind mercy, as you gathered the Dahlias and the rest of the families who called Darling home were not just the salts of the earth who knew how to work hard but they were the ones who had survived the first World War and had believed in rebuilding afterwards.

I love how this story was highlighting telephone operators who had to work the switchboards – as it spoke to the era but also, to how easy it would have been to overhear conversations (in a similar vein as the party lines). I still recall an episode on Little House on the Prairie which delved into this issue as well as I believe an original episode of Perry Mason. I know I’ve seen at least a few films about it and have read numerous Historical Mysteries involving it – as it’s such a prime set-up for folly. Who takes which call and to whom is actually shepherding all the calls this way or that way? Just human nature sets in curiosity but then, when does curiosity become the downfall? Yes, if anything it’s a most curious set-up to explore due to how intricate you can take the threads which route out of an operator’s job.

Rona Jean isn’t your typical switchboard operator – she’s the kind of gal who could find trouble faster than Violet (from It’s A Wonderful Life) – as she had her mind set to do what she pleased even if it wasn’t quite in-line with what was proper or expected. No, she liked to go about what she was inclined to do irregardless of the consequences – although, I’d have half a mind to suspect she didn’t quite see it that way – I think she saw herself a bit above reproach. She’d listen on conversations (a big ‘no’ no at the Exchange), get herself chased by more men than one woman could hope to entertain and she had little time for the pleasantries of friendship with women. In essence, she was self-interested in only the things which she found suited her own interests best.

I wasn’t too surprised how everyone in Darling was starting to gossip on her behalf – from the women at the local beauty shop to how even her roommate Bettina had found out she hadn’t quite known the girl as well as she felt she had. Not that she was completely innocent either – she allowed herself to get into pickles even Bettina couldn’t have fathomed possible for Rona Jean!

The pacing of this novel is set at a steadier rate than the first novel of the series as I had found myself thinking if the pacing had remained the way it had been in The Cucumber Tree, I might have lost my interest in continuing the series. I liked how this installment is shifting perspectives as we move through towne – visiting both secondary and lead characters whilst feeling in-step with the investigation of why or rather how Rona Jean came to her demise.

Speaking of community gardens – I oft wonder why more townes and cities aren’t doing this universally – to give back garden fresh produce to those who could use it the most? Quite a touching sentiment knowing the Dahlias weren’t just gardening for the joy of cultivating a flowery garden but rather, wanted to take their passion for gardening and increase the welfare of their community. I know they are on the rise but I am hoping one day they won’t seem as hard to locate as they feel like they are now. Fresh produce should be a staple in everyone’s community and not just randomly available here or there.

Observing the coincidence of timing – between the death of Bonnie & Clyde and the telling of this sad story about Rona Jean – as I’m going to be listening to Becoming Bonnie this month,… I hadn’t quite thought about the national events which might be colliding into the time-line as Darling has it’s full share of news to chew on whilst your reading about the Dahlias. The investigation of course, was uncovering all the sordid notes about the young woman’s life and of how untimely her death truly was and how tragic on the other end of it. Even the Sheriff seems shocked and he was involved with her before she died. I did agree with the Dahlias on that score, it seemed awful strange to have him investigate her death but then again, who would if he didn’t?

Throughout this whole tale, it just reads like a deepening cautionary example of how sometimes it is best to temper one’s curiosity! Also, the rule about ‘not meddling in others’ affairs’ is a wise adage as well – it was such a sordid story set in Darling – but very accurate to life in many regards about the mistrust and misguidance of actions. I honestly didn’t know how I felt truth be told once everything was properly revealled and explained – just felt senseless in many regards to why someone had perished and in such a state as they were found, no less!

my review of the darling dahlias and the unlucky clover:

Photo Credit: Unsplash Photographer Brooke Lark. (Creative Commons Zero)

Returning into Darling in 1934, you feel as if you have grown accustomed to the towne – even through cursory readings of its history. Here is a place which remains familiar and quaint, where a few things change but the steadfast pulse of a community who takes care of itself stands out from everything else Darling could tell you about itself. It is the kind of community where old-fashioned get togethers still remain popular and where everyone likes to rally behind a common interest, tuck into a celebration and make the most of everyday pleasures especially considering how far they’ve come to re-emerge out of the Depression.

One of my favourite inclusions to the series is the self-efficiency of victory gardening – where you can sustain yourself on your own patch of vegetables or in this case, the genosity of a towne garden whose yield is shared with those in need. Of course, Darling is definitely small enough where people don’t just acknowledge your name but they soon learn everything about you – good or bad, whilst keeping their eyes on you. It isn’t something to afear but rather respect as they do have your best interest at heart. As I read the reflection that Darling could be considered similar in vein to St. Mary’s Meade from Agatha Christie’s stories featuring Miss Marple – I could well see why the attribution was attached as both communities are full of their quirky residents and a willingness to noodle into each others’ business with the best of intentions!

As Bessie was speaking about heritage seeds and planting legacies of pumpkins, it reaffirmed my own desire to use the seeds which have such an enriched history as this one! There are a lot of different seeds on the market, of course, but the ones which I feel are the best of the lot are the ones whose withstood not just time itself but the insurge of technology and other practices which seek to alter a seed’s own history. I could well imagine how tasty this kind of pumpkin pie would be – as all the love and care which went into cultivating it’s back-history would be etched into the flavour profile!

A lot of libraries now are hosting ‘seed catalogues’ and ‘seed’ exchanges’ where communities are helping each other outfit their patrons with the seeds needed for planting season. As soon as I can pull together a plot of land suitable for harvesting a yield of produce, I want to sort out the best seeds for the soil and decide what would be best to grow in the climate. I oft wondered why this particular region is limited in this regard towards this exchange of both information and seed, until of course I realise this isn’t the most popular region for home gardens but rather independent commercial farmers.

One of the reasons I think this series has endured as well as it has is there are a lot of cross-overs between this era in our history and today’s society. Due to the economic downturn of events, a lot of families and communities alike have been struggling to re-set themselves on a bounty of better tides. It is the mark and measure of everyone in how they address personal adversities but also, regional ones as well – this can be cross-applied to drastic changes in weather patterns, climatic shifts in predictable seasons and even, the limitations in harvests for local farm fresh produce. You can easily relate to the events ‘behind’ the Darling Dahlias stories if you have had a keen eye on local events in your own region of residence whilst acknowledging the hardships of your community members to pull themselves out of the hardships which ensued after the economy took a nosedive.

Ophelia was one of the stand-out characters for me – mostly as she was re-defining her role as mother and wife by working at the local paper. She has a thirst for newsprint and for the stories she wants to write about even if she up until now has had rather mundane and predictable assignments! I was cheering her on as she finally has a reporting gig worth her interest to source out! I even liked how she was handling raising her teenage daughter – allowing her the grace of stepping out of her shadow and embracing the changing tides. I still remember how she handled the ‘swimsuit’ issue!

One thing you quickly discover, the Dahlias aren’t the ones who necessarily solve the mysteries of Darling but they are rather key players in the plot themselves! In other words, as the events unfold round the Dahlias they are they to help weather the storm but sometimes take a more active role in what occurs, too. It just depends – they are as reliable as rain in Spring, as they set out to improve their community with their charitable works but also with their resilience to find beauty and joy in the simplicities of life. If you want to get in on the community itself, the local haunt is Myra May’s diner – where she not only serves up a plate of comfort food but allows her fellow neighbours the chance to converse with each other whilst listening to the news on the radio which is of pertinent interest to her regulars. As you learnt of the popular selections off her menu, you can see why this diner is not just the dive of the hour but the place which can whet your whistle for home-cooked meals!

Next to the diner, the beauty shop was a personal favourite stop when visiting Darling – as you can’t quite beat a cosy place to eat with a gossip mill like the Beauty Bower! I was a bit surprised though Bettina ended up with the Sheriff – as after reading her encounters with him in The Eleven O’ Clock Lady I wasn’t entirely sure if it was a solid match but then again, love can surprise you!

Given how the switchboard in Darling had suffered it’s fair share of losses over operators who listened in on conversations, it was a smirked revelation here that the Sheriff was actually admitting he knew they did this even if they were employed to turn the other ear so to speak and not ‘listen’ to anything as they connected the callers to their intended number(s). I did agree with the Sheriff though about human nature and the nature of curiosity; it would be rather tempting as how do you turn your ears off?

One thing you will appreciate about how the truth unfolds in a Darling Dahlia novel is how each of the Dahlia’s has a chance to stumbling into the information which might link the facts together. Meaning, whilst their living their lives, they might have encounters or conversations which leak out the hidden information just slightly outside our line of sight which can impact the investigation at hand and lead all of us to the rightful conclusions of what actually happened.

The worst tragedy of all is the one where guilt can poison the mind and heart – this is somber tale about such guilt and the regrets of actions which work against one man’s soul. Yet despite the somberness, this is also a novel full of the life and zest of joy the Dahlia’s and the rest of their community share together to highlight the happier moments in life which give them a burst of hope to hold onto whilst their lives are still tempered with adverse situations and trying finances. In essence, each story within the series is about resilience and the foundation of what springs the best kind of hope in an uncertain world: friendship, faith, family and community.

on the historical writing styling of ms albert:

I find it odd whenever I am reading a historical novel within the historical context of it’s era of focus we need to have disclosures about the language usage in the novel. For instance, just because what might have bee spoken aloud is no longer PC in the 21st Century doesn’t mean those words or phrases weren’t used in the historic past. One thing about writing about History in well-researched historical novels is owning to the era in which they are set – yet, since I’ve been a book blogger these past four and a half years I’ve seen an increase in ‘historical accuracy disclosures’ for things which I would have felt any reader of #HistFic would have realised going into the novel would be expected to be found. I do feel badly for the authors who have to constantly validate how they are writing their stories especially when their niche of interest is quite literally the ‘past’ by which we are still trying to process, accept and understand ‘today’. (this was part of ‘The Cucumber Tree’)

Ms Albert has written this series as if one or more of the Dahlias are keeping journalled entries on their garden club meet-ups whilst adding pieces of thought between the specifics of each meeting. In this way, the pacing of the story has slowed down and a few times, even the fourth wall seems to be been breached as the ‘narrator’ of the story turns to the audience (the reader) and talks to them as if they would readily decipher the difference between ‘observing’ the Dahlias and getting acquainted first-hand with the setting being disclosed. It’s a cheeky way of approaching it but it works well enough as you feel like your going on one of those old homes tours where everyone is happy to see you roaming through their rooms, taking in the history of the building and asking pertinent questions about the changes over the years since the house was first built.

As we continue to move through the series, one of the things I found most interesting is the manner of disclosure of the era in time. Ms Albert has found a cleverly first-handed account of life during the ’30s to where you can feel fully engrossed in what a day-to-day life might have entailed. Straight down to what you might be listening to on the radio or what you might be doing during the day – the research of the era itself is quite champion because you feel so very grounded in ‘time’. The directness of how you feel also helps to elude to where you are as this set more to the pace of a slow developing play – of giving you a chance to feel immersed and familiar with Darling.

Since I couldn’t read the whole series as I had wanted to initially, by moving from the first to the six novel before heading into the seventh, I could still tell the layer of continuity was quite the beauty to behold as everyone was still taking their cues of entrance in the story-line. You still felt a part of this world even if you skipped round a bit with the sequences.

The recipes at the end of the stories hold their own tales and histories – I enjoyed reading about the various pies included with The Unlucky Clover, including finally having a better understand of ‘shoofly pie’! The one which stood out the most though to me is the recipe for green tomato pie! Mostly as I adore eating friend green tomatoes – as a sandwich or as a treat by themselves. I also have a hearty appetite for tomatillos – especially when making a sauce or salsa. I’ll have to give this one a try when the tomatoes are ripe and ready for baking!

Quite true how you can tell a lot about different generations by the foods they love to cook or bake – this is one reason why I love reading foodie fiction! Foods are as inherent to a person’s sense of self and identity as their language and memories – as food becomes such an intrapersonal glimpse into who we are and how we were attached to the foods we grew up eating. I personally loved growing up on a variety of foods – from different influences of European cooking origins but also, with a healthy curiosity for expanding into cross-cultural cooking and eating – such as Indian, Thai, the Pacific Rim, Jamaican, Puerto Rican, Japanese, Chinese , Tex-Mex and other cultural foods which are a joy to eat.

The phrases and expressions within the Darling Dahlias are the kind in which I grew-up hearing myself – which is quite interesting as my family can from both the Mid-West and the Northeast whilst I of course was raised in the Southeast – so given the fact the series is set in the South, it is curious how the expressions not only are cross-exchangable due to having relatives who lived through the 20’s and 30’s who would have overheard them but how they weathered the generations well enough to survive the influence of modern life.

There is a particular style here where Ms Albert twists a classic phrase and adds a pepper of spice to it – such as when she paired a june bug and with a trout! These kind of cheeky expressions are my own personal favourites and I oft-times find myself re-inventing the wheel on how to express either myself or the topic in which I am discussing with the same kind of peppering as Ms Albert!

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This blog tour is courtesy of Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours:

click the banner to follow the tour route for reviews & guest features

The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover blog tour via HFVBTs

I regret my review is posting two days after I had rescheduled my review to the 14th – however, due to health reasons and a bout of tech issues – I wasn’t able to properly finish this review until this morning. I look forward to seeing the rest of the reactions by my fellow book bloggers & seeing which Dahlia was everyone’s favourite whilst they read this novel or the series itself.

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Reader Interactive Question:

If you’ve been reading the Darling Dahlias series,

Which story did you begin the series on and who is your favourite Dahlia?

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2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge badge created by Jorie in Canva.

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{SOURCES: The book cover for “The Darling Dahlias and the Unlucky Clover”, the author photograph of Susan Wittig Albert, the author biography and the blog tour banner were provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. Tweets embedded due to the codes provided by Twitter. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Select photographs which accompany this review are from photographers via Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography: Laura Ockel, Alisa Anton and Brooke Lark. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Book Review Banner using Unsplash.com (Creative Commons Zero) Photography by Frank McKenna, 2018 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge and the Comment Box Banner.}

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

read more >> | Visit my Story Vault of Book Reviews | Policies & Review Requests | Contact Jorie

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Posted Friday, 16 March, 2018 by jorielov in 20th Century, Amateur Detective, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Compassion & Acceptance of Differences, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Equality In Literature, Historical Fiction, Silver Hair Sleuths, Small Towne USA, the Thirties




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