"A dark romantic romp"
In Chickpea, South Carolina, Reverend Grady Abnernathy
deserts his Church and leaves his wife Marilee to live in
sin with LaFonda Bonaire at the Tall Pines Trailer Park.
Due to Marilee's nagging, their teenage son moves in with
his dad too. Now Marilee simply plans to commit suicide as
she feels her life is over.
However, Marilee's efforts to kill herself fail as she
cannot even do that right. Marilee self feelings have
gotten much worse and depression seems imminent when she
meets builder Sam Brewer, who has just returned home to
care for his ailing mother. With the encouragement of her
friends and with Sam making her feel good, Marilee begins
to start life anew with A NEW ATTITUDE and a confidence
that she previously lacked. As Sam and Marilee fall in
love, both mistrust permanent relationships as each one has
suffered from previous marital failure.
Though some readers will find A NEW ATTITUDE as a dark
romantic romp similar to the movie The End, many fans will
appreciate the amusing tale with a serious undertone. The
story line contains humorous situations and characters the
audience will like, especially the lead couple though why
Marilee chose suicide when she knows Grady has the problems
will leave readers perplexed. Still, Charlotte Hughes
writes an engaging Southern small town romantic romp.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted September 15, 2001
Marilee Abernathy is the talk of Chickpea, South Carolina.
Her husband, Grady- the not-so-reverend town pastor-has
fallen under the mammary-enhanced spell of Lafonda Bonaire,
the town floozy. Forsaking both home and career, the ex-
reverend leaves home to move into his new den of iniquity-
LaFonda's trailer. As if this weren't bad enough, their
son, Josh, decides he'd rather live with his father in
that "palace of sin" than stay with his smothering mother.
Unable to bear the shame of it all, Marilee decides to give
the town something to really talk about- a suicide. Dressed
impeccably with pearls and carefully applied Mary Kay
cosmetics, Marilee prepares to meet her Maker. But, like
everything else she turns her hand to lately, Marilee fails
in her bid to make a graceful exit. After all, how can you
expire from carbon dioxide poisoning when you forget to put
gas in the car? Undeterred, Marilee decides to hang herself
from a beam in the ceiling. However, when the fake beam
gives way, Marilee almost brings the house down upon her
head at the same time as bringing Sam Brewer into her life.
As a young man, Sam Brewer had something of a reputation
with the ladies of Chickpea. Looking to escape the past, he
left home and made a name for himself as a successful
building contractor in Atlanta. Now he has returned home to
take care of his mother but he didn't expect Marilee to
come crashing into his life- especially like this.
And while Marilee's family may have abandoned her, her
friends have not. Rallying around their friend, Ruby
Ledbetter and Clara Goolesby remind Marilee that she has
much to live for- including her promise to help raise funds
to renovate Blessing Home for Pregnant Women. And with that
they convince her to put up Winnie Fry, a very pregnant
young black girl whose bark is worse than her bite.
And so, with the support of her friends, Marilee takes her
first faltering steps at independence as she enters the
workplace for the first time. However, all those years
dealing with the congregation as the wife of a minister
have prepared Marilee far better for dealing with people
than she had imagined. Soon she is transporting corpses in
the middle of the night, singing for her supper, and
bargaining with armed thieves with aplomb.
As Marilee makes her way in the world, she surprises
herself- if not her friends- with her capacity for standing
on her own two feet. Soon she finds she is not missing her
fallen husband quite so much. What's more, she is shocked
by the interest she seems to be generating from Sam Brewer.
But will good friends and a new attitude be enough for her
to win back her son?