Author Ashton Lee is making a sweet start with his debut novel.
“The Cherry Cola Book Club” has been compared to Fannie Flagg’s “Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistlestop Cafe,” and Rebecca Well’s “Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.”
Admirable comparisons, to be sure. But Lee’s novel has a life of its very own. And anyone who has ever loved a library and the books it houses will fancy “The Cherry Cola Book Club.”
Lee, a Natchez native, now makes his home in Oxford.
The book, a Trade Paperback publication, comes complete with mouth-watering recipes made by book club members for potluck gatherings.
Set in the small Southern town of Cherico, Miss., the novel weaves a tale of literary suspense, quite literally, as the future of the community’s near-forgotten library is in jeopardy.
But Maura Beth Mayhew has her own plan.
The young librarian sets out to save the book repository – and, ultimately, her job.
Maura Beth goes to battle with the good old boys on the City Council, who think the money normally earmarked for the public library could – and should – better benefit other projects dearer to their own hearts.
As you might have guessed, the organizing of a book club that might draw more folks into the library family becomes primary on Maura Beth’s list of ammunition to save the library.
And in her quest to save her job and the town’s library, she brings together a diverse group of humanity that break bread together and discuss topics of all manner of import.
In the words of Southern writer Michael Morris, author of “Slow Way Home” and others, “Ashton Lee has created a magical town with characters who will inspire readers and bring them back to a simpler time and place.”
In these troubled times, that’s quite an enticing invitation.
“The Cherry Cola Book Club” is the first in a series. The second novel, “The Reading Room: A Cherry Cola Book Club Novel,” will be released in April 2014.
Check It Out
TITLE: “The Cherry Cola Book Club”
AUTHOR: Ashton Lee
PUBLISHER: Kensington Publishing Corp.
PRICE: Original trade paperback edition – $15
ASHTON LEE will sign copies of “The Cherry Cola Book Club” from noon until 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 24 at Reed’s GumTree Bookstore.