Even having our Skype turn into a speakerphone call didn’t faze Carolyn – she was happy to talk with us however it happened to work out. And group members had an undeniably good time talking with her!
In addition to the wonderful sense of humor Carolyn demonstrated, she showed her more thoughtful, serious side in talking about the work she does as a writer, and how it supports her other passion: the animals at Good Fortune Farm Refuge, the charity animal shelter she runs. She currently has cats, dogs, and horses to support, so even if her commitment to keeping all her deadlines weren’t formed as a highly respected journalist, she’d have the motivation to “keep butt in chair” and keep on writing.
She enjoyed the fact that we loved Them Bones’ cast of characters – particularly Jitty, who she said was based on a true Daddy’s Girl Carolyn is friends with. Jitty is truly a one-of-a-kind character, the nanny of Sarah Booth’s great-great grandmother – and a ghost. Maybe. We asked, but Carolyn said it was equally possible that Jitty is Sarah Booth’s conscience – or a real ghost. In either case, Jitty is as sharp and witty as she is eccentric, and eccentricities abound in Them Bones.
With a heroine (who was encouraged by Jitty) to steal Daddy’s Girl Tinkie Bellcase Richmond’s Yorkie, Chablis, you know you’re in for a tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the rural south. Daddy’s Girls, we learn, are the daughters of the upper-class, land owners and local movers and shakers of the town. Even today, the expectation has been that they would be women’s club members, host expensive charity events that support their husbands’ careers – and oh yes, have married advantageously. While Daddy’s Girls may have some power behind the scenes (and great jewelry and accessories) their counterparts, the Buddy Club, run everything.
Sarah Booth is living outside the expectations of the two groups, a former member who is still reluctantly acknowledged by some, and yet not a true part of the rest of the town’s residents either. We thought this helps her in her fledgling efforts at being a P.I. She’s able to get all the different levels of society in the area to talk to her, and even help her.
Personal conflicts arise in Sarah Booth’s love life as well. Carolyn presents a wonderfully subtle picture of her “dance” with Harold the banker where it is strongly inferred that he will help Sarah out of her desperate effort to save her family’s plantation by having her become his mistress. We all laughed over how she gets away from Harold as he’s reaching for her on Thanksgiving by handing him a fruitcake she’s just baked – hot out of the oven!
While she is sometimes still more of a Daddy’s Girl than she cares to admit, Sarah is determined to find her own way out of her financial troubles – a fact that makes Harold want to marry her instead, and that made our group members respect her. We deeply empathized with the appeal that Hamilton Garret has for her – but we think she can do better. When we invited Carolyn to play a round of “Kiss, Date or Marry” these two only qualified for kiss and date!
We knew we enjoyed Carolyn’s stand-alone books, but it was a real pleasure to see that group members found Them Bones to be a great start to a great series – and that members have already been working their way through the other books in the series. As others have commented, the Sarah Booth Delaney books compliment Carolyn’s darker, suspense novels. We hope to read more of both – and visit with Carolyn again!