Chapel Springs Survival by Ane Mulligan

A visit with down-home folks…

😀 😀 😀 😀

chapel springs survivalThe little Southern town of Chapel Springs is overrun by tourists because of the sudden success of Claire and Patsy’s gallery, The Painted Loon. Claire has been elected to the town council and wants to find a way to keep the visitors coming without disrupting the normal life of the town. Meantime, her family life is suddenly thrown into disarray when her youngest son announces he has married a girl he met online – a girl from Brazil who speaks no English. And her best friend’s husband is threatening to move to New York. But Claire has help to deal with her problems, in a strong group of women friends and her staunch faith in God.

OK, so this is billed on Amazon as Religious and Inspirational Women’s Fiction – not this old atheistic, kinda half-hearted feminist’s usual fare. Not by a long way! But it was edited by my blog buddy Susan P. so I couldn’t resist. And I actually quite enjoyed it, and not only because the grammar is perfect! 😉

It’s a gentle, well-written story – more of a soap opera than anything else. The second book in the series, it took me a little bit of time to catch up with the backstory and work out how all the characters related to each other, but once past that stage the story flows along, nice and easy. The people are cosily nice – friends who are never annoying and are always there to support each other, husbands and wives who work through any little problems together, lots of home-spun wisdom, and cake, and hugs. Ah, if only life were so, how lovely it would be… if just a little dull, perhaps. (Oh, come on, allow me a little cynicism or my head might explode!) It’s kinda like just havin’ a leisurely visit with down-home folks. And if a little problem should arise, say, for instance, worry over whether one’s cake will rise, well, a quick prayer to God will soon sort that out! (And there was me thinking the answer was an oven thermometer…)

And it’s so good to know the Stepford Wives are alive and well! These women are happily inferior, thrilled to have caught a man, anxious to cook for him and clean up after him, and grateful for any little attention he might bestow on her. It’s so sweet! I love how Claire’s husband ‘does all the cooking’. Claire shops for the food, hauls it home, gets up at dawn to prepare all the vegetables, defrosts the meat, cleans the kitchen, gets out all the utensils and ingredients, heats up the stove, and then watches in grateful awe as he pops in for a couple of minutes, throws everything into a pan, then leaves her to stir it and serve it… then clean up afterwards. What a man!

Ane Mulligan
Ane Mulligan

But then Claire is lucky to have a man at all. As newly married Graham tells his loving new wife Lydia “Every available single man is overrun with women after a meal ticket”. She doesn’t divorce him. Nor does Patsy divorce Nathan when he suddenly, without consulting her or caring that her life and business are in Chapel Springs, decides he’s going to sell their house and move them both to New York. American women sure are different from Glaswegians.

I’m being tongue-in-cheek and totally unfair! In fact, I found this a lot of fun – a bit of escapism into a world I can’t really believe in but rather wish I could, with a bunch of women whose company I enjoyed. There are several plot-lines, all fairly light, and Mulligan keeps the story ticking along nicely. If it’s more your kind of thing than mine, I certainly recommend it as a well-written and relaxing comfort read.

(P.S. And just so you know I’m not totally mean, I gave Susan the choice as to whether I should post this or not and, like the good sport she is, she said ‘Go ahead!’)

Amazon UK Link
Amazon US Link

30 thoughts on “Chapel Springs Survival by Ane Mulligan

  1. There’s nothing at all wrong with disappearing into that sort of world from time to time, FictionFan.. The important point you made is that the characters appealed to you. And if you also enjoyed the plot, well, why not? And what a pleasure to read a properly edited book. 🙂

    • Absolutely – it’s too easy to get stuck in the same old rut if we’re not careful! And this was a good example of this kind of genre, I think. Haha! I searched and searched for some grammatical errors, but to no avail… 😉

  2. My equivalent is an old-fashioned cosy mystery – preferably with a happily single woman doing the detecting………..

  3. Haha I’d love to say I was the kind of woman that would enjoy this, but sadly I took too big a bite of the cynicism apple. I’m delighted to hear that the grammar was top-notch 😉 and good on Susan for being such a good sport!!

    • Sadly, I came to the conclusion life would be dull if everyine was nice and decent all the time! Where would crime fiction be then? 😉 Haha! Yes, lucky for Susan I couldn’t find any grammatical hoohahs!!

  4. Sounds like a real fun jovel although, as you say, somewhat outside the usual discomfort zone.

    The Painted Loon

    They name birds oddly over here. The one that perplexes me most is the booby.

  5. You had me at “perfect grammar”…just kidding! My mom likes mysteries, so I may forward your review.

    • Haha! perfect grammar is not something to be taken lightly these days! 😉 But yes, this is a nice gentle story with good, likeable characters, especially the women. A good read to relax with…

  6. I don’t know if I have Green Gables stuck in my head or what, but the concern about cakes rising and life being just a teeny bit boring (not to the characters, but to me) reminds me of L.M. Montgomery’s books!

    • Ha! Yes, I do find something strangely old-fashioned about this style of cosy – maybe there are places where life is still like that, but they seem so detached somehow from life as we know it…

      • I’m a good bit through Rilla of Ingleside, and real life is definitely coming through. I can’t imagine how this is a children’s book. I wouldn’t have understood most of it, especially Susan’s role.

        • I haven’t read Rilla, but I do think the books “grew up” as Anne did – a bit like the Harry Potter series where I felt the later books were definitely too dark for younger kids. Even Anne of the Island is very different in tone to Anne of Green Gables, though still readable by kids on the whole. But the whole bit about little Joy (I think that was her name? The baby who died at birth?) kinda left me a bit baffled when I first read it – the way she never quite came outright and said what had happened. And I found the whole story about – hmm? was it Dick? – quite upsetting in a lot of ways.

  7. This sounds like the kind of book people used to recommend to me when they found out I both went to church and read a lot. I think one too many eye-rolls have scared those recommendations away! But glad you were able to find some things to enjoy.

    • Haha! Yes, being known as a reader can be dangerous and add in any other aspect and it can become fatal! I can’t think how often I’ve had a book thrust into my unwilling hands with the “You read! You’ll love this!” comment, and the number of “funny cat” books I’ve been given over the years is unthinkable! 😉

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