THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT by Karen White
Karen White is on a roll. Not only has she been continuing her Tradd Street series with regular stories, she is also creating standalone books such as her latest novel THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT. This story takes place in the fictional city of Sweet Apple, Georgia which is very much like the real life city of Milton, Georgia, the place Karen White calls home.
Merilee Dunlap lives in this city. At one time she was the happily married mother of two children. But then her husband’s roving eye alighted on one of his children’s grammar school teachers and that was that. Merilee moved out and moved on but not so merrily. She wanted to stay in the area, so her children could still see their father, but she wanted it to be far enough away so she could have her own life. So she moved across town and found a new school for the kids and an affordable house to rent.
The house she found belongs to Sugar Prescott, a nonogenarian who is still a major force in the town. Sugar is a widow with no children and she likes her life just like it is. She is not disposed to befriend her new renters, which suits Merilee just fine. She does not think she and Sugar have anything in common, but flashbacks of Sugar’s life show the two women have everything in common.
This book has Merilee as the main character but believe me when I say I would read any and every book White might create with Sugar as the star. She is as feisty and fascinating as they come. If any character could ever be called a scene stealer well that is Sugar. She demands attention each and every time she makes an appearance. Readers are going to love her.
Of course there is a murder in the story and Merilee is a suspect. The resolution of all this creates the situation that brings the title to life. The lights really do go out in Sweet Apple, Georgia. The town has numerous people who come to Merilee’s defense, but there are others who look at this beautiful divorcee’ with suspicion.
White throws it all into this story – romance, drama, humor and murder. She can write about any situation and do it with the most enviable skill set. Plus she creates characters for this story who come to life with such realism you might think they are based on your neighbors (or hers).
I have called Karen White the queen of southern fiction in the past, but in this book she pulls from her roots and makes this her most deep south story yet. Sugar Prescott is a mix of Scarlett O’Hara and Melanie Wilkes and what could be more southern that that!
Karen White has amassed a horde of devoted followers but she is not content to rest on her laurels. THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT is one of her best books ever and it is as fresh as a new mowed lawn. She gives her readers a little humor, a little drama, a little romance, and a little murder. Put them all together and they spell FASCINATING.
THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT is published by Berkley. It contains 416 pages and sells for $26.00.
Jackie K Cooper