Temple Secrets: Southern Humorous FictionTemple Secrets: Southern Humorous Fiction by Susan Gabriel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Disclosure: I was given this Audible version of Temple Secrets by the author, Susan Gabriel, for an honest review.

Okay, confession time. I have a real problem with the low southern drawl. I find it weird. I’m from California. So were my cousins. Yet when they all moved to the south and drank the water, or breathed the air? they all came down with that drawl. Perfectly great speakers, now sound like anyone else from the south. So when I started ‘reading’, well, listening to one of my favorite authors reading her own book, I was rather in shock. What did I expect? I knew she was from the south.

My ADD and reading problems make it hard for me to read without the text-to-speech or an audio version playing as my eyes drink in the words. Text without speech or audio without text are difficult for me to stay with. And now, with the slow accent I felt I was doomed. Add to that, the lack of acting in the narration where all voices sounded like the author’s, I didn’t hold out hope for my finishing the book.

Over a decade ago, my dad and I flew to see my aunt and her family in Ozark, Missouri. That was when I saw how easy it is to fall into a southern way. When we first got there I strongly felt the accents around me. I think I might have caught it by the time we left as I didn’t hear it anymore.

I think that might be what happened in the listening to this book. By chapter five, I was into the book. The writing was wonderful all along. I never had a problem with that. By the tenth chapter, it was bedtime. I couldn’t stop ‘reading’ When I looked up at the end of the book it was well past 4:30 in the morning. I do realize that the change that happened, happened within me. Notice my star rating of five stars!

Ms. Gabriel’s style used here is present tense (another of my peeves, but it worked here) and a different point of view in each chapter. But it all works out quite well. It leads you into a world of the south and the ingrained ways that people have learned to adapt to a lot of atrocities within their families and neighbors. And I think I knew I was in when I felt I knew Old Sally personally. She actually reminds me of my grandmothers who I missed immediately with her hugs. She saves the book and heals the reader. The truth is: every family has secrets. Granted, some are worse than others, but Old Sally lends us all a grace to be more forgiving. We are taught to allow for that fact that we weren’t there and didn’t know all the facts. Even those who were and did, had to change their truths to adapt to the world as it was.

Meanwhile, ghosts of the past fart around or demand attention. Yes, I said fart. And Susan Gabriel’s writing brings all your senses alive, even when they may be reluctant, kicking and screaming. I swear I could smell the farts! But I could also enjoy the scent of salty sea air and moisture permeating my skin. Just… AMAZING writing!

Look those five stars didn’t come easy for the author. My husband was my confidant as I dove into the book. I confessed my irritations along the way. Then he got to be the first to hear how I loved, loved, loved this story. Now I can hardly wait until I can buy the Kindle version and reread it my way.

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