Sweet Olive, by Judy Christie, is as close to “a Mitford” book as I’ve ever read that wasn’t written by Jan Karon. Christie manages to capture a cozy, small town feel, but she sets her story in Louisiana and includes more young people.
The hook of Sweet Olive is that a community of artists is fighting to protect the history and charm of their town from an oil company that wants to put up wells everywhere. Camille Gardner, the landman for the oil company, gets caught in the middle.
Christie did an exceptionally good job balancing “liberal versus conservative” debate about oil drilling, with concern for God’s creation.
This was a gentle and enjoyable story. It was also a book that was solidly rooted in the South.
I could tell that Christie was coming from a “red” state, but at no point did she ever offend my “blue” state sensibilities. She threw in a quick quip about a silent cathedral in Seattle, but I thought that was funny. (Although, side note to Christie, come to Edmonds United Methodist Church and we’ll show you a packed house right here in the Pacific Northwest!)
I wish more people could talk about big things like God, art, oil, the environment, and money in the kind and measured way that Judy Christie writes. She makes me think “Louisiana? I really want to go there!”
P.S. I got a free copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest options and review.