May 5, 2015

At the Corner of King Street by Mary Ellen Taylor

It's been seven years since Addie Shire left Alexandria and her small, messed up family.  At the time she didn't know where she was going but she knew she was leaving behind a life she didn't want any part of anymore. She ended up two hours away near the Shenandoah River Valley working on a vineyard.  She'd started out in the fields but soon realized her skills were more suited to office work. Now, she's running the business end of the vineyard and in a relationship with Scott, the owner.  They have a happy, fulfilling life in the country and Addie loves the stability of it all. But her happiness is threatened when her Aunt Grace shows up ready to blow up her comfortable life if she doesn't come back to Alexandria right away to deal with a family crisis. The name of the crisis is Janet, Addie's bi-polar older sister, who'd run off seven years ago.

Since Addie had kept her past, and her family, a secret from Scott, she couldn't let Grace be the one to fill him in. She agreed to go back, but only for a week, fix the problem, and get back to the vineyard.

Addie never wanted Scott to find out that her family was cursed.  The curse affected the women of the Shire family for years and though Addie, herself, wasn't afflicted, her mother and sister were. Addie was always the one to steady the ship but she was not willing to give up the life she'd found with Scott to save her sister again only to have her take off and leave Addie to handle everything. But family ties are strong so Addie did what was expected of her and went to the rescue. What she thought would be a few weeks of straightening things out turned out to be so much, much more.  Addie had her hands full but she had a plan: Do what needs to be done and get back to Scott before he comes looking for her and finds out about her cursed family.

My Thoughts:

I'll come right out with it: This book was a very pleasant surprise for me. It has all the things I love in a book. It had family secrets, mystery, complicated relationships and a ton of history. Alexandria is a wonderful city for this story to take place. The city is a character of its own and I really enjoyed it. Before each chapter was a brief flashback to the mid-1700's when the Shire ancestors first arrived in America from Scotland. It was where the notion of the Shire family curse began. Because these flashbacks were very short, it didn't take anything away from the main story, it only added to it. I thought it was well done.

I really enjoyed the story very much and in fact, whenever I had to stop reading (to eat, sleep or bathe), I couldn't wait to get back to it.  And I must say, Mary Ellen Taylor's writing is lovely. It has a lyrical quality to it that I loved. The premise was believable and I was totally involved right from the start.  This story will definitely pull at your heartstrings as it did mine. The history aspect was very appealing to me and those were some of my favorite parts. The characters were well developed and likable, for the most part. I really enjoyed quirky family friend, Margaret and her friendship with Addie.

This is the first book in what will be the Alexandria Series and I think it got off to a great start. It is very good contemporary womens fiction.  I'm looking forward to what will come next in book two. A few of the characters, including Margaret, were crossovers from Taylor's UNION STREET BAKERY series.  I have not read the two books in that series, but I would like to.

If you enjoy Southern Fiction and a good story with deep family history with an air of mystery and even some black magic thrown in, you should definitely read AT THE CORNER OF KING STREET. It was exactly the type of book I was looking for and I'm really glad I chose to read it.

**Disclaimer: I received an advance copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review to publish here on my blog.

Author: Mary Ellen Taylor @METBooks
Publisher: Berkley
Sold By: Penguin Group
Published: May 5, 2015
Length: 362 pp

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad to hear this is good because the author is coming here this month.


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