Cassandra King was born in Alabama, where she taught English and writing. She now lives in South Carolina (with her husband, bestselling author Pat Conroy) and belongs to a real-life Same Sweet Girls group, which reunites every year.
For 30 years, six Southern college friends-the Same Sweet Girls-have been gathering for a biannual reunion. As King's wry, touching novel begins, the girls are nearing 50 and coming to terms with the life decisions they've made. Corrine Cooper gains renown as a folk artist, but battles clinical depression with the help of a manipulative psychiatrist who later becomes her husband; Lanier Brewer is separated after a brief, ill-advised fling; exotic Astor Deveaux, a former Broadway dancer, flirts wildly with men but remains with her husband, a famous painter 33 years her senior; Julia Dupont is trapped in a passionless marriage and an overscheduled life as Alabama's first lady; Byrd and Rosanelle round out the group. When one of the SSGs becomes terminally ill, the remaining friends are spurred to resolve their own problems before she dies. Corinne, Julia and Lanier rotate as first-person narrators, but King (The Sunday Wife) does little to distinguish their voices, and the parade of characters and stories can be hard to follow at first. Once the names fall into place, however, the story's gentle Southern humor and warmth shine. It isn't all iced tea and tomato pie-King tackles some troubling issues-but the characters are true to life, and readers will sympathize with their struggles. Agent, Marly Rusoff. (Jan. 19) Forecast: The novel's backstory-King herself belongs to a Same Sweet Girls group, which reunites every year-should make King (who is married to Pat Conroy) an appealing interview subject. Author tour. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
King may be the wife of Pat Conroy, but with The Sunday Wife, she established herself as an authentic Southern novelist in her own right. In her latest book, she shows her talent for creating honest, three-dimensional characters. Six college friends who have met biannually for 30 years are preparing for a trip to Dauphin Island in Alabama. Lanier, the host of the gathering, is licking the wounds from her recent divorce and loss in a custody battle. Each woman's story unfolds throughout the novel. They laugh, eat, and cry together. When one of them becomes terminally ill, their friendship is tested. King's knack for writing women's friendships is bound to earn comparisons with Anita Diamant, though fans of all things Southern are bound to find her tone similar to Jill Conner Brown's nonfiction work, The Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love. Highly recommended for all public libraries, particularly those with strong Southern fiction collections.-Nanci Milone Hill, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, MA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.