‘Charms For The Easy Life’ by Kaye Gibbons

What a neat story this is! I am hit and miss with Kaye Gibbons, but this is a story I thoroughly enjoyed. It has elements that I am drawn to: a very Southern Gothic sense, a family of women striving to get through life as a family, and the individual strengths of each woman.

Margaret is the narrator, living with her mother and grandmother in the old family home. The grandmother is called Charley Kate, a name of her own choice and she is the ” healer”. She is a legendary medicinal practitioner, who sees herself as correcting all the wrongs of the professional Doctors. The mother is Sophia, a woman used to more glamour than her mother, and bound and determined to find a man who deserves her. Margaret is in the midst of these two women, and is strong in her own right.

The plot is not necessarily set in stone here. Instead, there are many stories, past and present, of the three women. The setting is North Carolina, and the sense of place is written wonderfully. Gibbons is an expert in local dialect and customs in each of her books, but this one struck me as the least dramatic, written in a the manner that family stories are usually handed down orally . It is a nice quick read for a weekend or filler between more involved books.

Rating: 4 stars

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