Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Star Book Review: Sweet Jiminy by Kristin Gore

          A far cry from the political, romantic comedy that her first two chick lit novels, Sammy’s Hill and Sammy’s House, were, Sweet Jiminy takes readers down a new avenue wrought with mystery and southern charm. Jiminy, a twenty-something woman, fled the rural life of Fayeville years ago in search of herself has just dropped out of law school, when she finds herself thinking of no place she’d rather be but home where the roots of her upbringing remain, including her grandmother, Willa, and longtime family friend, Lyn Waters. During her journey home, Jiminy discovers that she was not the first “Jiminy” to have ever lived in Fayeville. In fact, the young girl who shared her namesake was Lyn Waters’ only daughter, who after a terrible incident almost 40 years ago was killed alongside her father, and Lyn’s husband, Edward.

When Jiminy realizes she stumbled upon a 40-year old unsolved murder case involving the very woman whom it appears she was named after, she becomes obsessed. She utilizes the very skills she learned in the law school she had just run away from and starts asking a lot of questions of the local townspeople. Unfortunately, she is met with much resistance from most of the town’s inhabitants. On one side of the fence are those who only view Jiminy’s curiosity as nosiness and wish she would just mind her business and then, even worse, the other side of the fence is fraught with people who believe that a white girl has “no place” attempting to solve a mystery involving two black persons. In a short time, Jiminy seems to have managed to ruffle the feathers of most of the persons in this small southern town who just want to let the past lie in the past.

Yet something about this case pulls at Jiminy, keeping her awake at night, telling her that the deep and long kept secret of Fayeville’s most famous murder must be revealed. She finds herself doing and saying things she never thought she would (or could) and she begins to see herself grow in the midst of all the commotion. Whether its her connection to the first Jiminy, the pain she sees all over Lynn Waters face regarding the loss of her only daughter and beloved husband or the raw anger she feels towards the very real prejudices of many of the people of Fayeville, Jiminy doesn’t know but whatever it is, Jiminy won’t rest until she can help bring peace to this case.

If Jiminy’s refusal to maintain the deep and long kept secret of Fayeville’s most famous murder weren’t causing her enough difficulty, it would seem she’s really managed to test the tolerance (or lack thereof) of the people’s of Fayeville by engaging in a more than friendly interracial relationship with Lyn Waters’ nephew, Bo. She experiences, firsthand, how real the lingering racial prejudices in Fayeville are affecting her and the mystery behind Jiminy and Edward’s deaths.

            The closer Jijminy gets to finding the answers to a half-century old crime, the drama and danger increase but will her efforts be enough to overcome the force of a town who’s old-fashioned prejudices run just as deep and strong as the secrets they don’t want uncovered.

Sweet Jiminy was shorter compared to her first two books, but I think the length was right in line with most mysteries. All in all, it was a very exciting story with strong characters in a vivid setting. You feel like you are right alongside Jiminy throughout the whole mystery. You won’t want to skip a page. Kristin Gore has really proven herself to me as a writer – she was someone who I once wasn’t sure if I would be interested in her “type” of fiction because of my assumptions about politics, but once again she has shown me what an exceptional talent she has for the art of story-telling. I already can’t wait for her next release (whenever that may be in whatever genre she may choose to tackle).

4 out of 5 stars

Sweet Jiminy is out for release April 26, 2011.

For more on Kristin Gore, visit her Facebook page at:

Or her Author page at Hyperion Books:

Thank you so much to Hyperion and Net Galley for letting my read a pre-release e-book edition of this book.

1 comment:

  1. I should try Kristin's books. It's hard being a celebrity writer. People automatically assume that you're going to be awful. I know I'm guilty of it. A lot people are genuinely talented. For example, I like Joanna Philbin's (Regis's daughter) YA series The Daughters.