Mary Kay Andrews's SAVANNAH BREEZE is the long-awaited and highly anticipated sequel to her popular 2002 novel, SAVANNAH BLUES.
Southern belle BeBe Loudermilk has a string of failed relationships under her pretty little belt. She's not the best judge of male character, and as she admits herself, she's attracted to the bad boys.
The witty and funny SAVANNAH BREEZE starts with BeBe at the Telfair Ball --- THE event of the Savannah season --- recounting her latest failed coupling. In a community where gossip flows as freely as the Mississippi, a few wagging town tongues are not about to stop BeBe from attending the fete she worked so long and hard on: "By now everybody in town knew that Emery had thrown me over for Cissy Drobish, the buck-toothed millionaire mother of his three children. It wouldn't do to have people talking about me behind my back. If they were going to talk, by God, they could just do it to my face." Dressed to kill and showing off the jewelry she didn't return to Emery, successful restaurateur BeBe struts her stuff, unaware that this is about to become a fateful night.
At the Telfair Ball, BeBe meets the "deeply tanned" Reddy, a younger investment counselor expressing quick interest in her comely endowment. It's not long before the recently jilted BeBe finds first her mind wandering to "insupportable behavior," as her mother would have called it, and then her body traveling via sports car to a romantic dalliance on an impressive yacht. Over the course of the next few weeks, Reddy wines and dines seducible BeBe, and just when she is feeling secure in his attention, he cons her --- taking her for all she is worth --- and then disappears. The savvy realtor loses everything, except for a retro 1950s motor court called the Breeze Inn on Tybee Island. A little elbow grease (okay, a lot of elbow grease) later, BeBe and her good friend Weezie, with the help of Harry, the five o'clock shadow of a fishing captain on the Island, have transformed the Inn and are bringing in paying guests.
Her fate seemingly sealed --- she has started over and has nowhere to go but up --- BeBe has made a new home. And it looks like the salty, unshaven Harry may be her next love conquest. She's settling in, flirting with new love, until news of Reddy's whereabouts surface, as do rumors of other women he has duped. BeBe is catalyzed into action. She and her pals put their heads together and come up with a plan that takes them to Ft. Lauderdale in search of the con man. Chasing down credit card receipts and donning thrift store-concocted disguises, BeBe strategizes revenge, Southern style. What follows is a great and satisfying "gotcha" moment.
BeBe is that delightful mix of Southern sweetness and spitfire, charm and manipulation that we've come to love in Mary Kay Andrews's characters. And Mary Kay Andrews is at her best when she's serving up BeBe ala all her honey and mustard. Here's hoping Ms. Andrews hasn't exhausted the well that is BeBe and that she'll be back for future Savannah adventures.
Reviewed by Roberta O'Hara on January 23, 2011