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Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite
For years after her husband’s disappearance, Louette has been filled with grief. In Louette's Wake (Wiregrass Series) by Sue Riddle Cronkite, readers are pulled into a story filled with love, mystery, and the struggles of one woman and her daughter to find acceptance, understanding, and closure after a tragedy. Louette does a lot of activities so she can get over blaming herself for her husband’s desertion. When she remembers her mother’s wake, she decides to organize hers (humorous and crazy as it sounds) so she can spend time with the people who matter to her. While some think she is losing it, the wake turns out to be a critical moment that gives her clarity and helps her determine what she really wants. It ushers her onto the path towards healing.
Louette is a character that is genuine, well-fleshed out and emotionally and psychologically rich. She loves gospel music, wants to spend more time with her grandson, and serves fudge cake for the local deputy sheriff. She is loved by a quirky neighbor. That is what her portrait looks like, but it has deeper layers and it is interesting for readers to understand the sophistication in this character and her psychological depth. The author creates a setting that brings to life the cultural and community elements of the Deep South in the 1980s, allowing readers a strong feel of the soul of the “wiregrass” region. The narrative is done in the third person and it features dialogues that capture the manner of speaking of the people.
This is a story with a sophisticated protagonist, but it is also a story of a place, and Sue Riddle Cronkite shares colorful images of the place and gives readers a vivid picture of life in a small community. The themes of family, love, loss, and friendship are ingeniously developed in this novel. The humor fills every page and from the very first paragraph, the reader is greeted by the strong, humorous voice of the narrator. Louette's Wake (Wiregrass Series) is as delightful as it is transporting.