Kensington Books|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-7582-7341-3
Twenty-eight-year-old, Maura Beth Mayhew was having a meeting with the Councilmen – Durden Sparks, Chunky Badham, and Gopher Joe Martin. Maura Beth had been the librarian for six years and now Gopher Joe was the consummate “yes” man if there ever was one. They felt the library was failing miserably and proposed to Maura Beth that she had five months left to turn things around or the library would be history, they would refuse to fund it any longer than that. Instead, the Councilmen wanted to fund the Industrial Park and felt their money could be better used there. Ha! That was their opinion, not Maura Beth’s.
The Councilmen had commissioned a study and believed several viable companies would locate there if they prepared the land for them properly which would bring jobs to their struggling little community.
All this was taking place in Cherico, Mississippi. The Councilmen had gotten re-elected two years ago in the fall of 2010. Cherico was small and parochial, it had never taken full advantage of its picturesque location on Lake Cherico, which was a finger of the Tennesse River System in the extreme northeast corner of Mississippi. Councilman Sparks wholeheartedly believed that “nobody out there really gave a damn about the library.”
Maura Beth asked if they would continue to fund the library for the five full months. Councilman Sparks responded: “I wish I could give you a guarantee, Miz Mayhew. But if you do nothing to change the status quo, The Cherico Library is history. We can’t justify the expense any longer. If you should impress us enough, maybe we’ll be willing to work something out.”
Poor Maura Beth walked down the steps of the Cherico City Hall and out onto Commerce Street as if she’d just been handed a death sentence. Only five months to get cracking. Her shoulders were slumped and the blazing June sun glinting off the asphalt made them slump even more.
Maura Beth went to the Twinkle Café to see her friend, Periwinkle. She knew she could always rely on her for sound advice. Periwinkle told Maura Beth she had to have some sort of gimmick to get the patrons in the door of the library. As they were discussing things a new woman in town came in and Periwinkle introduced her to Maura Beth. Her name was, Connie McShay. She and her husband had just moved there from Nashville about a month ago and lived in a lodge on the lake. Connie promised to come into the library for a card very soon.
Connie had mentioned a book club she belonged to back in Nashville and Maura Beth wondered if she could get something like that going at the library in Cherico to drive the people in.
True to her word, one week after meeting Maura Beth at the Twinkle Café, Connie McShay came into the library to get her card. Maura Beth was very happy to see her to say the least. Connie explained to Maura Beth how the book club she attended worked and together they brainstormed as to what would work best in the small community of Cherico, like having each person bring a meal of something such as a casserole, salad, desserts and such that could enjoy together while discussing the book they were reading. In Nashville, Connie said they had only started out with seven people which eventually turned into over thirty; and hardly anyone ever missed a meeting. Maura Beth was excited and said that’s just what they needed to jumpstart her library, that same type of loyalty. They discussed ways to advertise the start-up of the book club and decided flyers would work well and they could also give some to Periwinkle to hand out at her café. At the end of their meeting they’d decided that Maura Beth would design and produce the flyer, but Connie would pay for everything out of her “mad money”, as the library simply lacked the funds to pull it off; they would allow a period of two weeks for people to sign up for the club; then Maura Beth would call an organizational meeting at the library and officially get things under way. They would name the book club “The Cherico Page Turner’s Book Club” but that name was about to change at their first organizational meeting.
The Cherry Cola Book Club is a marvelous read full of great characters and a wonderful story! I just couldn’t pull my eyes away from this one so ended up reading it in one sitting. I’d love to see a sequel to this someday.