Title: Next Stop, Chancey
Series: Chancey Books, Book 1
Author: Kay Dew Shostak
Narrator: Suzanne Barbetta
Publication Date: December 22, 2016
From the author—
Looking in your teenage daughter’s purse is never a good idea.
After all, it ended up with Carolina Jessup opening a bed & breakfast for railroad fanatics in a tiny Georgia mountain town. Carolina knows all about, and hates, small towns. How did she end up leaving her wonderful Atlanta suburbs behind while making her husband’s dreams come true?
The town bully (who wears a lavender skirt and white gloves), an endless parade of teenagers through her house, and everybody’s talk about a ghost have Carolina looking for an escape, or at least a way to move back home. Instead, she’s front and center for all of Chancey’s small town gossip.
Unlike back home in the suburbs with privacy fences and automatic garage doors, everybody in Chancey thinks your business is their business and they all love the newest Chancey business. The B&B hosts a Senate candidate, a tea for the county fair beauty contestants, and railroad nuts who sit out by the tracks and record the sound of a train going by. Yet, nobody believes Carolina prefers the ‘burbs.
Oh, yeah, and if you just ignore a ghost, will it go away?
Now, a lot of people fantasize about living in a small town. I believe those are the people who have never lived in one—like my husband.
Once in a great while, a book smacks me right upside the head and this one did just that. Why? Because I could have been Carolina Jessup way back in my younger years. I was faced with the prospect of moving to a very small town (not for the same reason) and was horrified by the very idea of how intrusive people can be in these small towns and the way everybody knows everything about you. I found a way out of my doom but I’m pretty sure I’d feel differently about living in a small town now.
Next Stop, Chancey is one of those stories that’s entertaining but really has no plot, no particular excitement. Instead, it’s a slice of life and you might even call it Carolina’s coming of age. Moving to Chancey was a gut reaction to a family issue but also her husband’s dream. Jackson has loved trains for years and just got a new job with the railroad and the house they buy is situated perfectly by the train bridge. That bridge and the stream of trainchasers aka railfans who come to town are going to become important to all the Jessups and are the impetus for the bed and breakfast they open. Trouble is, Carolina had no intentions of doing that anytime soon but she has no backbone and lets the townsfolk run roughshod right over her. Result? The B&B opens in record time.
Some audiobook narrators (and actors, actually) can pull off a southern accent while others sound as if they’re speaking through a mouthful of molasses. Suzanne Barbetta handles it beautifully, despite her New Jersey upbringing 😉 and some of her character vocalizations were quite identifiable. A few weren’t as individualistic as I would like but that’s OK and I really appreciated her warm tones, just right for the southern setting.
Along with railfans and small town nosiness, Chancey is a hotbed of high school football fever, cheerleading, beauty pageants, gossip and, oh yes, a ghost. In other words, this is a portait of small town life in the South and I loved it even though there was a brief time when I didn’t like Carolina very much. The fifth book in the series just came out and I’ve got some catching up to do.
Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, August 2017.
About the Author
“A new voice in Southern Fiction” is how a recent reviewer labeled Kay Dew Shostak’s debut novel, Next Stop, Chancey. Kay grew up in the South, then moved around the country raising a family. Always a reader, being a writer was a dream she cultivated as a journalist and editor at a small town newspaper in northern Illinois.
Next Stop, Chancey, published in 2015, was the first in the series set in the small, imaginary town of Chancey, Georgia. The fifth book in the series, Kids are Chancey, will be released August 2017.
Seeing the familiar and loved from new perspectives led Kay to write about the absurd, the beautiful, and the funny in her South in both her fiction and non-fiction.
Visit Kay’s website at kaydewshostak.com to sign up for her newsletter and to read more about her journey. Kay is also on Facebook and twitter. All four Chancey books (along with the first in a new series set in Florida) are available on Amazon in print and eBook.
About the Narrator
Suzanne Barbetta is a Jersey girl, a blue collar kid from Jersey City who binged on B-Movie Musicals and Godzilla flicks as a kid. She became a voracious reader when she realized the magic of books allowed her to become anyone, anywhere, and in any world. A storyteller and performer since the age of 5, she later apprenticed at 2 regional theaters earned her union card and became a proud member of SAG-AFTRA. She’s worked in theater, indie films and commercial voiceover. Audiobooks are a way to satisfy her pathological addiction to reading. Now based in NYC, she is also the voice of the Fierce, Funny, Fab Fangirls of the new Serial Box Publishing audio series, Geek Actually.
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