Christmas Dogtown is the kind of story that has the gift to make you to keep an eye on its author.
When I started reading the book, some time passed already from my enrollment on tour, I did it without refreshing my memory about its subject. So I was more impressed with the twist that the author gave to the story.
Mrs. Johnson deliberately constructed the story that, at first, seemed to be an ordinary romance. However, she took care (and well succeeded) to sprinkle elements that for the romance seemed unimportant giving the impression that they only emphasize the atmosphere and life of the little community from which our heroine is come and from where she wants to escape. At the ending, the reader will cannot criticize the author that he was misled, that the turn is too sharp or he was not warned. Everything is there, and Louisiana’s tradition, myths and magic will entwine wonderful for the beholder’s delight.
But Christmas Dogtown is not just a romance. The story is full of subliminal messages about what is important in life, what it means to have and keep your roots, about decisions, choices and predestination, about the fact that what we want is not always what we need. Personally I liked the balance that the author kept between free will and fate.
It is a story well told, fresh and sweet about magic (the Christmas’ one) seasoned with Louisiana mysticism, which I hope you will enjoy because I recommend it to you!
A woman who spent years escaping her rural past learns that Dogtown, Louisiana, hides more family secrets than just the recipe for boudin blanc.
Resa Madere’s on the verge of losing it all. The boyfriend’s gone. The job’s history. Her beloved house is on the brink of foreclosure. She’ll do anything to save it--even spend a long Christmas holiday working in St. James Parish, Louisiana, helping her uncle run the family meat business. But the community of Dogtown, which has been home for seven generations of the Madere and Caillou families, has deep roots and deeper secrets. For Resa, going home is one thing. Getting out might not be so easy.
"You are stupid,” Resa told her reflection in the tiny, scratched mirror of the White Castle’s rose-pink bathroom. “Stupid, ridiculous, and absurd.”
She’d been wrestling with her curly black hair for a half hour, and the brown eyes that stared back at her from beneath freshly plucked brows and carefully applied eyeliner looked more jittery than sexy. “And idiotic.”
First, it had been almost a week since Chan had asked her to the Saturday night community dance, popping the question almost shyly as they hacked at the bodies of gigantic dead fish. They’d both been covered in blood and smelled like they’d been rolling in bait, which should have tipped her off that anything in Dogtown reeking of romance, well, reeked.
Second, her potential date had left immediately after asking her out so he could catch an alligator that had eaten somebody’s poodle in one of those backwater houses near the swamp. He burned rubber out of the Madere’s driveway after making sure he had enough duct tape to wrap around the gator’s jaws. Adequate duct tape was not an attribute she’d ever sought in a man.
About the author:
Suzanne Johnson writes urban fantasy and paranormal romance (under the name Susannah Sandlin) from Auburn, Alabama, on top of a career in educational publishing that has thus far spanned five states and six universities—including both Alabama and Auburn, which makes her bilingual.
She grew up in Winfield, Alabama, halfway between the Bear Bryant Museum and Elvis' birthplace, but was also a longtime resident of New Orleans, so she has a highly refined sense of the absurd and an ingrained love of SEC football, cheap Mardi Gras trinkets, and fried gator on a stick. She’s the author of the Sentinels of New Orleans urban fantasy series and, as Susannah Sandlin, the Penton Legacy paranormal romance series.