For the last TBR Challenge of the year, I pulled Tied to the Tracks ((c) 2006) by Rosina Lippi from the shelf. Lippi is better known by romance readers as Sara Donati, author of the Into the Wilderness historical series. While on vacation earlier this year, I read another book from Lippi’s backlist, The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square. Like Pajama Girls, TttT is set in a small Southern town, and it narrates the interaction of an outsider come to town. Otherwise, the books are neither similar nor related.
Ogilvie, Georgia, is a place rooted in tradition, rich in family ties and southern hospitality. Its most famous citizen, the legendary writer Miss Zula Bragg, has finally said yes to making a documentary about her long andstoried life. But Miss Zula, who can never resist stirring the pot, insists that Tied to the Tracks – a small film company from Hoboken, New Jersey – be the one to tell her story. The only problem? The company is run by free spirit Angie Mangiamele, who not so long ago had a passionate love affair with John Grant, a member of Ogilvie’s founding family and chair of the English Department at Ogilvie college, where Miss Zula still teaches.
When Angie comes waltzing back into his life, dragging a camera crew behind, John is put off-balance – in large part because he is now engaged to a colleague, the elegant and successful Caroline Rose, daughter of a prominent local family. As Tied to the Tracks begins to dig into Miss Zula’s life and the more troubling aspects of Ogilvie’s history, John and Angie find in increasingly hard to hide their own past and the sparks that still fly between them.
And they aren’t the only people keeping secrets in Ogilvie. In the high heat of summer, Miss Zula, Caroline Rose, and a dozen other people scramble to unearth secrets, or to bury them once and for all. With John and Caroline’s wedding only days away, time is running out, and Angie finds herself torn between the easy truths and the hard ones, and pondering the repercussions of the choices she must make.
What did I think? The book is beautifully written. It worked (for me) as a case study on the relationships and social constructions of a small Southern town. As a love story, eh, not so much – not that I had a problem with John and Angie, though. I just wasn’t convinced that either of them had changed or grown enough for a HEA to last the second time around. In short, I liked the book without loving it.
Also, the back blurb is rather melodramatic, and hints at extremes that never really materialized.
Would I read Lippi again? Sure. Sooner or later I’ll get over my block with respect to her historical.
Keep or pass on? Pass on – I liked it, but it isn’t a keeper.