Ladyfingers is the sequel to the best selling novel Gingersnaps. With the help of Lifestyle Makeover Guru Madame Arthuretta Bozell, several Americans attempt to escape their unsavory pasts to begin life anew on the French Riviera.
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Sudden money from shady circumstances demand that a diverse group of American citizens flee to the South of France.
Ladyfingers is a satirical romp involving American foreign relations.
Back in Los Angeles at Paxton Cummings’ estate, Amelia Jackson’s son, Jackson, waved his finger with accusation at his father.
“This is obviously your fault, man! Mom’s going crazy!”
“You know better than that... don’t call me ‘man’, Jackson! You call me father or just don’t call me...you get it, son?
“Sorry, Dad.” His eyes shifted away from his father, thinking about the fact that he hoped he’d be able to complete his session with his father before the man’s wife returned from wherever she was. He always made it a point to visit his father only when he knew he wouldn’t have to deal with her.
His father had respected his wishes. After all he was a 28 year-old man, not exactly a kid anymore.
It wasn’t that she was so bad, or anything like that. Actually she was quite a nice, charming woman. It was simply that she wasn’t his mother. He would never understand why Paxton Cummings never married Amelia Jackson. He knew that his mother was...still is, probably...deeply in love with the man. It seemed that his father was in love with his mother, too. So, what was the deal? No one had ever given him a satisfactory explanation.
Nevertheless, he had vowed that unlike his father, he would never have a child with a woman he wouldn’t marry...whatever the reasons. He would always make sure of that. Always had, ever since he started dating.
He looked at his son, with a weary expression and continued, “Now, why do you think your mother’s going crazy?”
He watched his son fidget in his arm chair, in the library of the estate, noting with the usual pleasure how much they resembled one another. Jackson was a taller, leaner version of Paxton Cummings, who was a stout, compact man who was only a quick breath taller than the petite Amelia Jackson. Both men shared the exact same Hershey’s, bitter-sweet dark chocolate bar complexion. It had become obvious that Jackson had inherited his build and height from Amelia’s side of the family, all of the men in her family being tall and all of his being rather short and bulky. The two men, always tended to wear the same intense expression on their faces and in their body language.
“Look, Dad...” he leaned forward, his elbow resting on his thigh, “First she appears on that Gary Prince TV show, talking about why she...like a wild woman... slapped some airport employee in London.”
“Maybe that employee attacked her first. I know your mother...she’s not the type to...”
“Sure...whatever...and now I have recently read in the papers that she’s been going out with jugglers!” he almost yelled with indignation.
Paxton let out a hoot of laughter.
“Jugglers, you say? How many jugglers, Jackson? Where did you read that mess?”
“I read it in the...”
“We’ve both told you what we think of those tabloids. Did you ask your mother about these jugglers?” He broke out into riotous laughter again, and slapped his thigh with his right hand.
“This isn’t funny!”
“Yes...yes it is. Where would your mother meet these types of individuals? And also, don’t you think you’re a bit old...long in the tooth...I should say... to be believing ‘tales from the crypt’? I mean, what kind of anthropology professor are you, anyway?”
“This has nothing to do with my profession! We’re talking about my mother. A woman who is probably in some stage of menopause...a woman who has moved away across the sea from everyone she knows and loves to live alone in a huge house with a weird swimming pool. You should see the place..” actually he had hoped his father would, “it looks as if she sees herself as some kind of Jungle Princess!”
“Jackson...you know your mother better than that! You mean Jungle Goddess!” he chuckled at both the annoyed look on his son’s face and fond memories of Amelia’s grandiose image of herself.
“Why is she going out with circus people? I also read that not only is she seeing some circus guy, but he’s a kid!”
“Underage?” his father smirked.
Jackson just stared at his father’s seeming indifference to what he apparently thought was just an outlandish rumor.
“Look...I’m sure that none of this is true...what you read. Amelia has always been a sensible woman.”
“Up until now. You’ve got to talk to her. Go see her. Do something!”
“Why don’t you, Jackson?” He leaned over to his coffee table and picked up his pipe.
“You’re still smoking, huh Pops?” he asked leaning back in his chair, then beginning to fan his hands of smoke that didn’t exist yet.
Paxton placed the pipe back on the table and leaned back.
“ Don’t call me ‘Pops’.Your mother doesn’t want to speak to me. And she certainly doesn’t want to see me...I think you are already aware of that.”
“Well...I’m flying over tomorrow. I’ve got to get to the bottom of this. Perhaps they are just rumors, but ‘where there’s smoke, there’s fire’...isn’t that what they say?”
“Not me. Go see your mother...calm your fears and keep me posted.”
Paxton, got up from his chair, looked at this son, fanned his hands at him and sighed, “jugglers. Ridiculous! Would you like something to eat? Come on...let’s go to the kitchen.”
Paxton had decided at that moment that he’d pay Amelia a visit, after Jackson returned from his. He knew that it was time that he and Amelia put some closure to their relationship. * * *
Lively and Entertaining
Lively and very entertaining, November 5, 2006
Reviewed by Cherie Fisher for Reader Views (10/06)
"Ladyfingers" is the second book in Delorys Welch-Tyson's "Cookie Trilogy". I have not read the first book but the story flows so well that I did not need to read "Gingersnaps" before I read this one, but I plan to now.
The story is about several people who have attended Ladyfingers, an etiquette school where the proprietor Miss Arthuretta Bozell teaches the newly rich elegance and manners. The clients also learn their lessons by religiously reading her guidebook "Madame Bozell's Guide to Elegant and Proper Behavior and Presentation". An example of what the guide offers: "Chapter Three: Entering a Room: Professionally or Socially. Upon entering a room, whether it is a social or professional situation, greet everyone (even if it is only one person) by saying good morning, good afternoon, or good evening: depending on the time of day. If people are already engaged in a conversation, say, `excuse me, if I may, I would like to speak to you,' to the person to whom you would like to address. Proper behavior requires that you acknowledge the humanity of other individuals. An exchange of greetings is essential to creating a gracious first impression in addition to increasing the probability of a congenial exchange between parties. A pleasant, natural smile helps, as well." One would think that these would be easy guidelines to follow. No so with this crew and so begin the hilarious antics by Madame Bozell's protégé's.
The two main characters in the book are Desiree Brown-Simon and her husband, David Simon, who have moved from Connecticut to the South of France. Desiree is a retired psychologist who has written a best seller on relationships and David is a famous best selling horror story author. They are definitely the most grounded characters in the story and have not attended Ladyfingers training. Of course, as the story unfolds we find out that Desiree has a few secrets of her own.
Many of the characters in the story try to disguise themselves as Baronesses, Countesses, Sheik's, and many more, from an unknown country. When in reality they are lottery winners, ex-cons, failed rap singers, and an exotic dancer. They fail miserably at their goal to be refined and wealthy and end up insulting most of the people they run into. With people like that running around the French Riviera, no wonder why Americans are not well liked.
The story concludes with all of these people coming together at David Simon's brother's wedding reception and the result is hilarious. This is a great book to read if you enjoy satire. I recommend it highly and look forward to reading "Gingersnaps" and Ms. Welch-Tyson's 3rd book "Almond Cookies".
Gaffes of the Rich and Clueless
Ladyfingers is a hilarious romp through a sunny place that would be paradise if not for all the shady people. (Those are Grahame Greene's words. ) Amongst the shady are a group of Puerto Rican rappers who almost get away with passing themselves off as the the Anti-Sanctions Society of East Somaria. (Where's that? What the hell, Riviera poseurs don't know geography.) And a would-be heiress who almost gets away with hijacking a famous singer's villa for a party.
Even Desiree Brown Simon and her husband David, the fun-loving but level-headed couple who expatriated to France in Welch-Tysons' first novel, Gingersnaps, are caught up in the whacky intrigue that comes with the lifestyles of the nouveau rich and clueless. Even Desiree turns out to have a past as coincidence upon coincidence unfolds. Who knew that the fine print that comes with the lottery jackpot says you have to spend the rest of your life as a character in a classic English farce?
author of Getting to Lamma
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