Leena has been looking forward to marrying the father of her child since he proposed on bended knee during a vacation in Myrtle Beach. Now the big day has arrived, Leena looks beautiful in her wedding dress, the church is packed with her loved ones, and happily-ever-after is barely a few “I dos” away.
Except Leena’s fiancé never makes it to the church. It turns out he’s fallen in love with another woman. A beautiful, poised, accomplished woman called Adira. And instead of running away, shamefaced, Leena’s cheating fiancé moves Adira into town and quickly marries her.
It’s a combustible situation, especially in a small, Southern town where people make a point of knowing (and sharing) their neighbours’ business.
Leena, hurt and humiliated, cannot let the betrayal go. But when she goes looking for dirt on Adira she uncovers secrets better left hidden and soon understands that it doesn’t pay to anger the new Mrs Collins.
Quanie Miller’s Southern Paranormal novel is a fantastically fun read. The narrative tugs you into the close-knit town of Carolville, introduces you to the quirky line-up of residents, then whips up a storm with the mysterious Adira.
Leena was no slouch in the looks department, but she could see why Johnny had been tempted! Adira had a behind that God made on the first day and hips he must have made on the second. And she didn’t walk; she sashayed, like she had honey between her thighs. The men near the moving vans watched her like they knew about the honey and were trying to figure out the most polite way to ask for some.
The tale is gripping and fresh, a new twist on a familiar tale. Man leaves old partner for new partner, man gets more than he bargained for.
Quanie has a particularly charming way with dialogue. Listening to her characters talk gives the story texture, it peels away whatever location you’re in and drops you into the sticky heat of the Deep South.
“Everyone in this town knows there’s something about that girl that would shake the devil himself.”
“Is it hoodoo?”
Mrs Ducet threw her head back and laughed. “Honey, she ran all those women out of town! Hoodoo is something that people study. Pluck a strand of hair, make a doll, learn a spell, what have you. Whatever that child is, she was born that way.”
The characters are rich and authentic. I found Leena, the jilted bride a spirited, sympathetic woman with real backbone. And interestingly, Quanie gives Adira a voice too, a great creative choice as it adds layers and dimensions to the conflict.
In short, The New Mrs Collins is a fascinating story, populated with strong characters embedded in a intriguing world where the atmosphere successfully shifts from light-hearted to eerie without losing pace or plausibility. It’s a wonderful read. Add it to your book list.