Favorite Friday Fiction: Chapel Springs Revival by Ane Mulligan

Chapel Springs Revival by Ane Mulligan is the first book in a very enjoyable series of humorous novels. I love the way she combines small-town humor with an inspirational story. They balance each other and make it a fun and thought-provoking read. You’ll want to check out this series…

Click to tweet:  You’ll want to read Chapel Springs Revival, an INSPY Awards Nominee, by Ane Mulligan. #FavoriteFridayFiction #Fridayreads

Chapel Springs Revival
With a friend like Claire, you need a gurney, a mop, and a guardian angel.

Everybody in the small town of Chapel Springs, Georgia, knows best friends Claire Bennett and Patsy Kowalski. It’s impossible not to, what with Claire’s zany antics and Patsy’s self-appointed mission to keep her friend out of trouble. And trouble abounds. 

During an early morning discussion at Dees ‘n’ Doughs bakery with their ladies group, all Chapel Springs entrepreneurs, attention is drawn to the slackened tourist trade. With their livelihoods threatened, they join forces to address the town’s revitalization in hopes of drawing back the tourists. No one could have guessed the real issue needing restoration is their marriages. 

Claire, a pottery artist, stumbles through life with her foot in her mouth. When she became a Christian, she thought life and her marriage would be included in the new creation part. But her thighs are just as big and her husband, Joel, is as ornery as ever. She’s become nothing more than a sheet-changer, a towel-folder, a pancake-flipper. Her life is humdrum and she’s tired of being taken for granted. 

Patsy has plans for her empty nest, plans that include a cruise ship. However, her husband, Nathan, continues to work long hours, and he’s not talking about slowing down. In fact, he’s not talking much at all. She’s asleep long before he comes home each night. At first she thought it was just because of tax season, but now she’s not so sure. Something other than work seems to keep him late at the office every night. With the lines of communication closed, she’ll have to find another way to reach him. 

With their marriages as much in need of restoration as the town, Claire and Patsy embark on a mission of mishaps and miscommunication, determined to restore warmth to Chapel Springs and their lives. That is if they can convince their husbands and the town council, led by two curmudgeons who would prefer to see Chapel Springs left in the fifties and closed to traffic.

Jelly Beans on the Window Sill

jelly-beans-939754_640By Ane Mulligan

I only have one memory of my maternal grandmother, but it’s one that stands out in my mind as such an unselfish act. You see, grandma loved jellybeans, all kinds but especially the red and the orange ones.

When I was five years old, Grandma was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This was back in 1952 and there wasn’t much hope. She did have some surgery because I remember her head swathed in bandages. Funny, they didn’t frighten me. I guess because I loved her so much.

Anyway, to keep me quiet during a visit to grandma’s hospital room, mama bought me a small bag of jellybeans. I rarely got candy. I was hyperactive before they knew what hyperactivity was. But mama knew sugar would send me to the moon. However, that day, she set aside her worries over that.

I didn’t know her mother, my grandma, was dying. Maybe that’s why they allowed me into her hospital room that afternoon. She sat in a chair by the window and I ran to her. She patted her lap for me to hop up, and I did. I still remember the feeling of her squeezing me until I thought I’d pop.

I offered her some of my coveted jellybeans, which was quite a stretch. I wouldn’t have offered those to just anybody. And Grandma, being a true jellybean aficionado, knew that.

She said, “Not now, sweet one. But you can save me the black ones.”

I was thrilled because I hated the black ones. Mama always made me eat them, though, because it was a waste to throw them out. Grandma gave me a “by” with that. When we went home, I put those black jelly beans in a Dixie cup on the windowsill to save for when Grandma came to visit. A week later, Grandma donned her wings and flew to Heaven.

I kept those black jelly beans sitting on the windowsill for a year, insisting Grandma was coming for them. Mama didn’t have the heart to throw them out.

Ane Mulligan_ headshot copyAne Mulligan writes Southern-fried fiction served with a tall, sweet iced tea. She firmly believes coffee and chocolate are two of the four major food groups. Novelist and playwright, Ane is the executive director of Players Guild@Sugar Hill, a new community theater and president of the award-winning literary site, Novel Rocket. She resides in Sugar Hill, GA, with her artist husband and a dog of Biblical proportion. You can find Ane at her website, Novel Rocket, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

 Chapel Springs SurvivalChapel Springs Survival Cover

A mail-order bride, a town overrun with tourists, and illegal art.  

How on earth will Claire and Chapel Springs survive?

Claire Bennett’s Operation Marriage Revival succeeded and life is good. That is until the mayor’s brother blabs a secret: Claire’s nineteen-year-old son has married a Brazilian mail order bride. When Claire tries to welcome her, she’s ridiculed, rebuffed, and rejected. Loving this girl is like hugging a prickly cactus.

Lydia Smith is happily living alone and running her spa—then the widow on the hill becomes a blushing bride. Then her groom’s adult son moves in—on everything.

From the first sighting of a country music star in The Painted Loon, Chapel Springs is inundated with stargazers, causing residents to flee the area. When her best friends put their house on the market, Claire is forced to do something or lose the closest thing to a sister she’s got. With her son’s future at stake and the town’s problems to solve, it’s Claire’s who needs a guardian angel.